African communities have always told stories. We grew up having them passed down from generation to generation through oral traditions. However, with the rate at which we are advancing technologically it is difficult for the old and the new to be in the same wine skin.
But it is not impossible.
I had a chat with Wambui who founded Spilled Words Podcast a story telling platform you’ll adore. Happy reading.
1. Who is Wambui Ndung’u?
Well, there are so many ways to answer this question, but I can tell you a few fun facts about me; I live for an exceptional cup of coffee, I can’t live without my podcast app, I spend way too many hours playing sudoku, I crave genuine conversations and relationships. I love handwritten anything, I love to serve people, I live for the novelty of life and I absolutely love storytelling.
2. What inspired the name of your podcast?
Coming up with spilled words feels like it was instinctive but the process was somewhat hilarious. My sister and I were brainstorming on names I had listed on my phone, as I needed a second opinion. Of course there were ridiculous ones, like Hakuna Moscato, and Story therapy, but also some I was slightly sold on, then my sister asked, “What is the podcast about anyways?” and I said “Word vomit in the form of stories” and she suggested “Then why don’t you just call it Spilled Words” and that was it. I guess we should give her all the credit.
3. Why did you pick a podcast as a storytelling avenue?
I love stories, in whichever format they are told. Whether it is in books, movies, even sitting across from people as they tell me a captivating story. There’s something about how people express experiences that warms my heart so much, I also love writing, and I wanted to write and narrate them. I am actually a terrible story teller in person, somehow I can’t make it juicy enough on the spot, but when I write it down I can give it as much thought as it deserves. And podcasting felt like a happy medium, so I chose it.
4. What fuels your love for stories and storytelling?
You know what pains me the most? We didn’t have videos of our childhood. My favorite memory as a child was sitting around my grandma’s kitchen, with small wooden stools she had made for all the grandchildren. Stories would be shared as we ate, so much laughter, I just remember the feeling of that moment, I just wish moments like that were documented; written, recorded, something that we can hold on to and pass along. That fuels me to write my stories, to ensure all moments are passed along.
5. Which stories do you tell on your podcast?
I tell stories about my childhood, my current life and of course daily struggles and lessons. I think stories are intimate and personal, but the feelings and emotions they exude are interrelated.
6. Creating content is an art, how do you ensure you tell stories that are valuable to your listeners?
I think I want to tell stories I would love to read and listen to. All stories are valuable, and I think at the end of the day, if there is any value I can give to listeners, it should be making them want to share their stories boldly.
7. In your view, does storytelling need you to read widely?
Absolutely. It’s always in other’s stories that you find inspiration to tell yours, different beautiful ways to tell yours and of course love storytelling a little bit more.
8. Which 3 books are on your to be read list?
I have a couple for this month, top of the list are;
- Hunger by Roxane Gay
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek,
- Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho.
9. What is your goal as a storyteller?
To be a better writer, this would make me a better storyteller, especially with the medium I am choosing to use. And to be a platform that makes others get the courage to share their own stories, with vulnerability, courage and truth to who we are.
10. Oral traditions are a major way in which African stories were passed from one generation to another. With modern technology, is podcasting the way to preserve this aspect of our history?
Yes. I do think it is. As I said earlier, I wish we had more African stories written, narrated and not just in podcast form, which of course is excellent, but in books, articles and movies; they are to be preserved. I think especially as Africans, our stories have been told for us way too long, we need to voice them.
11. Which podcasters would you say continue to inspire you?
Oh, so many. Top of the list is the exceptional Nneka Julia of Passing Through Podcast, I love Modern love podcast, Brene Brown of Unlocking us, Ben Cyco of The Cyco Podcast,
12. Who would you love to have on your podcast in future?
I haven’t thought about this actually since I have a scripted podcast, but if I do have a guest I would love for it to be other people telling their stories too.
13. Which quote keeps you going?
Currently, it has to be a quote I read recently ;
“You are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself, continuously.” Richard Feynman.
14. What hopes do you have for the New Year?
To live boldly. To speak vulnerably. To seek clarity. To fulfill purpose. And to pause and savor every moment and emotion through it all. And not die, lol.
15. Which invaluable lesson have you learnt on your podcasting journey?
The beauty of progress. I am type A and in every sense of the word, a perfectionist and I often struggle with being unsure of what I put out there because I want it perfected. Then the doubt creeps in, then a lot ends up postponed. But I heard someone say; progress and perfection cannot share the same seat and I have learnt this lesson on an almost transformative level. Perfection hinders authenticity but progress is just beautiful.
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