Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales (2002)

by Nelson Mandela (Editor), Desmond Tutu (Introduction)

Other authors: Gillian Anderson (Narrator), Benjamin Bratt (Narrator), LeVar Burton (Narrator), Ricardo Chavira (Narrator), Don Cheadle (Narrator)12 more, Matt Damon (Narrator), Whoopi Goldberg (Narrator), Hugh Jackman (Narrator), Samuel L. Jackson (Narrator), Scarlett Johansson (Narrator), Debra Messing (Narrator), Helen Mirren (Narrator), Sophie Okonedo (Narrator), Alan Rickman (Narrator), Charlize Theron (Narrator), Blair Underwood (Narrator), Forest Whitaker (Narrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4902245,678 (4.06)14
A collection of traditional stories from different parts of Africa, featuring varied characters and themes--some familiar, some newer.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I flipped through this book to decide if I wanted to read it (despite a quote by Bill Cosby on the cover... yuck,) and the beginning of the book immediately hooked me. The first pages feature a map that marks which part of Africa each story comes from. The Table of Contents also indicates the origin of each story-- i.e.- "The Enchanting Song of the Magical Bird" (Tanzania). It also features some background on Nelson Mandela's life and his history with apartheid, as well as a Forward written by him, explaining that, "This collection offers a handful of beloved stories, morsels rich with the gritty essence of Africa, but in many instances universal in their portrayal of humanity, beasts, and the mystical."

As you read, each folktale has a small blurb that highlights the message, the origin, the recorder, and/or the illustrator. This helps the reader anticipate what the setting and the meaning might be before starting, especially for young readers. Some of these prefaces also note the evolution of these stories, including some elements that might be different in different versions of the story (like that the characters in one story might be a chameleon and a lizard OR a tick and a hare, depending on which retelling you hear.) Most of the stories are told through the perspectives of African animals, though there are also stories featuring humans and other characters, including the Moon as a character in "The Message"! A final element of the book that I loved was that it used traditional African language, lyrics, poetry, etc. throughout. "The Snake with Seven Heads" starts with "Sukela ngantsomi. Chosi." which means, "Once upon a time... Tell the story." and it ends with "Phela phela ngantsomi" or "The story is finished." ( )
  SBelfry | Jul 12, 2022 |
This book is a wonderful treasury of folktales from around Africa. The tales come from Zambia, Cape Malay, Cape Dutch, Malawi, South Africa, and Botswana. The tales have great morals such as the cat who lived with the lion (happily I might add). There are songs which have lyrics that you can sing along to, and the art is beautiful. I enjoyed reading this book, but it was very long for a small child. I think it would be the kind of book that would need to be broken up over the year. This book would probably be best to be a read aloud because some of the words are hard to pronounce.
  caliesunshine | Aug 12, 2018 |
I purchased this audiobook for my university library's collection because it won Audie Awards in 2010 for Audiobook of the Year and for Multi-Voiced Performance.  I've grown to really like multi-voiced audiobooks, so I figured this audiobook would be a winner all the way around, especially since I was looking for something short before starting a longer book for an upcoming day with six hours of driving.

Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed in this book - mostly because of irritations in the audio quality.  The 22 folktales are read by various celebrities, and some readers are better than others.  A number of them have a very annoying quirk of letting their voices drop to a whisper in some parts and boom out in others, which doesn't always work well in an automobile when road noise competes.  I had the same issue with the musical interludes - while the songs are great for providing a taste of the different musical styles in Africa, some are played at ear-bursting volume. It's also difficult, with the package design, to read the names of some of the narrators and titles of some of the stories, because the listings are in small print and are placed BEHIND the plastic holders for the relevant CDs.

There is a PDF available on the third disc which has a map indicating where each tale originated.  There's also a brief description of each tale and its background, along with an illustration, followed by a section on the authors (which in the case of the traditional literature tales, would be retellers).  The PDF also has the website for the audiobook, which includes extensive biographies of each of the celebrity narrators, as well as some comprehension quizzes, discussion questions, and coloring pages that can be downloaded (since this is supposedly an audiobook for children, although I think it's more appropriate for older children and adults).  A second PDF has track listings, song lyrics (five of the interlude songs are played in full on the last CD), and a helpful glossary, while a third PDF has complete track information.

I was surprised to learn that five additional tales (which apparently are in the print version of this book) are available for download by separate purchase.  At $2.27 each at Audible, I passed.

My gripes aside -  there are some very good stories in this audiobook, and most of the celebrities read them with good emoting.  My favorite was "King Lion's Gifts," a pourquoi tale that explains why certain animals look or sound the way they do.  Never heard of the reader of this tale - Ricardo Chavira - but he was quite good, especially at expressing Lion's aggravation with the other animals.  There are also fables, myths, African versions of classic folktales, literary fairy tales, and a number of trickster stories on the three discs.

