Once were Stories

A Celebration of Black African Folklore


  • Nsamu Urgent Moonga Department of Music, University of Pretoria, South




Sulwe, Cula, mythology, black African folklore


Each culture appears to have the phenomenon of storytelling. In some cultures, storytelling has taken the form of writing. While writing is an amiable enterprise, freely spoken stories have an import that cannot be capture in words on a piece of paper with ink. In most traditional Africa, we are faced with a clash of cultures, evidently resulting from the continent's colonisation. We sit with the push for literary advancement. Academic advancement has added permanence to some of our folklore. What we lose in such progress is the plasticity of artful storytelling. While Africa is as such striding towards physical archiving of stories in books partly due to rapid urbanisation and social changes, most of the continental culture continue to gather around a fire for tales that answer mystical questions of origin why we are here. The purpose of this paper is to honour those stories and story holders. Apart from situating myth and story, this paper is a pure celebration of my heritage. I am celebrating the interrelation of music and musical tales. My early initiation into musical legends influences how I encounter music therapy as folklore. If music therapy were folklorist in Africa and similar cultures, participants would benefit from more than the medicalisation of music, but the imaginal's swell provides sound grounding for all being.

Author Biography

Nsamu Urgent Moonga, Department of Music, University of Pretoria, South

Having graduated from the University of Pretoria with a Master's Degree in music therapy, I practice as a registered Arts Therapist with the Health Practitioners Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Grounded in anti-oppressive and non-interference practices, I accompany people on their journey towards finding ways of living meaningfully with the struggle in medical settings, schools, and communities. I serve as a part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria, as deputy chairperson for the South African Arts Therapies Association, the World Federation of Music Therapy Council as an Africa Region Liaison and editor at the Voices journal.

Photo of author Nsamu Urgent Moonga



How to Cite

Moonga, N. U. (2022). Once were Stories: A Celebration of Black African Folklore. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.15845/voices.v22i1.3261



Perspectives on Practice