The feats of the hero Mwindo are here glorified in the bilingual text of an epic which was sung and narrated in a Bantu language and acted out by a member of the Nyanga tribe in the remote forest regions of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Admirably structured, coherent, and richly poetic, the epic is in prose form, interspersed with song and proverbs in verse. An example of the classic tradition of oral folk literature, the tale has important implications for the comparative study of African culture, as the text provides profound insights into the social structure, value system, linguistics, and cosmology of this African people.
"...Biebuyck's deep understanding of Nyanga society and his sensitivity to poetic form are constantly in evidence. The work will therefore be of interest to the anthropologist and historian as well as the specialist in folklore."-- "Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines"
"A work of art in its own right, in which the Africanist, the literary critic, and the general reader will all find pleasure and profit."-- "Africa"
"The richness of content and the variety of literary forms of this epic are quite amazing. . . . It is a macrocosm of Nyanga life and culture. . . . A classic of African oral literature."-- "Research in African Literature"
"This book is a must for students of literature about Africa."--Jan Vansina, "American Anthropologist"