Part 2- An audio book review of Nelson Mandela’s Favourite African Folktales

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post on a review of Nelson Mandela’s Favourite African Folktales.

Gillian Anderson is one of the star-studded cast that lent their vocal talents to this audio book. Anderson’s voice is almost regal-like as she reads The Guardian of the Pool.

A Cinderella-like tale called Natiki was read by British actress Parminder Nagra. I’m such a big fan of the ER and Bend It Like Beckham star but why, oh, why didn’t anyone coach this poor woman on the pronunciation of some of the words? (Ms. Nagra, “veld” is pronounced “felt”, FYI). On a more comical note, I found CCH Pounder’s pronunciation of Sannie Langtand in Sannie Langtand and the Visitor quite funny and couldn’t help chuckling (it’s pronounced Sunny Lung-tunt, not Sanny Lang-tan 😀 ).

Other famous names were more professional in their efforts although I was quite surprised at how boring some celebrity voices could be! Fellow South African Charlize Theron nearly put me off to sleep with her reading of The Message. I think she should stick to working on-screen.

Hugh Jackman on the other hand, seemed slightly confused when reading Wolf and Jackal and the Barrel of Butter. It was like he couldn’t make up his mind whether to use his natural Australian accent or adopt a British one. His voice oscillated between Aussie and English which I found quite distracting and as a result I didn’t enjoy what seemed like an exciting story.

I know it sounds like I’m whinging but I do have some words of praise left for Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo and LaTanya Richardson Jackson.

I enjoyed Cheadle’s reading of Fesito goes to Market and British actress Okonedo put a lot of effort for The Hare and Tree Spirit. She has a powerful voice and the accents she employed have to be commended. I was also impressed with Samuel L. Jackson’s wife LaTanya Richardson’s animated telling of Sakunaka, the Handsome Young Man. She has incredible energy and she really brought the story to life.

One of the best things about this audio book, for me personally, was the music. Vusi Mahlasela and Johnny Clegg both provided the music, the background sounds and songs for the stories. I was so enamoured with Mahlasela’s song on Mpipidi and Motlopi Tree (read by Matt Damon) and the fact that he wrote and composed it himself, impressed me even more.

I forgot to mention in the first post that the first track on the collection is an opening message by the Archbishop of Awesomeness Emeritus Desmond Tutu. It’s a short message, so I thought I’d end this audiobook review by reproducing his message here:

May we always remember that we are part of one human family. We are all God’s children. We can build a world where each boy and girl has a safe place to live, enough food to eat and enough clothes to wear. You were made to be something wonderful. May you discover all the good that lies within you. May God bless you.

Remember that a good percentage of the purchase of this audio book goes to the Nelson Mandela’s Childrens’ Fund, helping to empower children and communities affected by HIV/Aids so if you would like to get yourself a copy and help a good cause you can go to

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