I am always looking for something different to listen to while driving to work or doing chores. I found what I sought in Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales: An Audiobook Benefitting Children in South Africa Orphaned and Impacted by HIV/AIDS. The producers started with Mandela's 2002 collection of folktales and enlisted a great lineup of readers, including Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Helen Mirren, and Jurnee Smollett. To this they added a welcome message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a variety of musical introductions, and a small concert by South Africa's Vusi Mahlasela at the end.
I chose Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales just as I was leaving work - a benefit of working at a library is having such choices - and I did not even bother to read the back of the cover before inserting the first disc into my car's CD player. I was not surprised to hear Desmond Tutu welcome me, as he has worked with Mandela frequently, but then I heard a voice say "The Ring of the King." I knew right away that it was one of my favorite actors, Alan Rickman, who excels in everything he does. I knew I had made a good listening selection. Over the course of a week, I heard many enchanting stories about wise and foolish people tried by the circumstances of living.
The twenty plus stories come mostly from the southern end of Africa with a few extras from Morocco, Tanzania, and Uganda. Many are fairly short. If I added a minute or two sitting in the parking lot, I often heard two or three stories during my fifteen minute drive to work. A few, such as "The Mother Who Turned to Dust" read by Helen Mirren last between ten and fifteen minutes. I suspect some of the stories might be enjoyed more by adults than children, but I would not want to rule anyone out. If you like Aesop, the Brothers Grimm, or Hans Christian Andersen, try Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales.
Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales: An Audiobook Benefitting Children in South Africa Orphaned and Impacted by HIV/AIDS. Hachette Audio, 2009. 3 compact discs. ISBN 9781600246661.