he Department of Literature at Makerere University in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Bergen in Norway last week launched a book on folktales of Uganda. Co-edited by Dr Sr Dominic Dipio, an Associate Professor of Literature at Makerere University, and Prof. Stuart Sillars of the University of Bergen and published by ComMattersKenya of Nairobi, the 276-page book entitled Traditional Wisdom: Folktales from Uganda, is a collection of 100 folktales from diverse cultures in the country and a ‘gem for enthusiasts of cultural studies, scholars of orature and folklore as well as lovers of stories.
The book is the result of research carried out on the folklores of the people of Uganda in a project that started in 2007. According Dr. Sr. Dipio, the main objective of the project was to document and disseminate the richly imaginative cultural forms of Ugandan people, using a multi-media approach.
The themes in the stories in the book could ring a bell on contemporary issues. There are stories touching on themes such as treachery, greed, betrayal and the price one pays for each of these almost universal vice.
Some stories explain how and why things are the way they are today. For instance, the origin of beer, water masses, forests, and mountains is explained.
The importance of patience, wisdom, diligence, discipline, and hard work is also stressed in some stories.
Speaking at the launch of the book at the Makerere University Guest House, Dr Sr Dipio said the 100 folktales in the book are just a sample from the many cultures noting that there are many folktales in fragmentation that need to be collected