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The Banished Child

— Clement Abiaziem Okafor
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This study of cante-fable narratives collected by Dr Okafor among the Tonga of Southern Zambia selects one long, elaborate tale, ‘The Banished Child’, for a detailed analysis. This story is given in full, in the original and in translation. Okafor discusses the mixture of prose and poetry in such tales, the participation of the audience, the methods of narration, and the means by which the storytellers learn their art. His study provides valuable evidence for methods of oral composition and recitation among people living in small, independent villages, away from the towns. The stories are enjoyed by the whole community, and told by both men and women. The book will be welcome both to those concerned with the literature of the Bantu-speaking peoples and to a much wider group interested in oral culture. There is both humour and fantasy in the narratives, and that of ‘The Banished Child’ is a strange and haunting one.

Paperback, vi + 172 pp. | London: The Folklore Society, 1983 | ISBN: 0903515067