Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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p. ix

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xvi

Why should one study the history of a people when they are moving dramatically and decisively into a new sense of identity? Because that new sense of identity is firmly rooted in that history, because one cannot understand one’s “new” identity in the absence of that identity of the past...

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Prelude: The Uncoiling Python

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pp. 1-15

The python is the operative image in this discussion of the place of oral traditions in the 350-year struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The Zulu people, Axel-Ivar Berglund has written, “are convinced that” the python is “the coolest of all the animals in the whole world,” a result of “the coolness of water, especially that of deep pools”; in addition, “there is the coolness related to calmness and an even temperament...

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1: Metaphor: Inevitable Encounters, Tools for Analysis

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pp. 16-39

When I was witnessing performances of oral stories in southern Africa, I slowly became aware of how meaning is generated. Storytellers and their audiences acquainted me with two essential aspects of analysis: a complex form of metaphor and a basic transformational movement. These, I learned, were the basic tools that lead to understanding...

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2: San Metaphor: “ . . . and feel a story in the wind”

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pp. 40-103

The core of this study of metaphor has to do with nineteenth-century San oral traditions. However, these analyses must be placed within broader discussions of other southern African artistic materials, including the Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, and English traditions. This is what ||kábbo, a San, said about storytelling: “I must first sit a little, cooling my arms, letting the fatigue go out of them...

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3: The Nguni Artist: The Collapsing of Time

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pp. 104-193

Nongenile Masithathu Zenani, a Xhosa storyteller, told me, “The art of composing imaginative narratives is something that was undertaken by the first people—long ago, during the time of the ancestors. When those of us in my generation awakened to earliest consciousness, we were born into a tradition that was already flourishing. . . . Members of every generation,” she said, “have grown up under the influence of these narratives.”...

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Postlude: Surviving 350 Years

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pp. 194-206

It was in 1976, when Desmond Tutu, who would later be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, had just been appointed the first black Anglican Dean of Johannesburg in South Africa, that he wrote a letter to then Prime Minister John Vorster, an Afrikaner, who had, as minister of justice, passed a law allowing for indefinite detention in solitary confinement without charge or trial...

Notes

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pp. 207-223

Bibliography

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pp. 225-233

Index

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pp. 235-240