When my mum came to visit me in England over the Week 6 break, I thought it would be interesting to I record my mum telling the story of Mame Coumba Bang. I thought that this could be a valuable addition to my piece and could make it quite immersive. I also chose to do this because oral tradition is very important in Senegal. Many aspects of Senegalese history have been kept through oral tradition and there is even a dedicated local family lineage called “the griots” which keep stories from the past and perform them at social gatherings.
It ended up being quite interesting as my mum ended up telling the stories just before bed to my younger sisters who hadn’t actually heard it yet, so it was like watching the oral tradition continue to be passed on. Having my mum orally telling the story was an important personal link as I feel that growing up with this oral tradition and storytelling I experienced in both Wolof and French have become a big reason why I feel connected to Senegalese culture despite never having lived there.
I had 3 different versions of mum’s story of Mame Coumba Bang
In the first version, my mum tells the story in French. This is a more factual and distant version as she explains the history and how she experienced the story of Mame Coumba Bang, but also how she feels about it now. In this version, she expresses how she doesn’t necessarily believe that the story is factual but that it was an important way to keep young children indoors and that this belief has helped the town avoid a lot conflict.
The 2nd version is also in French but here my mum is telling the story in a more mythical way, as it would presumably be told to children
And the final version my mum is telling the story in a mythical way as well, as it would’ve been told in person but is telling the story in Wolof, the main local language in Senegal
At the start, I asked my mum to record in whatever language she felt most comfortable in with and found it interesting that it was French, probably since she’s been away from Senegal for so long and it was the language she went to school in it has probably become a language she uses more. It was also probably since my young sisters don’t really speak Wolof yet. But I did think it was important to have the version in Wolof as that was the language she was told the story in and that I also heard growing up.