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Storytelling in Northern Zambia

Robert Cancel

VII. Conclusions: Lessons from Frozen Moments

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1A fieldworker cannot but take events out of context and people out of their lives. The injustice of shaping other people’s lives around a research budget and university calendar is only vaguely implied in this short discussion. Zambians are not monolingual, nor do they have to fit into the neat categories that the researcher needs to think with, in order to turn noise into signal. Whether one is rural or urban, localist or cosmopolitan, one is always creating meaning. This involves the endoginisation of foreign culture and the modification of existing order. That is why Zambian English, or Catholicism, football, rock music or the family are different from the ideal types. (Sichone 2001, p. 377)

2The slippage between immediate and non-immediate subjectivities is particularly striking in storytelling. Every story is Janus-faced: while one aspect is turned outward toward a world that is shared, another is turned inward, answering more immediate individual needs. Indeed, stories reconcile and make ‘ego-sytonic’… the multiple and frequently discrepant truths that every society, as well as every individual, contains within it. So too with myths. Though said to be primordial and immutable, every recitation of the myth shows evidence of present concerns and changing circumstances. (Jackson 2006, p. 294)

3The most significant dimension of the preceding chapters is the strong emphasis on contextualization of performance events and acknowledging the relative paucity of data that was arrayed in this effort. I have focused, no doubt ad nauseum, on the main sources of information in what was mostly a set of brief encounters as consisting of the video record, field notes, published scholarship, consultation with Zambian scholars and a brief return to most of the recording sites. Moreover, the interdisciplinary nature of this study has kept it from comfortably alighting onto one or another clearly established scholarly field. I want to frame these concluding remarks with the notion of “capture” when it applies to a scholar and the people he or she studies, a reiteration of my concerns about the inherent complexity of these efforts, and a summary of overlapping themes in the tales that suggests there are many commonalities between these societies when it comes to their narrative-performance practices. In this latter regard, I focus on the contributions of the performers represented here and identify some stable elements of the oral tradition as they were utilized and embodied by individuals.

  • 192 Sichone 2006, pp. 375–376 gives a brief but significant explanation of the Bemba term ukuikusha, w (...)
  • 193 The notion of “capture” is complicated by many factors. Most commonly, it means the simple buildin (...)

4In 1988–89, as now, there was a long standing legacy of colonial rule and its numerous structures. By this, I do not mean to imply that the legacy of struggle and awareness of the oppressive realities of colonialism still predominate in Zambia. I think the details and themes of that struggle are in many ways seen as information in history books or part of the national mythology by many young Zambians, the majority today being under thirty years old. Concerns of current and recent governments and policies, of immediate economic conditions and opportunities, are foremost in contemporary media such as newspapers, broadcasting and popular culture. However, among many colonial conditions that flowed into the independence era and still persist was the complicated relationship of people moving to and from urban areas and the various networks of family and economics that inevitably kept many of them linked to rural areas. The network includes crucial concerns such as rural land ownership, or allocation, and fealty to extended family, clan and kingship entities— which is another way to frame the concept of ethnicity. So even my basic effort to record and compare the oral narrative performances of five “ethnic groups” is by its nature open to contestation and debate as to what actual differences exist among these people. As stated earlier, for some people ethnic assertion has undergone shifting periods of relevance and action during and after colonial rule. Moreover, the cases of men, not commonly women, who worked in cities and returned to homes in rural areas, are not particularly uniform in how they were able to either maintain or restart the links to family and land that would make for a smooth return.192 In 1988–89 some of the elders I recorded had substantial cosmopolitan experience and had put in enough employment time to earn adequate retirement benefits, as opposed to the conditions of the post-liberalization era of Zambia’s economy that took place a few years later. While these men were comfortable with my presence and project, there still existed among many a distrust of European strangers, both as a legacy of colonial rule and the post-independence visits of foreign researchers, aid workers and commercial representatives. This was compounded by various levels of distrust of the national government, as difficult economic times and the death throes of the one-party state were being played out. Without living in an area long enough for people to feel comfortable with my presence, in order to establish interactions that in some ways suggested my willingness to be captured by local interests, four of the five groups I recorded maintained a distance that was often difficult to bridge.193

  • 194 Kashoki’s work on “town Bemba” (1972) is but a single example of the ways the language adapts, gro (...)

