The Next Generation of Storytellers

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Somalia children listen attentively to Somali folktales under the storytelling tent at the Mogadishu Book Fair.
Ismail Taxta, UNICEF/Somalia


“Sheeko Sheeko” says the storyteller. The students respond: “Sheeko Xariir.”

And so the teacher began the story and students listened, reminiscent of the way Somali children have gathered around storytellers for centuries, ready to learn.

The call and response — “Sheeko” means “story” and “Xariir” means “tell us” — started this year’s Mogadishu Book Fair (MBF) with a nod to past cultural traditions and a reach to a promising future.

This was the fourth year of the Somali-driven campaign for literacy and learning supported by USAID. As many as 2,000 people each day participated in the three-day event in the Waberi district of Mogadishu.

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