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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In the commentaries as in the tales, I have taken great care not to interfere with
her words and thoughts: I have not altered the material in any way. These
translations are as close to the originals as possible. Any interpolation by me is
When the woman has delivered, that vessel from which she has been drinking
during her pregnancy will be taken, and a spoonful of the medicine will be given
to the infant she has borne. When the woman has labor pains, other women are ...
The breasts of the nursing mother are then drained onto bark that has been taken
from a mimosa tree. When that has been done, the soil is taken and kneaded into
that bark. Cooked porridge is then taken; it is to be eaten by the young mother.
The meat of the goat's foreleg is taken, and someone orders that a fire be kindled
in the nursing mother's home. The fire is built, the meat is placed on a mimosa
branch, a mimosa that has been cut down and put in the kraal. After the goat's ...
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