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Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales

Nelson Mandela (Editor)


A cause for celebration, and a landmark work that gathers in one volume many of Africa's most cherished folktales.

In these beloved stories we meet a Kenyan lion named Simba, a snake with seven heads, and tricksters from Zulu folklore; we hear the voices of the scheming hyena, and we learn from a Khoi fable how animals acquired their tails and horns. 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. Translated from their original languages—Karanga, Nguni, Xhosa, and many others—these folktales are a testament to the craft of storytelling and the power of myth.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • October 2007
  • ISBN 978-0-393-32990-2
  • 10.1 × 10.5 in / 144 pages
  • Sales Territory: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.


Endorsements & Reviews

“It is my wish that the voice of the storyteller will never die in Africa, that all the children in the world may experience the wonder of books.” — Nelson Mandela

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