Aschenputtel und Eulenspiegel in Afrika

ISBN 978-3-927620-77-3

Aschenputtel und Eulenspiegel in Afrika

Entlehntes Erzählgut der Nama und Damara in Namibia

Author: Sigrid Schmidt.

Series: Afrika erzählt Volume 1

255 pp.
32 narratives comparisons of motives and interpretations
Text language(s): German
€ 29.80

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The main part of this volume contains 32 fairy tales of the Nama and Damara people in Namibia which were recorded in Africa and translated into German by the author. Hardly any of these fairy tales have their origin among these ethnic groups but they are rather European-Asian narrations which through the migration of individuals and whole groups of people have been making their way north from the Cape region since the 19th century. At first sight they might seem European, but at the closer look one realizes that they have adapted African ways of thinking.

What is so fascinating about these fairy tales is the creative freedom of the narrators. The plot has been transposed to a contemporary setting. If, for instance, the hero marries the princess of riddles, the festivities remind us of the kind of village wedding we would see nowadays: the cars blow their horns, and the firing of salutes peals through the air. All of this gives the fairy tales something of a very powerful and lively performance.

The other parts of the book give information about the narrators, about the circulation of the tales in Southern Africa and explain the elements of each fairy tale. Furthermore, the author discusses in detail the phenomenon of borrowing and the transformation of originally European-Asian fairy tales into African ones.

In her Catalogue of the Khoisan Folktales of Southern Africa, re-edited in 2013, Sigrid Schmidt lists all tales which were told by Khoisan people and said to have been learned orally. The catalogue consists of two volumes that can be ordered separately or together, see the following links:

Accompanying material:


Mit ihrem Buch leistet Sigrid Schmidt einen wertvollen Beitrag zur Erhaltung und Erforschung der afrikanischen Oralliteratur. Bei der Wiedergabe der Erzählungen ist es der Verfasserin gelungen, den Märchen ihren natürlichen Reiz zu belassen; sie spricht somit nicht den Erzählforscher, sondern auch einen Leserkreis an, der sich die unmittelbare Freude am Märchen erhalten hat.

Sabine Dinslage in Fabula, 3/4, 1992, 365f.

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