The Tongue Is Fire: South African Storytellers and Apartheid / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- University of Wisconsin Press
In the years between the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 and the Soweto Uprising of 1976a period that was both the height of the apartheid system in South Africa and, in retrospect, the beginning of its endHarold Scheub went to Africa to collect stories.
With tape-recorder and camera in hand, Scheub registered the testaments of Swati, Xhosa, Ndebele, and Zulu storytellers, farming people who lived in the remote reaches of rural South Africa. While young people fought in the streets of Soweto and South African writers made the world aware of apartheid’s evils, the rural storytellers resisted apartheid in their own way, using myth and metaphor to preserve their traditions and confront their oppressors. For more than 20 years, Scheub kept the promise he made to the storytellers to publish his translations of their stories only when freedom came to South Africa. The Tongue Is Fire presents these voices of South African oral traditionthe historians, the poets, the epic-performers, the myth-makersdocumenting their enduring faith in the power of the word to sustain tradition in the face of determined efforts to distort or eliminate it. These texts are a tribute to the storytellers who have always, in periods of crisis, exercised their art to inspire their own people.
|Publisher:||University of Wisconsin Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Harold Scheub is professor of African languages and literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To record oral traditions he has walked more than 6000 miles through South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho. He is the editor of Nongenile Masithathu Zenani’s The World and the Word: Tales and Observations from Xhosa Oral Tradition, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and the author of The African Storyteller.