Teju! The Storyteller

Folklorist.Oral Historian

Tejumola Ologboni (Teju) is a Storyteller, Folklorist, and Oral Historian.  He was born in Salina, Kansas and moved with family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he was 11 years old. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Art and Education. He was awarded a Federal Foreign Language Graduate Fellowship to study African Language at Indiana University – Bloomington.   

He is an avid student of African folklore and one of the nation’s leading authorities on African Spirituality and Culture.

As an educator, he taught African Literature, African American Literature, Creative Writing, and English in the African American Studies Department at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He also taught at Marquette University in Milwaukee and at Dominican College in Racine, WI.

Teju comes from a long family tradition of storytellers. His mother and father, his grandmothers, one grandfather and a great-grandfather were storytellers.

His stories are drawn from African traditions and African American history and folklore. His high-energy, fast paced and witty performances are spellbinding. These riveting performances always hint at wry humor, revolutionary teachings and lessons in love. In addition to his repertory of original stories and poems, Teju is an accomplished percussionist

He has appeared in movies and videos including:

“African Story Magic” by New Light Entertainment, Hollywood, California
“Tallow Glee and The Golden Key” by Golden Books, Inc.

His publications include:

“Two Kinds of Women” in Talk That Talk edited by Barnes and Goss
“Black Henry” in New Black Voices edited by Abraham Chapman
“Desert Traveler” in Pot Likker Stories edited by Coleman and Coleman

His CD recordings include:

“The Egg That Sang The Blues”
“Ham Bones n’ Pot Likker an’ a lil’ bit o’ gospel”
“…When God Was a Woman”

He is in demand as a storyteller. His show-stopping performances have earned him the distinction of being a repeated featured teller at Storytelling Festivals throughout the country including the National Storytelling Festival – Jonesborough, Tennessee, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival – Washington, DC, and the National Black Storytelling Festival. He was also featured (storyteller and presenter) in 2019 at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. He’s also been featured in Africa and Taiwan. He was the first-place winner of the first National Open-Invitational Tall-Tale Tellers Contest (Liar’s Contest) sponsored by the National Association of Black Storytellers. In 2002 he was the recipient of the most prestigious award in storytelling, the Zora Neale Hurston Award for “contributing to the perpetuation and preservation of African American Folklore”. In 2012 he was selected as one of Wisconsin’s MASTERS OF TRADITION and was chosen to represent the state of Wisconsin at the Midwest Folklife Festival held in Bishop Hill, Illinois. In 2014 The WISTGET organization of Wisconsin Storytellers awarded him the Beck Award “In Appreciation For Noteworthy Contributions And Service In Support Of The Art Of Storytelling In Wisconsin.”

He has worked as a stand-up comedian, an actor, a musician, and a radio and television host. He brings these skills to his storytelling.

 Teju has performed in elementary, middle and high schools, colleges, churches, supper clubs, taverns, theatres, prisons, juvenile detention centers, street corners, conventions, storytelling and other festivals, corporate lunches, holiday celebrations, parties, libraries, boys’ and girls’ clubs, and several other places.

Critics have said of him: “He is all energy, a whirlwind on stage.”  “He is a wise and talented storyteller, making connections that reverberate with truths that stretch across racial and generational barriers”.  “He can excite and inspire an audience like the ancestors of old.”

One reviewer asked Teju, “What would you say is your greatest attribute as a storyteller?” He modestly replied, “You got an audience? I got a story.”

Tejumola Ologboni, a storyteller, folklorist, oral historian and percussionist, speaks to students gathered at Lincoln Land Community College for the kickoff of Black History Month Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register

Contact Teju! The Storyteller

Please fill out the form below to contact Teju! the Storyteller for booking events, festivals, private speaking engagements, celebrations, etc.

For commissions, bookings or if you have any questions, email Teju! at: [email protected]

For all other messages, non-professional or personal, email Teju! at: [email protected]

or Call Teju! at: 1-414-344-6656

or mail: P.O. Box 1721, Milwaukee, WI, 53201