The World and the Word: Tales and Observations from the Xhosa Oral Tradition
A master storyteller of the Xhosa people of South Africa, Nongenile Masithathu Zenani gives us an unprecedented view of an oral society from within. Twenty-four of her complex and beautiful tales about birth, puberty, marriage, and work, as told to the renowned collector of African oral tradition, Harold Scheub, are gathered here. Accompanying the stories are Zenani’s detailed commentaries and analyses and Scheub’s striking photographs of her in performance. The combination of these historical and cultural observations with a richly symbolic collection of tales from a single traditional storyteller make The World and the Word a remarkable document.
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She began to talk baby talk to her child, bouncing her about, putting her on her
lap, hoisting her up, bringing ... She walked about with her child, hushing her,
smacking her child's buttocks, doing many things to show fondness— things she
He went out with the livestock the next morning. He went to herd. At midday, he
took the cattle to drink, and when he returned he went to his child. He nursed her.
He nursed the child, then he wrapped her up again and nestled her into the hole.
The boy cried and cried, "My child! Perhaps something's eaten her!" He cried, he
cried and cried. He went into the valley, he came out of the valley, searching for
his child. He wandered about until daybreak, going up and down, round and ...
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Time Passes the Baby Grows
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