5Another critical dimension of complexity in accurately presenting and interpreting these performances is the language of storytelling itself. Some of the significant differences between the five groups whose performances are documented above reside in local usage of what is a widespread Bemba language, rife with dialects and tropes that at times differ dramatically in their application or usage.194 Moreover, the traditional context may be part of the repertoires of all these groups, but tales and their constituent elements accrue varied local meanings the more they are told, repeated, altered and discussed. When proverbs, songs, praises and other examples of deeper levels of the language are employed, the complexity involved in understanding or interpreting increases. As long as I’ve worked with oral traditions in general, and with these performances in particular, I have been uncomfortable definitively interpreting a story’s meaning, while also acknowledging the many compromises necessitated in the translation of Bemba-related languages into English. When it comes to language as the center of interpretation of storytelling, the inclusion in this study of an audio-visual record reveals the absolute necessity of examining the extra-linguistic performance elements of physical and contextual dimensions. This certainly expands the field of possible data originally imagined in any kind of “ethnography of communication.” When we add the consideration of formal aesthetics of composition to the mix—elements of repetition, shaping and detailing of images and recurring motifs, genres, etc. — we only raise the level of complexity in this enterprise.

  • 195 Responding to this specific incident in the Bemba performance session, Stuart Marks provided a lis (...)

6The content and themes of the narratives and songs collected herein range from relatively clear and obvious to rather esoteric to veiled and mysterious, at least as far as my efforts are concerned. How particular characters, actions or images are rendered in a single performance relies strongly on what came before in the experience of a storyteller and his or her audience. Intertextuality and genre are key elements here, but there is also a degree of depth of meaning that resides at the core of the traditional context, the place where ordinary tale or song meets deeper structures and meanings of mythology and didacticism. These deeper structures go beyond the storytelling activities to tie in to social practice and even more esoteric discursive and physical manifestations in the areas of hunting, farming, fishing, rites of passage, healing, and defensive or aggressive assertions of power in the spectrum that constitutes traditional religious beliefs as well as Christian beliefs. Many of these socio-cultural dimensions have been represented in the performances in this collection. While we can fairly easily discern some of these themes in the tales examined, the actual associations made by audiences to the more allusive levels of performances remain difficult to ascertain. For example, when the group of elders at Malole is making small talk while a performer tries to get over a coughing spell, they jokingly compare the coughs to the sounds made by both the roan antelope and the bushbuck. A rather deep form of rural knowledge is being casually exhibited here that has ties to hunting and other important activities.195

  • 196 See A. F. Roberts 1997.
  • 197 Jackson notes that “myths frequently become fragmented and pared down in the course of migration, (...)
  • 198 We could add to Turner’s “Forest” (1967) and Lévi-Strauss’s “Mythologiques” volumes (1969, for exa (...)

7If these elders share what seems a common knowledge, does the same knowledge exist for younger performers and audiences or performers with little direct experience of this side of rural life? Do the animals portrayed in tales carry realistic connotations for all audiences or are these associations linked in a deeper web of knowledge that might be tied to origins of the tales and relationships that define particular societies? Can these be seen as symbolic representations, in action and characters, of crucial religious beliefs that make for both individual and social definitions? Are, as A. F. Roberts puts it when referring, at least in part, to elements of Tabwa myths in the DRC, “animals good to think with”?196 Every narrative has roots not only in other tales but in an aesthetic and representational system.197 It is tempting for scholars to piece together these numerous tales in relational ways, revealing, or some might argue constructing, these complex systems of thought and representation; finding one’s way through what Turner called a “forest of symbols”, as Lévi-Strauss did for the Americas and de Heusch did for Central Africa.198 As we consider the numerous narratives in this project, some small sense of these links will emerge, but in so many ways the ultimate analysis of the discourses recorded in these performances requires much more data and a particularly strong knowledge of the local cultures. Assertive interpretations based on incomplete or superficial data only risk instances of essentialism.

8Moreover, story performance, myth and the wider verbal arts are only part of larger signifying or meaning-making systems found in these societies. Among those systems are plastic arts, religion, architecture, medicine, and economic practices such as fishing, farming and hunting and elements of urban and cosmopolitan labor. These interpretive efforts should ideally be carried out by Zambian scholars and their local collaborators.

9The subtitle of this study, “theory, method, practice and other necessary fictions,” is intentionally ironic in that it expresses the need for scholarly frames of reference while also noting their inevitably provisional nature.

