Abiyoyo Story Arts

Retelling Abiyoyo

An Afro-futurist creative vision



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African stories inspire the world.

The story of Abiyoyo offers global universal themes along with the deep cultural resonance of our African heritage. The power of story, song, dance, music and animation continue to inspire spontanious retellings of this Xhosa folktale. Pete Seeger's family and illustrator Michael Hays have received inquiries from movie director and producer fans of Abiyoyo about developing a feature film.

It's will require a giant effort to develop the Abiyoyo narrative, draft a screen play, design a story's visual concepts, secure funding and produce a successful feature film. Fans of Abiyoyo hope one of these days it all comes together.

First appearing in the comic books of artist Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee, Black Panther emerged as a great expression of the Afro-futurist genre. The vision of production designer Hannah Beachler and the coordinated efforts of countless talented and passionate creative artists collaborating across an array of professional fields transformed Jack Kirby's comic book drawings into a cinematic triumph. And what language do the people of Wakanda speak? Xhosa!

Wakanda Forever


Many talented storytellers have already re-interpereted Abiyoyo and created unique versions of the folktale, blending narrative, music, song, movement, costume and art. Check out these how these storytellers have contributed to Abiyoyo's legacy.

Master Storyteller Jan Blake
Jan Blake's familiarity with African culture infuses her retelling of Abiyoyo with original narrative detail and fresh character development for the story's young hero. She employs masterful storytelling technique, seamlessly weaving narration, song and drumming in her presentation. She dispenses with Pete's ukulele while keeping other familiar narrative details first included in his version. This wonderful extended version of Abiyoyo suggests the potential for developing and deepening the story's messages.



Cut-paper animated Abiyoyo!
Puppetry In Practice in partnership with the Early Childhood Center at Brooklyn College and the School Aged After-School Center created this film. K-4 students made their own hand-drawn puppet characters and backgrounds and together with their teachers and a PIP teaching artist created this cut-paper animation. Watch closely and you'll see a space alien among the townspeople!


For more information visit: Puppetry In Practice.

Abiyoyopalooza
A story telling festival in Brooklyn, NY called their event Abiyoyopalooza: African Music and Magic. With djembes, mbiras and bongos, musicians spin a tale about how a magician and his son use music to ward off the giant Abiyoyo. After the show, kids inspect the foreign instruments and make their own noise-maker crafts to keep any lingering Abiyoyos at bay. Little ones ages 1 to 10 pick up a free Abiyoyo book, courtesy of Simon & Schuster.



Ubuntu Logo

Ubuntu Pathways
Pete selected this organization to receive his Abiyoyo publishing income. You can send them a donation online to support their work which directly benefits Xhosa children and families in South Africa.

Check out the Ubuntu Pathways web site.


Ubuntu: I am because you are.
Ubuntu is a Bantu term meaning "humanity". It is sometimes translated as "I am because we are" (also "I am because you are"), or "humanity towards others" (Zulu umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu).

In Xhosa, the Zulu term is used, but is often meant in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity".

We are Scatterings of Africa
When humans respond to adversity with courage and creativity, they change their world. Across 70,000 years of world history, the genius of the first musical bow's South African inventor still resonants in our hearts and collective imagination, shaping the emerging story of our future together.





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Abiyoyo Story Arts