First, Happy Festive Season and we hope you have survived the worst of 2020. If it has adversely affected you in one way or another, our thoughts are with you.
Most people will be spending the final days of the year with close family and we figured a campaign to help with the family bonding this season wouldn’t hurt. Some of you will be isolating and won’t be joining family to avoid spreading covid, but this exercise should give you a good excuse to spend even more time with them on the phone.
Muwado is therefore happy to launch this challenge where we shall tell #OurParentsStories. It’s an opportunity to get to know them beyond the, I used to walk to school every day and it was uphill both ways, stories they gave as pep talks.
How To Participate
What we are asking you to do is to join hands with your siblings, if you have, get some quiet time with your parents or guardians and engage them in a conversation to find out what their experience on earth has been like. If one or both of your parents is no longer on this earth, may they RIP. You can still participate by asking their close friends and other family members about them, or telling the story of a guardian or someone else you look up to.
We recommend using, in addition to the notes you’ll be taking, your phone to record the conversation in order to help you recount it accurately later when you have the time. Take advantage of voice notes or recorded phone calls if you can’t do this physically but want to keep a record. The output can be in the form of:
- A blog post (or series if the content is too much for one blog post)
- Podcasts for those that are able to record the conversations and produce them.
- Video interviews and documentaries for those that want to take it to another level by recording the conversation with their phones or professional camera, or zoom calls.
- Any other format that the reader might decide to use for example comics or galleries from photos that their parents might still have in their possession.
- Books for those that are inspired enough by the results and want to invest in that process and publish the stories.
We have compiled these 21 questions 😉 to help you with a starting point. Feel free to add your own and investigate some of them further.
- What was their childhood like and what are the most vivid memories from their childhood?
- What did they aspire to be as a child and, if it that changed, what happened?
- What are the most drastic environmental changes they experienced in their childhood?
- What aspect of their childhood has faded out that they wish the current generation of children could experience?
- What are the most memorable moments from their time in school?
- What was their relationship with their parents like when growing up?
- What were their most rebellious moments when growing up?
- Who did they look up to when growing up and why?
- How did they end up in their current career?
- What hobbies, talents, interests, quirks do they have that most don’t know about?
- What was their first love like and what has been their overall experience with romantic relationships?
- How did they meet your other parent and what are their biggest takeaways from marriage, if they got married?
- Do they have any grownup decisions they wish they had done differently/what are their biggest regrets from their adult life?
- What have been their strongest friendships over the years and why?
- What have been the key turning points in their adult lives?
- What are the biggest challenges in their adult life, how did they overcome and how did they change as a result?
- What have been their happiest moments in life?
- What have been their biggest lessons about parenting?
- What has drastically changed about their politics, philosophies and world views over the years?
- What are their thoughts on the current state of society compared to when they were growing up?
- What about the nature of the current generation do they wish they experienced in their youth?
Muwado is capable and very happy to host all this content and help advise you along the process if you want to do it seriously. We are also in talks with different organisations to see if they can join the challenge and support production of some of the nicely done stories. But you have our permission to share this content wherever you see fit, the story is bigger than us. If you choose to use Muwado, here is how you can easily do it
Go to the Submit page and start uploading your story. In order for it to be easily found by people trying to find stories from this challenge, add the tag OurParentsStories to your post like we have done with this one. You can also add #OurParentsStories to your story title for easy identification.
- You can always edit the post from your profile if there is something you’d like to add/remove.
- If submission gives you a hard time (our beta platform still has some bugs), email us your submission [email protected] and we’ll upload it for you.
Storytelling is how we have managed to pass on our cultures, traditions, beliefs through the years and this campaign serves as an opportunity to update this process since storytelling around the fire is slowly dying out. We are currently going through a phase in human history where the technological advancements and the resultant evolution of societies changing rapidly. Covid has been the nitro boost to this process. We, therefore, think there is no better time to take a look back at our histories and to get valuable lessons on how to approach this brave future. And there is no better place to start digging this history up than home.
A good number of people also have, for the most part, awkward formal relationships with their parents because it is a very delicate dynamic. This campaign will therefore serve as an opportunity to understand your parent’s upbringing, the decisions they made to get where they are today and become the person they are now.
As her parents aged and her own children grew up with their eyes glued to their gadgets, Muthoni Garland decided to carry out an exercise that would enable the younger generation of her family bond with the older generation. She compiled a set of questions and sent her children on vacation with her parents and a task of asking their grandparents to answer these questions and record the conversations. The bonding exercise was such a resounding success that she went on to create a life prompt and archiving book titled, The Gift of Me. We recommend getting a copy to help you with the challenge.
Another true related true story is that of Rita Kenkwanzi. As her father’s 65th birthday drew closer, Kenkwanzi thought about a perfect present for the man who nurtured, inspired and loved her. She decided that writing a book that celebrates her old man’s life and contribution to society would be the most appropriate gift. Kamwe, Kamwe, Nigwo Muganda was born as a result.
Further South, there is this interview Trevor Noah did with his grandmother on what it was like growing up in the thick of apartheid.
We hope you can channel Muthoni, Kenkwanzi and Noah’s energy into your #OurParentsStories project