masterfully dramatic and humoristic ways of story telling,
and his art of teaching through beautiful stories, Harish
Johari has inspired me to become a story teller", says
Rudi. He is also glad that Dada has transformed some of the
many hundreds of stories he told, into his books "The
Monkeys in the Mango Tree" and "The
Birth of The Ganga", maintaining the art of painting
pictures with his words.
From 1979 till
1986 Rudi has performed daily on TV in the Dutch version of
Sesamy Street as a story teller and actor. Since 1991 his
art and performance skills as a story teller have further
been developed by training, workshops and performances with
the story-tellers collective "O'Rare", of which
he is a co-founder.
On stage Rudi
performs solo or together with some or all
members of O'Rare, for audiences of all ages, adjusting
the stories to the situation at hand.
to Anansi the Spider
Anansi stories originated in West
Africa, where they were part of the oral cultural heritage
of the Fanti and Ashanti tribes. He is the magical spider
and messenger of the God Nyankupon, who descends from heaven
to deliver His message and goes back up by his own devise.
The spider's morphology is a solar
symbol. His eight legs, symetrically spread around a central
body, are like the symbols used worldwide to depict the omnipresent
and omnidirectional energy of the Sun (God ). In Hindu religious
art this can be seen as the eight lotus petals in many yantras
and mandalas. The eight main directions of the compass card
also show the same form.
During the more than three hundred
years of slave hunt and slave trade, when many millions of
African people were taken to other parts of the world, their
stories travelled with them. And so the stories of Anansi
the Spider became part of the oral tradition of Rudi's native
As the white slave owners prohibited
any expression of the slaves' culture, these descendants of
different African tribes created new tales and stories, using
the old personages in new ways. In the Anansi stories from
Surinam, Ba Tigri or Brother Tiger stood for the slave owner.
Later on, Tiger generally represented the one in power, be
it the government, the police, the employer or the parents.
To the present day, new characters
appear in Anansi stories to spread the news and give advise
in matters where indiscretion can be deadly. One example is
Ba (Brother) Uzi (the brand name of the Israeli machinegun
used by the army), who stands for the Surinamese army in general,
and the dictatorial army leader Desi Bouterse in particular.
each of these stories will take 15 to 25 minutes
For young children
Rudi will sing songs and play his guitar as part of the perfomance,
and will invite the children to partake as actors, playing