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Lend me your ear


Like the baobab tree flourishing off the coastal regions of Africa, the oral tradition decorates the earth with ancient stories and waters our thirsty roots by weaving fertile threads of remembrance. Myth has it that the tree was planted upside down by a mishap of God, some say it was a gift from the bushmen of southern Africa to the crafty hyena; in either case, it represents some sort of correction of an upturned world. Its story as one of Momma Nature's first trees reaches far and wide like that of its human complement, the African. Respectfully deemed "the tree of life," baobabs are said to be inhabited by spirits, no different than the legacy of stories Mama Yaa Asantewa shares, binding African peoples to their history through memories of the earth and ways of old. A native of Kentucky, Asantewa learned the art of storytelling from her Grandmother Bessie and began exploring the art in the early eighties as a way to influence the life of humanity. In 1998, Mama Asantewa founded the Louisville Arts Council in Kentucky continuing her work in the spirit of Asantewaa, Queen of the Ejisu and one of Ghana's most fearless warriors, who in April 1900 was the last woman to command a major war in Africa. As a member of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Mama Yaa Asantewaa has shared her collected tales extensively, including at the renowned Gullah Festival held annually in Beaufort, South Carolina. Durham's own Spirithouse, Inc. and Calvary Ministries will host an evening of story-spinning and fellowship. December 19, 6-9 p.m., Lyon Park Community and Family Life Center, 1313 Halley Ave, Durham. 536-4200, www.sprithouse.org. The event is family-friendly and free to the public.

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