Indaba My Children: African Folktales

Indaba-My-ChildrenAs a young man, Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, a Zulu from the South African province of Natal, was determined to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and become a historian in order to keep the rich oral tradition of his culture alive.

In this book, begun in response to the injustices against Africans and their culture, Mutwa sets these legends down in writing. He begins with the creation myth, when Ninavanhu-Ma, the Great Mother, created the human race. From there, an epic unfolds, an intricate and vivid cultural tapestry populated by gods and mortals, cattle herders and supreme kings, witch doctors, lovers, grave diggers, warriors, and handmaidens. The story continues all the way up to the colonial era, when a Portuguese Kapitanoh and his crew arrive on the African shore.

Indaba, My Children is a classic and indispensable resource for anyone interested in the cultural life of Africa and the human experience as it is filtered into myth.

Quotes from Indaba My Children by Credo Mutwa

“Many of the books written by Europeans about Africans should be relegated to the dustbin.”

“…for what is the use of having a lamp lit and hidden in a hole in the ground?”

“You cannot fight an evil disease with sweet medicine.”

“The tree grows well and strong, Oh children mine,
That hath its roots deep in the native earth;
So honour always thy ancestral line
And traditions of thy land of birth.”

“You are all the same… You make a lot of wonderful resolutions, you swear a lot of oaths to do this and not to do that. You bind yourselves without first studying your secret natures – without knowing yourselves first. You never size up your ability to keep your oaths.”

“My son you must never concentrate all your love on one thing or one person. You must learn to extend your love to the world in general, because you are part of it and the world is part of you.”

“…such was her suffering, and desperate her efforts
that with self-hypnosis she counted the stars.
Even today many Tribes have the saying:
‘To count the very stars in pain’.”

Praise for Indaba My Children

“A work of genius.” –Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

“The narrative of the historian turns into the incantation of the visionary.” –The Guardian (London)

“An absorbing collection of legends . . . This interesting and human book deserves a wide circle of readers.” –The Times Literary Supplement (London)

“Remarkably well-written.” –B.B.C. World Service (UK)

“This book is indeed an epic.” –Sunday Tribune (Durban)

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