The celebrity narrators all donated their time, and the audiobook publisher (Hachette Audio) donated all its profits from its sales to ANSA (Artists for a New South Africa), which in turn donated 20% to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.  So, definitely worth a listen.

© Amanda Pape - 2018

[This audiobook was borrowed from and returned to my university library.] ( )
1 vote riofriotex | Mar 17, 2018 |
This is a collection of folktales read by an astonishing collections of movie stars who all donated their time and talents to create this fundraiser for children in South Africa orphaned and impacted by HIV/AIDS. Since so many African tales include singing and music, this collection does as well. Some of the stories are funny, some are touching, some are wise, and some are just strange. ( )
  Tarawyn | Dec 1, 2017 |
An amazing collection of African Folktales from all over the continent. The book is commissioned by Nelson Mandela with the purpose of keeping Africa's rich cultural traditions alive. The stories are perfect length for a bedtime story. The illustrations are diverse and beautiful, coming from dozens of artists mostly from Africa.
  jet6 | May 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
As Mais Belas Fábulas Africanas é uma óptima surpresa que foi trazida até nós pela Alfaguara. Este é um daqueles livros em que se pode (e deve) deixar levar pela bela e calorosa capa. Ela reflecte na perfeição o conteúdo do livro: trata-se de uma obra que reúne as histórias infantis preferidas de Nelson Mandela, que é, aliás, o autor do prefácio.
«Na verdade, na verdade, nem tudo o que vão ouvir corresponde à realidade.» É assim, diz Mandela, que os contadores de histórias iniciam os seus relatos. (...)

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mandela, NelsonEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tutu, DesmondIntroductionmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, GillianNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bratt, BenjaminNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burton, LeVarNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chavira, RicardoNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cheadle, DonNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Damon, MattNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goldberg, WhoopiNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jackman, HughNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jackson, Samuel L.Narratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johansson, ScarlettNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Messing, DebraNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mirren, HelenNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Okonedo, SophieNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rickman, AlanNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Theron, CharlizeNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Underwood, BlairNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whitaker, ForestNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lazzaro, BiancaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodard, AlfreCollaboratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Information from the Portuguese (Portugal) Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Portuguese (Portugal) Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Acima de tudo, espero que as crianças não percam nunca a capacidade de alargarem os horizontes do mundo em que vivem através da magia das histórias. Nelson Mandela
Para as crianças de África, com amor de Madiba.
First words
Information from the Portuguese (Portugal) Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Last words
Information from the Portuguese (Portugal) Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


A collection of traditional stories from different parts of Africa, featuring varied characters and themes--some familiar, some newer.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Desmond Tutu:
Alan Rickman: The Ring of the King; The Lion, the Hare, and the Hyena
Whoopi Goldberg: Asmodeus and the Bottler of Djinns
Matt Damon: Mpipidi and the Motlopi Tree; The Cloud Princess
Parminder Nagra: Natiki
Forest Whitaker: The Mantis and the Moon
Sean Hayes: How Hlakanyana Outwitted the Monster
Charlize Theron: The Message
Benjamin Bratt: The Wolf Queen
Scarlett Johansson: The Snake Chief
Ricardo Chavira: King Lion's Gifts
Debra Messing:

Words As Sweet As Honey from Sankhambi
LaTanya Richardson Jackson:

Sakunaka, the Handsome Young Man
Hugh Jackman: Wolf and Jackal and the Barrel of Butter
Gillian Anderson: The Guardian of the Pool
CCH Pounder: Sannie Langtand and the Visitor
Blair Underwood: The Sultan's Daughter
LeVar Burton: Van Hunks and the Devil
Samuel L. Jackson: The Clever Snake Charmer
Jurnee Smollett: The Enchanting Song of the Magical Bird
Sophie Okonedo: The Hare and the Tree Spirit
Helen Mirren: The Cat Who Came Indoors; The Mother Who Turned to Dust
Don Cheadle: Spider and the Crows; Fesito Goes to Market
Alfre Woodard: Mmadipetsane
A short audio excerpt from Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales, issued by Audible in celebration of Nelson Mandela's birthday in 2013. It contains the two stories: "The Ring of The King" and "Asmodeus and the Bottler of Djinns".
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (4.06)
2 1
2.5 1
3 9
3.5 2
4 24
4.5 1
5 16

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393052125, 0393329909

Hachette Book Group

An edition of this book was published by Hachette Book Group.

» Publisher information page


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 188,243,903 books! | Top bar: Always visible