Keen to get hold of a copy, I sent them an email. A few days later a message came back from translator and company founder Richard Bartlett. He was a big fan of Mozambican literature, but the only writer he could think of whose work was available in English was… Mia Couto. A cursory internet search told me that this Khosa fellow was really rather a big cheese in Mozambican literary circles.

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Additional Information In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: I When they arrived at one of the foothills closest to the village, the warriors sighed with relief on seeing the houses spread out among the trees with centuries-old roots,immersed in a deep silence,typical of that time of day when the sun had majestically passed the halfway point in the cloudless sky, flinging rays that burned the faces, the backs, and the naked chests of the warriors, covered from waist to upper thigh with wild-animal skins.

Ualalapi,at the head of the warriors,looked over the whole village and thought of the doro, the name given to the pombe beer prepared in these lands of the Mundau people.

He thought of how it would flow down his gullet, with a nice piece of meat, in the shade of a leafy tree, with his wife in front of him stirring up the fire and his son playing, as night was beckoning calmly, bringing with it a waning moon and, in the distance, voices of other men talking into the Ualalapi For Judite Gettessemane U Ngungunhane! Uya ngungunya e bafazi ne madoda! You are Ngungunhane! You will terrorize women and men! Anonymous, nineteenth century 8 Ualalapi evening, roaming across the worlds of Nguni bravery from times of war and peace.

He smiled at the warriors accompanying him, laden with fresh meat, the product of a hunt carried out in the interior lands; and he began the descent along a winding path, indifferent to the insistent scratching of the tall bushes that grew on the edges of the path,when, halfway down,he stopped in his tracks,forcing the others to stop and come closer, gathering around him. Two pangolins, animals of bad omen, shone in the sun in an attitude of complete drowsiness, in the middle of the pathway.

Ualalapi looked askance at the warriors who surrounded him and saw the same bright, tremulous, clear, and vacant look in their eyes. He touched the fresh meat, a sign of abundance and good fortune, and cast his eyes upon the pangolins, animals of bad omen, as has already been said. And all of them, as if frozen in stone by the inauspicious scene, remained in the same position, feeling the sun beating down on their bodies and the bushes throwing their most daring branches,bent back by contact with the bodies,for several long minutes, until the pangolins recovered their strength and moved off the pathway, leaving it free for the men to pass and for the thoughts they were all thinking to flow.

Ualalapi thought of his son and saw him taking the shield of many battles from against the mud wall. But why his son, he thought, and not the mother of his son,who always offered him her body on moonlit nights and,at times,in moments improper for fornication? He passed his hand over his hair, removing a leaf, looked at the birds flying in silence, and felt a slight shiver over his body.

No, it cannot be her, he thought, I left her healthy in body and mind. And as a woman, an Nguni woman,she predicts her own fate. Nor my son,it is impossible, really, how can the child of an Nguni father and mother die unex- Ualalapi 9 pectedly at two years of age without ever having been instructed in the use of weapons, as his fathers and grandfathers had been? No, it is impossible,for his family the winds of misfortune cannot arrive just yet.

Perhaps for these warriors,he thought, and saw them with heads bowed, as if fearing the earth would open at their feet, tripping over everything and nothing. Not them either, they are commoners, and unhappiness always comes to commoners without omens, since the beginning of time, as obvious as their common lives, without history and destiny except for being born to serve their superiors until their death. To whom could this omen then be directed if I have no relatives besides my wife and son?

He looked at the warriors and saw them in the same pensive attitude,thinking of wives and children or of fathers and grandfathers, dispersed throughout the empire without end. While they thought of this and that, remembering things ancient and present, related to the omens that nature brings without pity to men,they quickened their step in the direction of the nearest village, its alleys deserted, without any sound but the growing rustle of If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution or have your own login and password to Project MUSE.

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Mozambique: uncharted territory

He published two books: the novel Ualalapi in it won the Grand Prize of Mozambican Fiction in and a collection of short stories Orgy of the Deranged in He is almost finished with his next work The Kingdom of the Vultures. Ualalapi is the name of a warrior nguni who is destined to kill Mafemane, brother of Mudungazi later called Ngungunhane. This fictional story, a collection of six loosely related episodes, describes the life of hosi king , emperor , in the Tsonga language Ngungunhane, celebrity of the resistance to the Portuguese at the end of nineteenth century. The author tracks his rise to power over his murdered rivals and his eventual decline.


Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa



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