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The Role of Storytelling in Preserving Africa’s Spirit by Conserving the Continent’s Fauna and Flora

Isabel Schellnack-Kelly


The importance of oral tradition, indigenous stories and the knowledge and wisdom contained therein are fundamental to undertake as many initiatives as possible to protect the continent’s fauna and flora from extinction. This article is a phenomenological qualitative study. It is based on an extensive content analysis of literature, oral histories, photographs and audiovisual footage concerning narratives and folklore relating to Africa’s fauna and flora. For the purposes of this article, the content sample focuses specifically on narratives related to the African elephant, black rhinoceros and the lion. The article also relates to experiences of individuals in Kenya and South Africa involved in conservation efforts to protect Africa’s wildlife. The geographical proximity of the collected narratives stretches from the Timbavati, in South Africa, through to Northern Kenya. This article illustrates how indigenous knowledge and oral histories have influenced Western mythology and thinking. The article also explores the significance attached by scholars to the continent’s oral histories and indigenous knowledge and links knowledge to Jung, astrology and ancient symbolism. The discussion emphasises the importance of good conservation strategies for all areas of Africa to protect the fauna and flora as well as Africa’s oral histories and indigenous knowledge.


audio-visual archives; ecological intelligence; fauna and flora; folklore; indigenous knowledge

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