Once Upon Southern Africa: A Collection of African Folk Tales
by Phillip Martin
My collection of folk tales from Southern Africa grew while I lived in Zambia for two years. I taught at an international school and asked librarians at other schools in the region if they had collections of tales. Librarians tend to be amazingly helpful. This group was no exception. I received a wealth of material. And, I gathered more tales as I traveled the region.
And, I traveled the region!
I had amazing experiences. I paddled on a dugout canoe through the Okavango Delta of Botswana, searched for whales off the coast of South Africa, wandered around Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, explored game parks in Zambia, and survived (barely) another bout of malaria in Namibia from a trip to the world’s largest sand dunes. But, hands-down, no competition, the best experience I had was traveling to Bushmanland in northeast Namibia.
I wanted to see this region ever since I saw the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy”. I was warned in advance by the travel agency that they couldn’t guarantee that I’d see any of the San people. Besides, the San people no longer dress as they did in that movie. It didn’t stop me. I was a man on a mission and I was going to Bushmanland.
My guide knew that I was interested in photographing portraits. As we passed a Herrero woman in the absolute middle of nowhere, he said, “This woman will let you photograph her if we give her a ride.” Everyone was happy after that.
As it turned out, the woman said she knew some Bushmen, and if we took her home, she could introduce us. That night, we camped next to the woman’s home, under magnificent Africa stars. Around a fire, we shared African folk tales. It was one of the most magical nights I’ve ever had anywhere in the world.
The following day, I was taken to see a San man who lived in her village. He very happily dressed up in their traditional clothing for my photographs. And, as it so happened, he was the star of the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy”!
I told you I had amazing experiences in Africa.
This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 08 November, 2020.