Favorite African Folktales

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Overview

Favorite African Folktales is a cause for celebration, landmark work that gathers in one volume many of Africa's most cherished folktales.
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 ...

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Overview

Favorite African Folktales is a cause for celebration, landmark work that gathers in one volume many of Africa's most cherished folktales.
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.

A collection of some of the oldest African tales, selected by Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, which presents such themes as cunning animals, magic spells, and people who change forms.

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Cosby
A wonderful book that introduces children and adults alike to the magical world of African fairy tales and creation myths....a treasure for everyone in the family.
Publishers Weekly
Nobel Peace laureate Mandela understandably gets top billing here, but this collection of short fables compiles writings and translations by numerous authors and features illustrations by a diverse collection of artists. Together, the tales and their accompanying artwork create a patchwork of legends drawn from all over the African continent, from Morocco to Kenya to Swaziland. Snakes with seven heads and Zulu tricksters are found here, as well as various creation myths and a Kenyan lion (with the familiar name of Simba) who teaches a cunning hyena a lesson. The colorful birds, giant elephants and mischievous children populating the volume teach sometimes cryptic lessons about obedience, perseverance, cooperation and the simple strangeness of life. In one story, the children of an East African village must destroy a beautiful and enchanting bird that has brought bad luck to the surrounding countryside. In another, a courageous girl frees a prince from the spell that made him a python. In tales such as these, the dream-like, unpredictable symbology and sometimes cruel morality of myths resonate, and, in Mandela's words, the "gritty essence of Africa" shines through in stories with universal themes. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
South African hero Mandela chooses 32 African folktales, some predating Ovid, and decks them out with specially commissioned illustrations. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Mandela states in the foreword, "It is my wish that the voice of the storyteller will never die in Africa-.," and he has chosen 32 traditional tales for this handsome oversized volume. While nearly half the selections have their origins in South Africa, the rest represent some of the continent's most cherished tales and come from Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and other sub-Saharan countries as well as a single selection from Morocco. Each story is introduced with a short provenance or source note, and a frontispiece map matches each tale with its geographical area. Told by a variety of storytellers and folklorists, or gleaned from previously published sources, the tellings vary from literary to contemporary. The book also provides a showcase for 18 illustrators, mostly from South Africa, who contributed one full-page illustration per story. This is a rich collection that would provide depth and breadth to any classroom study alongside the many single-tale picture-book editions readily found on library shelves.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393326246
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 293,956
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Nelson Mandela (1918—2013) was South Africa's first democratically elected president.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 7
1 The Enchanting Song of the Magical Bird 9
2 The Cat Who Came Indoors 12
3 The Great Thirst 15
4 King Lion's Gifts 18
5 The Message 23
6 The Snake Chief 26
7 How Hlakanyana Outwitted the Monster 29
8 Words As Sweet As Honey from Sankhambi 33
9 Mmutla and Phiri 36
10 The Lion, the Hare, and the Hyena 40
11 Mmadipetsane 43
12 Kamiyo of the River 48
13 Spider and the Crows 51
14 Natiki 56
15 The Hare and the Tree Spirit 59
16 The Mantis and the Moon 62
17 The Snake with Seven Heads 66
18 The Hare's Revenge 71
19 The Wolf Queen 74
20 Van Hunks and the Devil 79
21 Wolf and Jackal and the Barrel of Butter 83
22 The Cloud Princess 87
23 The Guardian of the Pool 93
24 The Sultan's Daughter 96
25 The Ring of the King 102
26 The Clever Snake Charmer 106
27 Asmodeus and the Bottler of Djinns 109
28 Sakunaka, the Handsome Young Man 115
29 The Mother Who Turned to Dust 118
30 Mpipidi and the Motlopi Tree 124
31 Fesito Goes to Market 128
32 Sannie Langtand and the Visitor 134
Glossary 141
About the Authors 141
About the Artists 142
Credits 143
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Customer Reviews

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