Cinderella in Africa

Author: Elizabeth Eilers

Grade Level:


Materials Needed:


1. Begin by bringing the class together and saying some major themes from many Cinderella stories such as, "There once was a beautiful woman who was abused and neglected by mean family members. She was kind and good and was helped by a magical friend. In the end, she marries a man who is part of the royal family."


2. Continue by asking, "Does anyone have a guess as to what story that might be?" Allow the children time to make guesses as to what they believe the story is. Follow this questioning with the reading of Cinderella.


3. After reading, continue by saying, "There are many stories in our world that follow the story line pattern of Cinderella. In fact, almost every country in the world has a Cinderella story!" (For more information see background information.)


4. Continue by saying, "Today we are going to read a story called, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, which is a Cinderella story from a country in Africa called Zimbabwe." Follow this by pointing out the country on a map, in relation to the city where the children live.

(Click on the highlighted country below for more information on Zimbabwe.)

Read the story.


5. After reading ask the children, "What are some of the things in this story that remind you of Cinderella? What are some differences?" Allow the children to suggest some similarities and differences between the two stories. Continue by asking, "Why do you think these two stories are so much alike? What messages/values do both books have in common?" Allow the children to speculate some ideas. (For example, they are alike because most people in our world like to see good people win in the end, and love is a universal theme. Their messages and values are similar in that good overcomes evil in both stories.)

6. Using a Venn diagram, chart the characteristics of Cinderella in one circle and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters in the other. The points which are the same within the stories will be found in the area where the circles overlap in the center. (For example, both stories include a mean sister, a kind father who lives throughout the entire story, a magical character, and a marriage into the royal family.)



Later, read another African Cinderella story such as Egyptian Cinderella or Nomi and the Magic Fish. Ask the children to write down one similarity and one difference between the new story and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters or Cinderella, demonstrating their ability to compare and contrast similar story lines.


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