Venda ngano narratives. Dialogues between past and present
Le Roux, Ina
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The annotated ngano song-story narratives in this book were collected in Niani, South Africa's Limpopo valley, from 2009 to 2016. Their discussion is situated at the intersection of history, ethnography, narratology and musicology. Finnegan notes that the study of African oral narrative tends to focus on "animal tales and other light-hearted stories" rather than "more elaborate, lengthy, or serious" stories about human life. In any case, narratives are often represented as mere plot outlines, leaving readers with "No idea whatsoever" of any deeper significance they may harbour. In particular, "detailed studies of the literary and social significance of the various stories in any one society are notably lacking." In South Africa, oral narratives of precolonial origin live on in popular printed media directed at the youth market. Often harvested from ethnographic sources that date back to the nineteenth century, their translations rarely attempt to account for original stylistic qualities. Furthermore, their intricate symbolism routinely remains unexcavated, and virtually nothing in known about their narrators. And so their worldmaking functions and aesthetics may go unnoticed, relegating them to innocuous children's stories.
- Other Africana