10So we choose our discourses of and approaches to collection and analysis in specific terms and note their inadequacies and the often tenuous nature of this endeavor. When working with the performance events, we again acknowledge that most of what can be gleaned is what the storytellers at those moments chose to share with the camera and their audiences.

11How much of this was a way to engage or capture me as researcher/ chronicler and how much was basically a way of appeasing my requests by expending the least amount of energy and creativity possible is something we can carefully examine but only, in the end, speculate about. However, as in all fieldwork, patterns and themes do emerge and elements of the performances and performers exhibit similarities and differences that are instructive. We can then begin the summation of this project by considering these patterns and what they mean when it comes to the efforts to capture, versus the desire to simply appease, the researcher in performance.

12Like Jackson, I have tended in this study to “emphasise storytelling over stories—the social process rather than the product of narrative activity” (2006, p. 18). I have also, however, kept the tales themselves in close focus, since these are indeed the products created by the storytellers. Looking at the contexts of performance, I’ve been raising the question of how the individual performs the self in public, making as Arendt says “the private public.” (1958)

13This concept, too, is complicated by what Jackson calls an “existential imperative” (2006, p. 30) for individuals to feel empowered by transforming their worlds through performance, if even in small personal ways. For me, this means not only constructing and performing narratives to share with others but also choosing not to tell stories at all, or refusing to interpret or explain the stories that are told. This is a broad range of responses to my simple request for tales. It applies to my attempts to glean ideas and assertions from performers and their willingness to either provide the material or resist the request.

14Performance can obviously take many forms in any culture and even when narrowed down to storytelling the activity is a complex one. Schechner rightly asserts that “[b]ecause performances are usually subjective, liminal, dangerous, and duplicitous they are often hedged in with conventions and frames: ways of making the places, the participants, and the events somewhat safe.” (2003, p. xix) Each context of narrative-performance is different and exhibits varying manifestations of risk or uncertainty. Indeed, skilled storytellers can employ these conditions to their own ends, shaping tales that touch their audiences in different ways, to elicit various effects.

15This is why any consideration of narratives and their performers need to frame the context of their transmission. There is not only a thematic focus for most tales but also a desired impression or interaction that performers strive for while working with what is both familiar and uncertain during any instance of storytelling.

16Stanley Kalumba, in the Tabwa region, more than once tried to explain the meaning of tales or their components to me. He understood that my project was in part the preservation of narratives and their meanings and he felt this to be an important endeavor. While his efforts were not always successful, his intention was to bring me and by extension my readers to a clearer vision of the culture. Similarly, the Bemba elders who gathered at Fele’s home in Malole felt there were certain themes that needed to be explored, shared and preserved in the tales and ruminations they provided me and my recording equipment. When the current Chief Puta saw that the history narrated by his predecessor was somehow inaccurate, meaning that it did not conform to his vision of the Bwile past, he first had his advisors present a more detailed, nuanced version of a segment of the account, then he too provided an even sharper focus on what needed emphasis. Moreover, while the Lunda storyteller Moffat Mulenga sped through his stories about Kalulu, his neighbor Idon Pandwe performed detailed narratives that were thematically clear and interspersed with English words or phrases to both reach a wider audience and demonstrate his own competence in that language. These are all instances where performers sought to capture me, or rather my recording and interpretive efforts, for their own purposes. Since these assertions also involved engaging audiences of their peers, their use of storytelling techniques and the vital interactions that constitute living performance made the narrators’ creative visions a shared experience. Moreover, common themes, story content and performance styles suggested many cultural similarities across all five ethnic groups.

17In the highly charged environment of Nabwalya, Bisa narrators at the most public of my recording sessions in that village tended to keep their stories brief and, at times, cryptic. Even though both a researcher of long-standing in the community and a local resident had supported or sanctioned my efforts, the general distrust of strangers and the specific reaction to a recent visit by government game-enforcement personnel mitigated against open or unfettered cooperation with me. The propensity of performers to simply get up and leave when they finished suggested a grudging willingness to supply cultural material as well as an overall disinterest in providing depth or interpretation of their stories. Only one performer, Lenox Paimolo, seemed interested in clearly emphasizing a theme or point of view, and this had to do with the efficacy of farming as an economic endeavor over hunting or simple wealth. He made his thematic points through the vehicle of a conundrum story, where three suitors for a beautiful woman would be compared and only one found to be worthy. It is further notable that Mr. Paimolo chose to emphasize this theme on the occasion of what was meant to be the harvesting of a sorghum crop by a group of neighbors. While the other narratives, indeed, had identifiable themes, none were explained at the end of the performances. In contrast, under very different recording conditions, Laudon Ndalazi in fact challenges his very small audience of three or four people to work out the puzzles he’d set. His obvious goal was to reveal his own mastery of the ideas and details that shaped the narratives’ themes. It may well be, as was the case with both Idon Pandwe and Stanley Kalumba, that Mr. Ndalazi’s experience working in an urban area led him to interact with me in familiar and proactive ways that encouraged recording and sharing with a wider reading or viewing audience.

