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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The introductions and the headnotes preceding the tales are based on
conversations I had with Mrs. Zenani after her performances. 1 have attempted to
retain the substance and the style of her observations. These conversations were
This combination of the real world and the imaginative word controls the narrative
performance and streams unerringly to the essence of a culture. The stories have
a predictability and a familiarity that enable the members of the audience to ...
Her hands work softly, serenely deftly, molding the performance, giving a nuance
to a character, adding depth to another, ... performers do: she heard stories in her
neighborhood, observed performances presented by an aunt, a grandmother, ...
THE ART OF THE STORYTELLER Performance Note Time: 3 August 1972 in the
afternoon. Place: Outside, near Mrs. Zenani's home in Nkanga, Gatyana District,
the Transkei. Audience: Six women and twelve teenagers and children. (NS-22.)
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The End of the Affair