Researchers at Makerere University have transformed Ugandan Folktales into Digital Animation (films) for educational and leisure.

The researchers include Professor Dominica Dipio, head of Literature in Makerere University, Dr Susan Kiguli a poet and Senior lecturer of Literature Archt. Richard Musinguzi, Dr Jimmy Spire Ssentongo lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Makerere University and Isaac Tibasiima also from the department of literature.

The folktales include Njabala (a buganda region adaption), Hidden riches (a western Uganda adaption) Lia and Origa (an eastern Uganda adaption) and Opiyo and Odongo (a northern Uganda adaption).

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Professor Dominica Dipio the principal investigator explains that children are not cared for in contents displayed on media platforms because they consume adult contents which are not good, so they decided to work on this project which she says will help children in schools and those at home enriching them with cultural folktales.

Professor says they collected and adapted Ugandan folktales into animation films for the educational and recreational purposes of children and the youth. In its first phase, they produced four animation films, on topical issues, based on tales collected from different regions of Uganda.

Two multi-media products, storybook and audio stories are in the process of being produced from the four films to make the products more accessible for the intended users.

The emphasis in these films is that the narrative becomes visual, oral and it also becomes what you engage with in emotions.

She says that these animated films, which are informed of cartoons, do interest children and if they have a useful content, it helps them in learning and being groomed with discipline.

The folktales collected were creatively interpreted and animated to fit into the contemporary mentorship and recreational needs of, particularly, Ugandan youths.

According to professor Dipio, this research addresses the problem of paucity of cultural-based educational and recreational materials for young people. It premises that cultural artifacts are repositories of a community’s memory; and folktales are such expressions of a community’s shared values, that may be both culture-specific and cross-cultural.

The research also addresses the problem of cultural over-dependency on foreign contents and identity crisis in the global context. Uganda needs to contribute its share of intangible cultural heritage folktales, myths, legends, and traditions.