Mpoto Fables and Folktales (N.14, Tanzania)

Mpoto Fables and Folktales (N.14, Tanzania)

Mpoto Fables and Folktales (N.14, Tanzania)

ISBN 978-3-89645-738-7

Mpoto Fables and Folktales (N.14, Tanzania)

Author: Margaret P. Mwingira, Robert Botne. Series edited by: Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig †.

Series: WK Verbal Art and Documentary Literature in African Languages Volume 38

8 pp. Roman, 121 pp.
Text language(s): English
Format: 160 x 240 mm
270 g
€ 34.80

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The Mpoto people are located along the coastal area of Lake Nyasa in the Ruvuma Region, Mbinga District, of southwestern Tanzania. Neighbours include the Manda to the north and Matengo to the east. The language is classified as Niger-Congo > Atlantic-Congo > Volta-Congo > Benue-Congo > Bantoid > Southern > Narrow Bantu > Central > North > Manda (Guthrie code N.14). The population is relatively small, estimated at about 88,000, according to data of the Joshua Project (2018): guages/mpa.

The WaMpoto derive their name from the name Mpoto which inter­preted means “north”. This group is a branch of the Matengo which during the Ngoni invasion settled on the hills to the north of Songea. Their language is very close to that of the Matengo, perhaps due to their common origin. They lived in villages which were headed by chiefs (jumbes). During colonial times, these chiefs were appointed by the government. Farming is their main way of life, especially subsistence farming. They, too, had a communal social set up. Work was done communally.

In former times, they worshipped spirits especially on gravesites. They were opposed to Christianity due to their entrenchment in this kind of worship. There are a few who still do it today though not openly. Present Christianity is nominal with the majority being Roman Catholics.

This volume presents fables and folktales as related by the co-author and members of her family, who range in age from early 30s to late 70s. Each tale is analyzed and glossed linguistically in order for readers to have the opportunity to compare the broad translation with the specific words used in the text. ChiMpoto is a stress accent language for the most part, so accent is not marked. Audio material of the language is offered by the authors on the webpages of their university:

Under these links you will find descriptions of further smaller or endangered Bantu languages in Tanzania, as well as text editions of African verbal art:

Accompanying material:


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