You can now take Rafo Diaz storytelling legacy home!

By Nyangala Zolho

The love of storytelling, writing and poetry has always been with Rafo Diaz, a man who has become famous for his ability to move people of all ages with the art of storytelling. When asked why he decided to put his words into three short stories, Rafo explains that it was not an idea he came up with on his own.

“The project to create these short stories came from the people themselves. All those who became fans of my storytelling, from shows I did around Maputo, directly asked for these books to be made. After shows, it increasingly became more common for me to have people ask me where they could purchase the story I’d just told. This was a personal project, funded by all those who were interested in seeing these books come to life. There was no editor and the books were not aimed at any market but my own.

They are the result of an interest shown by my fans” explains Rafo. The creation of these children’s books was a truly collective process, involving musicians Kathleen Boon, Alvero Benedicto, Nicolas M’Sagarra and Anne Zarberg. Without their support, Rafo says, the books would never have come into being. So close to home, this project has even involved Rafo’s children Maya and Camilo Diaz, as illustrators of their father’s fantasies, as well as the French International School who produced the French written translations. Rafo says that Maputo still needs to learn the art of storytelling, which has enchanted many cultures worldwide, to the point of creating “CuentaCuentos” (Spanish for storyteller) Festivals around the world. “It’s a common misconception to link storytelling solely to children. Tell me who listens more intently to the stories I tell, the young children or their parents? My stories are for families. There

is a very well-known saying that says stories are not here to put children to sleep but to awaken the adults. We all believe in stories which make us feel something. I often have people stop me in the streets and say that a message in my story has kept them thinking, about something they once experienced or had forgotten. In a world where we are often not present due to technology, storytelling brings back that human warmth!” Through stories we debate social, economic and political topics and preserve what it means to be human. Whilst previously you may only have experienced Rafo’s wise words by catching him perform one of his wonderful tales, you can now take his stories home and share, with friends and family, the art of storytelling.

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