  • 199 Mills 2001 makes a convincing point that misogyny in stories told by men is not necessarily a fixe (...)

18If gendered difference was minimized by the group of Bemba elders who seemed to work easily and cooperatively in developing certain common themes, this was not the case in several sessions among the Bisa and Bwile. At least three or more tales told by Bisa men warned about the disruptive and selfish nature of women. Laudon Ndalazi described an evil hunchbacked old woman who directed her resentment at a father and son. George Iyambe told of a greedy wife who put her husband’s life in jeopardy by demanding the skin of a lion to make a sling to carry their baby. The dead husband’s nephew both laments and accuses in his song lyric, “The Bisa woman, yes. See what’s happened. See what’s happened. One ends in the cruel jaws.” Kabuswe C. Nabwalya warns that “A woman does not keep secrets.” Among the all-male group of Bwile storytellers, Fermit Ndita depicted an ungrateful woman who, after being saved by her brother, instructs her serpent husband to kill his in-law, while her half-human son acts to save his uncle. Timothy Kachela, and his audience, show little compassion for the woman who miraculously conceived her daughter from a pot of beeswax, humorously supporting the son-in-law’s breaking of a marital agreement and having his new wife inexorably melt into a puddle of wax. While only one of these tales was performed before a mixed audience of men and women, at least one cluster of themes in the traditional contexts of these locales and sessions clearly took a misogynistic stance.199

19If polygamy is at one angle seen as an imposition of patriarchy, then the Bemba tale performed by Elizabeth, of the jealous co-wives that cause their family’s destruction, and Luva Kombe’s Lunda story of the aggressive and destructive young woman who hounds her elder co-wife into the grave and beyond can be seen as questioning this cultural practice. Moreover, if polygamy itself is less the target than the ways in which the ideal can go unrealized in actuality, the performers are laying out their cases for not only their immediate audiences but especially for the camera of a visiting stranger who, although a man, is in many ways exempt from the local strictures between men and women. The narratives are complementary, told from the inverted viewpoints sympathetic to younger and older co-wives, respectively. In the case of Elizabeth, her performance was in front of a group of women, Mr. Dismas Kampamba, and me. Her theme centered on the jealousy or pettiness of the two wives who, at least by the order they were presented, seemed to be seniors of the third, Mweo, or “Life”. Women in the audience guided Elizabeth’s efforts by telling her to speak up. In this atmosphere, she emphasized the importance of a co-operative and supportive household in ensuring a successful family atmosphere, where disharmony literally leads to death. With women in the majority at this performance, showing their cooperation by singing along to the narrative’s main song, Elizabeth found a receptive audience. In contrast, Luva Kombe stepped into what had been a male-dominated session in order to assert her presence and shape her narrative themes. When she initially falters in her presentation and some audience members respond by laughing at her efforts, other women supportively intercede to demand they cease and give Ms. Kombe a chance. Her thematic emphasis is again the pettiness and jealousy that can poison a polygamous household, but this time the target is a younger co-wife who baits and challenges her elder. In the face of a large audience, with men and women of all ages present, Luva Kombe overcame what would have been a natural stage fright to present her story and make her thematic points.

20Themes of generational conflict emerge from several narrative performances, on both sides of the divide. The Tabwa storyteller Chipioka Patrick makes a detailed and amusing case for the efficacy of youth in the adventures of his protagonist Biti Mupalume. The point-of-view of the balumendo in local and related societies is clearly set out and manages to destabilize the overall rule of elders and tradition in the face of youthful assertion. The Lunda performer Fermit Ndita portrays a youthful serpent-nephew who turns aside the treachery of his mother and father in order to both save his uncle and bring a new order to his society. On the other side of the equation, among the Lunda, Idon Pandwe depicts the foolhardy chief who mandates the killing of all elders in his jurisdiction, then has to cope with trying to unwind a deadly snake from his neck. He is saved only by the wisdom of the old man who has been hidden by his son. Stitching together a series of narratives and discussions, a group of Bemba elders lament the loss of the authority of parents over the younger generation. One tale focuses on the doomed young roan antelope who “lacks ears” when it comes to his father’s advice. Another oration decries the many instances of young women bearing children out of wedlock or simply rejecting the wisdom of tradition wholesale in favor of embracing a kind of shallow modernity. Each of these performances makes an effective case for the generational stance they favor.

