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Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales Audiobook

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales

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Audible Editor Reviews

in a unique effort to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Artists for New South Africa, 23 narrators recorded as many African Folktales hand-picked by Mandela for this collection. The narrators — ranging from Samuel L. Jackson to Whoopi Goldberg to Charlize Theron — are notable actors. Half the fun of listening to these tales is trying to guess who's reading. While some voices are more distinctive than others — kudos to Alan Rickman (perhaps best known now for his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series) who uses his pebbly baritone and stop-go cadence to full, dark effect in "The Ring of the King" — all are entertaining. Also listen for "Fesito Goes to the Market", where Don Cheadle enunciates as loudly, clearly, and confidently as the best live storytellers, while giving each character a different attitude with a remarkable range of tones. Helen Mirren, too, gives a standout performance — reaching the point where strength and vulnerability collide — in the epic and bittersweet "The Mother Who Turned to Dust".

The stories themselves are classic morality tales, including kings and children, lions and hyenas, gold and magic. Some of the lessons are straightforward, others more cryptic, but each legend is its own full and colorful world. The stories, which average about 10 minutes each, are perfect for children — not that they're at all childish. The universal themes hit hard; the tales don't always end happily, but they're light and wondrous enough for children, while being deep enough for adults (or kids) who choose to look further. At under four hours, the collection is short, but there's enough here that you'll want to listen over and over again — it's sure to become a favorite bedtime ritual. —Kelly Marages

Publisher's Summary

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales is an audiobook benefiting children orphaned and impacted by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Featured narrators include Gillian Anderson, Benjamin Bratt, LeVar Burton, Ricardo Chavira, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Hayes, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Debra Messing, Helen Mirren, Parminder Nagra, Sophie Okonedo, CCH Pounder, Alan Rickman, Jurnee Smollett, Charlize Theron, Blair Underwood, Forest Whitaker, and Alfre Woodard, with a special message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and original music by South African legends by Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela, directed by Alfre Woodard.

The audiobook was a truly international affair, recorded in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, and Johannesburg. The stories were chosen by the Nobel Laureate himself, from every region of Africa.

Net proceeds will benefit the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Artists for New South Africa, which works in the U.S. and South Africa to combat HIV/AIDS, provide comprehensive assistance to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, advance human rights, educate and empower at-risk youth, and build bonds between both nations. Both organizations are working to address the impact of the AIDS pandemic on children in South Africa.

All the individuals and companies involved in the effort have donated their services to allow a maximum amount of proceeds to benefit the charities. In addition to waiving sales and distribution fees, Hachette Audio will donate 100% of proceeds to ANSA and NMCF, and NB Publishers has waived fees, so additional royalties can benefit NMCF. The audiobook was manufactured by Ivy Hill/Cinram, which is donating a significant portion of their services. The actors, creative director, engineers, graphic designers, attorneys, and recording studios fully donated their services, as did three-time Grammy winner Gavin Lurssen, who mastered the audiobook.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

(P)2009 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"In tales such as these, the dream-like, unpredictable symbology and sometimes cruel morality of myths resonate, and, in Mandela's words, the 'gritty essence of Africa' shines through in stories with universal themes." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (342 )
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4.2 (197 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Penny ALDARA PARK, South Africa 08-13-09
    Penny ALDARA PARK, South Africa 08-13-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    195
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    "Exotic, fun and fascinating"

    When you buy this book, be sure to download the accompanying reference guide and then seek out the 5 extra stories not included in the album. I have no idea why all the stories weren't bundled in together.

    The folk tales make you think, and provide some interesting explanations for why certain things are the way they are.

    The music by Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela adds a great multimedia touch, and the songs can be played separately from their stories as well. The reference guide has a translation of the words of the Zulu songs.

    The extra tracks are:
    Spider and the Crows
    The Lion, the Hare, and the Hyena
    The Cloud Princess
    The Cat Who Came Indoors
    Mmadipetsane

    Thanks to Audible for making this collection available worldwide.

    43 of 44 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Riaz St Lucia, Australia 12-13-11
    Riaz St Lucia, Australia 12-13-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    5
    2
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    "Excellent stories, poor, poor formatting"

    The stories are brilliant, of course. Africa's colourful and moving storytelling traditions are well-represented here.

