New Perspectives

Culture Club invites speaker to share his life experience in Kenya

Lawrence+Chiteri+gives+his+speech+about+storytelling+in+Africa.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

New Perspectives

Lawrence Chiteri gives his speech about storytelling in Africa.

Lawrence Chiteri gives his speech about storytelling in Africa.

Aaron Melville

Lawrence Chiteri gives his speech about storytelling in Africa.

Aaron Melville

Aaron Melville

Lawrence Chiteri gives his speech about storytelling in Africa.

Aaron Melville, Copy Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Students standing in front of smart board

Lawrence Chiteri, Faith Donre, Deandra Donre, Chloe Donre and Marazul Bullard pose in front of a map of Africa, pointing to Kenya.

“Let the story come,”  Lawrence Chiteri said, a PhD candidate in theatre at The University of Missouri. Chiteri, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, wanted to share the experiences of his homeland in a session that people of all backgrounds could understand. 

In his culture, storytelling is a key aspect of ancient tale, which are known to not only involve their tale, but also the audiences. “When we tell stories, we include our audiences,” Chiteri said. 

Chiteri said that the history of storytelling goes back much further beyond the borders of Kenya.

“Slaves from Central and Western Africa would use stories to be able to communicate with each other,” Chiteri explained in his speech, citing that language barriers made it difficult. “There are several hundred languages alone varying by tribe and dialect.” 

Through storytelling, the people could keep history alive from their respective tribes and communities, but to also pass time. “When the slaves were working in the fields, it was a way to pass your time, because it was grueling work,” Chiteri said.

Besides passing time, they would use storytelling when gathered to make comments or suggestions towards someone without being direct to them. “If you wanted to say someone was lazy or not acting properly, you could refer to them as a certain animal in a story. Like a chameleon, who is known for changing their colours, like people.”

Outside of storytelling, Chiteri gave a perspective on life in Kenya and as an African immigrant in the United States.

 “One day, a lady asked me if I had animals, like zebras and giraffes help me carry my luggage at the airport in Kenya,” Chiteri said while addressing misconceptions of his homeland. 

Chiteri also noted that besides his passion for storytelling, he also makes sure people know the truth. “When I have the opportunity to share with people about misconceptions, I feel good about it,” Chiteri said. “I owe it to the people around me, because you cannot change the notions and perceptions of life all over the world.” 

Chiteri was hosted by Culture Club, an inclusive club for people from all backgrounds and countries. Nikki Aguero, adviser of Culture Club, said members of the club are from a wide range of countries including Micronesia, Kenya, and Mexico.

 “Our students started Culture Club here at Battle to have a place where they could feel free and safe to express who they are and share part of their cultures with others,”  Aguero said. 

Many students mentioned that Culture Club is important to the student body as it allows students to learn about the cultures that many people come from within the school. 

“People are less ignorant when they know more about other cultures, and Culture Club helps combat that ignorance,”  Ryan Hays, senior, said concerning people’s knowledge of other cultures and open-mindedness.

Culture Club will be hosting another speaker on Nov. 7 after school in J111. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email