21The figure of Kalulu, the trickster hare, emerged in performances among four of the five groups recorded. While a deeper consideration of what the trickster is and does in this culture region would be the subject of a full length study, it is worth noting how he is deployed in some of the performances presented above. There are three versions of the tale that depicts Kalulu first fooling Lion into making him a bark cloth garment then placing the blame on Bushbuck, resulting in the antelope’s death. The core details of the narrative are consistent in all three stories, but the degree of detailing, repetition of interactions, specifics of events, and explanatory comments vary enough to reveal the efforts to shape individual visions by the performers, Stanley Kalumba and Idon Pandwe. Thematically, while each version had a slightly different shading, Kalulu’s dual propensities, to bring down and deceive the arrogant and powerful as well as take advantage of the dimwitted and innocent, come across quite clearly. In these tales he shows absolutely no distinction between the weak and powerful as targets he chooses to exploit for his own gains. This situation can be contrasted with two versions of a narrative where Kalulu simply takes advantage of two of the most powerful animals in his world, Elephant and Hippopotamus, as performed by the Lungu storyteller Moffat Mulenga and by Paul Chandalube among the Bisa. By challenging them to a tug-of-war, Kalulu exemplifies a core trickster trait, using the power and arrogance of his adversaries against them, as cleverness trumps brute strength.

22In two other stories, by Moffat Mulenga and the Bemba performer Henry Chakobe, Kalulu first succeeds in fooling his targeted dupes, but then is eventually found out and either forced to leave the community to “wander aimlessly” or actually dies as a result of his trickery. After Kalulu tricks his fellow animals into killing their own mothers, he hides his in a cave, where she regularly provides him with large meals, until Tortoise uncovers his deception and reveals it to the others. Hare is consequently driven from his habitat. In Henry Chakobe’s narrative, Kalulu first succeeds in fooling his usual dupe Bushbuck into climbing a tree and throwing down delicious fruit. The tables are turned, however, when the antelope finally acts on his suspicions and steals the hare’s skin, causing him to painfully dry to death. Finally, the trickster plays two similar roles, one central and the other peripheral, when he treats themes of obvious social concern. In Idon Pandwe’s story of how Kalulu fools his in-laws into sharing the ground nuts he’d helped them grow through traditional marriage obligations, there is an exploration of the potential for abuse involved in an important social duty. Bemba performer Peter Mutale told the story of the young roan antelope who ignored his parents’ warning and was eaten by lions. Here, in a rather minor role, Kalulu performs the task of physically cutting off the roan’s ears to demonstrate how he’d refused to heed the good advice of his elders.

  • 200 These studies are numerous but certainly Radin 1956, including the essays by Jung and Kerenyi is a (...)

23In these and other performances, Kalulu plays varied but well known roles. As is the case with many tricksters, his reputation precedes him and makes for certain expectations among audiences. Moreover, and this is a particularly important characteristic in this region, the trickster is not only protean by nature, that is he can take on disguises or any number of personalities in his deceptive repertoire, but he also plays a versatile role in the thematic shaping of tales. He is useful beyond his obvious humorous and entertaining side because of the many ways he can intervene in a narrative as at times a source of social disruption and shaking up the system and, at other times, a moral guide or restorer of order when harmony has been fractured by other characters. When considering whether a universal definition or application of the figure of trickster is possible or desirable, Beidelman provocatively suggests that, “we abandon the term and renew analysis from the concerns manifest within each particular society considered.” (1980, p. 38) I raise the point, in this context, to note that the Kalulu figure among these Bemba-speaking groups does not at all times exemplify certain trickster characteristics mandated by earlier studies.200

24Finally, the notion of capture is inextricably tied to the notion of power as it relates to the interactions and relationships between researchers and their subjects. In this respect, though specific details and perspectives will surely vary, in the long run these conditions prevail for both foreign and local researchers. Capture, if we are doing what we should be doing, is inevitable. The real question is the degree of “capture” and how we continually negotiate these relationships. We have to educate ourselves in the local politics and dynamics that mark virtually everything we do in the field. Where do our associates and friends fit into the overall social network of the places where we work?

