Favorite African Folktales

Front Cover
Nelson Mandela
W. W. Norton & Company, 2004 - Fiction - 240 pages
1 Review
Mandela, a Nobel Laureate for Peace, has selected these thirty-two tales with the specific hope that Africa's oldest stories, as well as a few new ones, be perpetuated by future generations and be appreciated by children throughout the world. In these "beloved stories, morsels rich with the gritty essence of Africa," we meet, among many others, a Kenyan lion named Simba, a snake with seven heads and a trickster from Zulu folklore; we hear the voices of the scheming hyena and learn from a Khoi fable how animals acquired their tails and horns. Several creation myths tell us how the land, its animals, and its people all came into existence under a punishing sun or against the backdrop of a spectacularly beautiful mountain landscape. Whether warning children about the dangers of disobedience or demonstrating that the underdog can--and often does--win, these stories, through their depiction of wise animals as well as evil monsters, are "universal in their portrayal of humanity, beasts, and the mystical."

What is particularly exciting about this book is that many of the stories, in their oral form, are almost as old as Africa itself. Most of them were, in fact, first told in various African tongues around evening fires in centuries past--tales from, for example, the San and the Khoi, the original hunter-gatherers and livestock herders of Southern Africa. Translated into English and other European languages chiefly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from their original languages--be they Karanga, Nguni, Xhosa, or one of many others--these folktales are a testament to the craft of storytelling and the power of myth. Accompanied by dozens of enchanting, specially commissioned color paintings, Favorite African Folktales--culled from African countries as far-flung as Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya--presents a fountain of precious knowledge that will be treasured by children, as well as adults, for years to come.
  

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The Charm of an Old Friend

User Review  - solennis - Overstock.com

Great book. Very imaginative. Nelson Mandela is above and beyond in every way. A wonderful selection of stories. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Foreword
13
The Enchanting song of the Magical Bird
17
The Cat Who Came Indoors
21
The Great Thirst
24
King Lions Gifts
28
The Message
35
The Snake Chief
40
How Hlakanyana Outwitted the Monster
45
The Wolf Queen
114
Van Hunks and the Devil
121
Wolf and Jackal and the Barrel of Butter
128
The Cloud Princess
134
The Guardian of the Pool
144
The Sultans Daughter
148
The Ring of the King
159
The Clever Snake Charmer
166

Words As Sweet As Honey from Sankhambi
52
Mmutla and Phiri
55
The Lion The Hare and the Hyena
62
Mmadipetsane
67
Kamiyo of the River
75
Spider and the Crows
79
Natiki
86
The Hare and the Tree Spirit
90
The Mantis and the Moon
94
The Snake with Seven Heads
100
The Hares Revenge
110
Asmodeus and the Bottler on Djinns
170
Sakunaka the Handsome Young Man
181
The Mother Who Turned to Dust
185
Mpipidi and the Motiopi Tree
195
Fesito Goes to Market
202
Sannie Langtand and the Visitor
213
Glossary
227
About the Authors
230
Credits
236
About Nelson Mandela
239
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa. His teacher later named him Nelson as part of a custom to give all schoolchildren Christian names. He briefly attended University College of Fort Hare but was expelled after taking part in a protest with Oliver Tambo, with whom he later operated the nation's first black law firm. He eventually completed a bachelor's degree through correspondence courses and studied law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He left without graduating in 1948. Mandela was part of the African National Congress (ANC) and spent many years as a freedom fighter. When the South African government outlawed the ANC after the Sharpeville Massacre, he went underground to form a new military wing of the organization. In 1964, he was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. Instead of testifying at the trial, he opted to give a speech that was more than four hours long and ended with a defiant statement. While in prison, he received a bachelor's degree in law in absentia from the University of South Africa. In 1990, Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with former South African President F.W. de Klerk in 1993 for transitioning the nation from a system of racial segregation. After leaving the presidency, Mandela retired from active politics, but continued championing causes such as human rights, world peace and the fight against AIDS. He died on November 5, 2013 at the age of 95.

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