    The readings are fantastic as well. Whoopi Goldberg, amongst others, brings these stories to life in a way that is hilarious, moving, and entertaining. A great selection of readers!

    My one HUGE gripe is that each story begins at about 10 seconds before the end of each track. Thus when you go to the start of a chapter and press play, it starts about 15 seconds into the story, missing the title of the story, intro music and the first few lines introducing what is going on.

    This makes it VERY HARD to navigate the audiobook, or to skip back and find tracks you liked to share with other people. Epic fail guys! Come on!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandy Wanganui Rd 14New Zealand 08-13-09
    Sandy Wanganui Rd 14New Zealand 08-13-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "South African childhood"

    For anyone who grew up in South Africa, this takes you right back! Would have like some African voices to have read it out though...Good stories for your children if you have emmigrated from SA....

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 07-30-11
    Sher from Provo Utah 07-30-11 Member Since 2015

    Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Good Listen"

    I enjoyed listening to these little stories. They were made more endearing by the fact that Nelson Mandela picked them out from among his favorites. The narrators were well chosen and did a truly great job. The music, accents, the whole direction of these stories came together to set an enjoyable ambiance. It has a delicious African flavor, and teaches some good lessons in the mean time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deshanta Sandton, South Africa 12-20-11
    Deshanta Sandton, South Africa 12-20-11

    A lover of books, technology, music, earthiness, food and great conversations. I make light work of social media marketing and SEM.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Magical for children and adults alike"
    What made the experience of listening to Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales the most enjoyable?

    The tales of famous African folklore was brought to life by the actors and actresses that took part in the narration. It was awesome to listen to these stories as if each and every Holloywood narrator were reading it to me and only me at bedtime.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The variety of folk tales that span the entire African continent and not just South Africa.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Alan Rickman's and Whoopi Goldberg's narration stood out for me.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Redwood City, CA, United States 09-01-11
    Amazon Customer Redwood City, CA, United States 09-01-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Uplifting and fun"

    This compilation is great to listen to in the car. There are different voices, male and famale, African and not, and tales ranging from quick and Aesop-like to longer, from Table Mountain to north African stories. Each carries a rhythm of Africa and occasionally a song embedded.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 06-22-12
    Rebecca 06-22-12 Member Since 2009

    Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great performances in storytelling"

    This was a very fun audiobook and is more performance than narration. Each story was narrated by a different person, many of them well known actors and actresses. There was lots of African music woven in which added to the whole experience.

    I'd recommend to everybody. This would be a great way to fill up a few hours on a road trip.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Hebner 05-11-16
    Anna Hebner 05-11-16
    ratings
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    8
    2
    Overall
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    "Stories interesting but inconsistent"

    Some stories were better than others, but I enjoyed the variety and the fact that they were different, in various ways, from American children's stories. If you are really looking for folk tales, be warned that some of these are definitely modern stories. The performances range from good to excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri Henry 01-10-15
    Terri Henry 01-10-15

    Onelove Livity

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    6
    Overall
    "My 5 and 6 year old love these stories"

    Interesting and unusual stories that have my children captivated. The music in between the stories adds so much, I love to dance to it and and my daughter loves to sing with them!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Salem, OR, United States 10-28-13
    john Salem, OR, United States 10-28-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Wonderful short stories, great reading."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales to be better than the print version?

    The readers as one would think are outstanding, try to guess who since it is not announced!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales?

    The generosity of the Sultan's son and his reward.

    The generosity of the young boy going to market and his success.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Seen their movies. All Pros!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Feel good, it is intended as a children's book but I would recommend it to adults, especially those with children and grandchildren.


    Any additional comments?

    I may have to get this on Kindle for my wife and/or granddaughter. They will have to miss out on the super audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • N. Bowring
    Sussex
    11/6/12
    Overall
    "Pleasing"

    Delightful tales well narrated by various actors. I would have given it a 5 star rating if some of the actors had bothered to learn the pronunciations of African nouns. And it would have been interesting if we'd been told who was reading what.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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