25Is it possible to balance these associations with other relationships, so that we maintain an overall balance of how we are seen locally? If we keep too much of an “objective distance” from the people we work with, there is a danger of never establishing trust and reciprocal relationships.

26If we allow our ties to become too strong, we develop obligations that approach those of actual family members. In some cases the former works best and in others the latter could be advantageous to our collection efforts. There is also the very familiar case of finding a degree of security and satisfaction in the close ties that indeed link us to certain friends and their families.

27In the end, the process comes down to a matter of professional and personal integrity, when it applies to both collecting and representing these verbal arts. There is first the responsibility of carefully explaining our intentions to the people we ask to contribute to our projects. Second is the question of intellectual property and how we can best uphold these performer’s rights while also disseminating their efforts in our writing.

28While it is the rare scholarly monograph that actually spurs financial gains for its author, in the instances when this actually happens, there is a clear responsibility to somehow share these profits with the artists who feature in these texts. As in most social interactions, we build relationships of obligation and reciprocity and these links remain an ongoing responsibility to be maintained and honored at least on some basic human and humanistic level. In a larger frame, researchers develop relationships with their host institutions and their host nations, and these also comprise an ongoing set of interactions and negotiations. In sum, “capture” works both ways and must inevitably figure in the fundamental equations of our research and scholarship.


192 Sichone 2006, pp. 375–376 gives a brief but significant explanation of the Bemba term ukuikusha, which is negatively applied by neighbors to some returning urban workers who, in their estimation, exhibit arrogant or inappropriately ambitious behavior. In the post-1990 era of structural adjustment and economic liberalization of the Zambian economy, urban/rural migration has taken on even more complexity and urgency, as noted in quantitative detail by Mulenga and van Campenhout 2008.

193 The notion of “capture” is complicated by many factors. Most commonly, it means the simple building of relationships and obligations between researcher and local residents that leads to mutual favors. In some cases this results in real and long-lasting friendships. The classic local contribution of some researchers is simply possession of a vehicle and the provision of transportation of neighbors and/or their goods. Similarly, access to hard-to-find goods and the ability to purchase and give them as gifts or compensation is another way that researchers establish themselves within a community. Even these simple material interactions are complicated by who develops ties to the researcher and how others see this access. A thornier situation can emerge when the researcher writes up his or her findings and how he or she portrays the host community.

194 Kashoki’s work on “town Bemba” (1972) is but a single example of the ways the language adapts, grows and contracts in the living environment. See also Spitulnik 1998.

195 Responding to this specific incident in the Bemba performance session, Stuart Marks provided a list of animals and their traits that he’d elicited over his many years studying Bisa cultural and hunting practices. (personal communication)

196 See A. F. Roberts 1997.

197 Jackson notes that “myths frequently become fragmented and pared down in the course of migration, surviving only as folktales, with their original cosmological, metaphysical and natural oppositions reduced to parochial homilies.” (2006, p. 197) While I do not believe that there is such a facile relationship between the genres of myth and folktale, his point about the depth of meaning and allusive potential of performed narratives is valuable.

198 We could add to Turner’s “Forest” (1967) and Lévi-Strauss’s “Mythologiques” volumes (1969, for example), and de Heusch’s (1982) work, the earlier efforts of Griaule to piece together Dogon cosmology in the words and tales of Ogotemmeli (1965).

199 Mills 2001 makes a convincing point that misogyny in stories told by men is not necessarily a fixed attitude or stance, showing the example of the same performer taking inverted views of women’s agency and intentions in two different performances.

200 These studies are numerous but certainly Radin 1956, including the essays by Jung and Kerenyi is a highly influential study. Babcock-Abrahams 1975 contributed a broadly referenced and detailed consideration of these multifaceted figures in many cultures before turning specifically to the Winnebago’s trickster, Wakdjunkaga. Pelton’s (1980) specifically African purview is salient because he clearly focuses on “divine” tricksters that exist in some kind of mythology or cosmology, often seen as a “gods” themselves, and this contrasts with the mostly secular and “realistic” nature of eastern and southern African figures such as Kalulu or Sungura. For an interesting rethinking of a character that scholars have historically considered to be a trickster figure, see Wessels 2008 on the /Xam mythological being /Kaggen, the Mantis.


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