Sigrid Schmidt: Children Born from Eggs [PDF]


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African Magic Tales – Texts and Discussions

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526 pp.
1 illustration, appendix: Analyses of Tales, Motif-Index, Subject Index

Text language: English

Are there magic tales in Africa at all? Even among authorities there are many pros and cons. This book wants to join the debate and claim: Yes, there are! The author, who brings in more than 45 years of attachment to African folklore and the insights gained by listening to hundreds of different story-tellers, approaches the subject from various aspects.

In part I she offers 70 tales which she recorded in Namibia between 1975 and 1997. These texts, most of them examples of magic tales, have not been published before. They are addressed to any reader who enjoys reading folktales.

Part II gives the background information on the narrators and the individual tales, part III a general discussion of the character of African magic tales from the literary and folkloristic point of view. The study focusses on the traditions of the Nama-speaking peoples but they are always seen in relation to further African lore, particularly to their Bushmen (San) and Bantu-speaking neighbours. Special emphasis is laid on a comparison with European Zaubermärchen. Part IV adds the tools for a closer study: motif analysis of all existing variants of this group of tales, motif index according to Stith Thompson and subject index.

The author wants to help African readers to appreciate fully their local heritage but also to see it in relation to further African and international traditions, and to help Western readers to understand and appreciate African lore.