Content and Context of Zulu Folk-Narratives

Content and Context of Zulu Folk-Narratives

Content and Context of Zulu Folk-Narratives

Content and Context of Zulu Folk-Narratives

Excerpt

This study of Zulu folk-narratives is the result of my long-standing interest in the subject, but for practical reasons I have always had to give preference to other kinds of research. It is both a recognition of the wealth and beauty of Zulu oral literature and an acknowledgment of the young essayists who were willing to write down narratives they had heard as children. While not restricting my appreciation to all these persons, I would like to mention the following names in particular: Thuleleni Buthelezi, Elliot Goba, Eunice Msomi, Elijah Mthiyane, Johannes Mthiyane, Bonginkosi Mtshali, Denzil Nyembe, and Lawrence Sikhosana. I must also thank Professor A. T. Cope and Mr. D. Mzolo of the University of Natal who verified the Zulu text material included in this study and Professor Absolom Vilakazi who wrote the foreword.

Some of the material and ideas contained in this study were first presented at research congresses. While the initial organization of data satisfied the congress organizers, participants contributed a great deal by their comments. I would like to thank the officers in charge for permission to use the material in this form. During August 1969, a paper, "African Folk-Narrative Research and Anthropology," was presented at the Fifth Congress of the International Society for Folk-Narrative Research in Bucharest, Romania. Five years later the first statistical analysis followed in "Folk-Narratives Are Lullabies" presented at the Sixth Congress of the same society during June 1974 in Helsinki, Finland.

A modest study like this cannot attempt to establish new genre criteria or boast of covering anything more than a sample of Zulu folk-narratives. The functional typology which is developed is a tool in classification and helps the researcher to deal with the wealth of material he collects. It is neither the only nor the final classification of folk-narratives.

Once again I thank students, school principals, translators, and research assistants, all of whom contributed to this study. A special word of thanks to Barbara Edwards who assisted in restructuring this manuscript into acceptable literary style. To them I say: Inhlav' iyabekelwa.

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