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Welcome to benchstories.org, a site which
offers you to listen to folktales and other pieces of
folklore of the Waala people of Ghana.

The site is intended the support the effort of the Yelikore Sensenniba Association (YSA). Literally jɛ̀lɪ̀kórí means `history' and sénsénnébà means `story tellers'. YSA was founded at an informal meeting in 2012 and its initial thrust was revitalizing the folktelling tradition. YSA has now set its priorities in recording folktales, archiving the material, and disseminating a folktale tradition on this platform.

The audio files can be accessed directly online in the form of streaming.

The aim of the site is to keep traditional storytelling alive by offering original folktales to an audience who do not have immediate access to them. We have in mind a national and international diaspora whose members have left the region and long for aspects of their past. It can also serve locals to enjoy what some believe is a slowly vanishing performative oral tradition, or simply to enjoy variants of folktales they already know.

At the same time it has the potential to offer researcher with material on a specific type of African oral traditions. At the moment the material takes the form of audio files. Eventually a transcription in a standard orthography and an English translation will be provided. If you wish to download the entire archive for research please contact us so we can accommodate your needs. The archive contains metadata that goes together with each audio file but do not appear on this site.

About the authenticity of a `real' folktale performance, let us make clear that it is not fully rendered in the folktales we offer. The tellers, coming from many places in Wa town and surrounding villages, gathered and met at the studio of Radio Progress in Wa on several occasions to narrate stories. Although the sociocultural context of performance and their distinctive features are absent, the text (form and content) of the stories are highly valuable since the ideas and attitudes of the society at large are embedded in them. It is our goal to provide in the future field recordings whose authenticity would be maximized.

If you want to donate to the YSA for it to maintain the site, record more stories, sponsor the meetings and the travels to these meetings by elderly people, please go here and read the procedure. Although traditionally extended families were the ones taking care of elderly members, the situation is rapidly changing. As a consequence African elders are facing new challenges.

Book soon available

A compilation of selected stories is in preparation and will be published in 2017 at Sub-Saharan Publishers. It will be announced on this website and available at African Books Collectives and in book stores in Wa and Accra.