Storytelling in Northern Zambia
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    1See Cancel 1989.

    2As Jackson notes, it is important to “throw light on the anthropological project, for in both cases [of the dialectic between private and public performance] an interplay is implied between authorship and authority, and the knower and the known.” (Jackson 2006, p. 292).

    3Johannes Fabian identifies my concerns and intentions by wryly positing the scholarly genre of “the second book” wherein the researcher “having already fulfilled the academic obligation to publish his or her dissertation research in monograph form, now feels compelled (and free) to reflect on what that project was really about.” (2008, p. 136)

    4Malinowski 1967.

    5See Clifford 1983, p. 142. This insightful and thorough reading of Griaule’s work sets it into a clear historical frame. Part of the study considers another French anthropologist, Griaule’s contemporary and colleague, Michel Leiris, whose approach tended to move away from Griaule’s certainty to throwing doubt on the concept of truly knowing another culture. “Griaule’s energetic confidence in cultural representation could not be farther from Leiris’ tortured, lucid uncertainty. The two positions mark off the predicament of a post-colonial ethnography. Some authorizing fiction of “authentic encounter,” in Geertz’s phrase seems a prerequisite for intensive research. But initiatory claims to speak as a knowledgeable insider revealing essential cultural truths are no longer credible.” (p. 152)

    6When I was writing my dissertation on Tabwa oral narratives, I was both brought up short and also inspired by Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s opening observations in his literary study Homecoming: Essays on African and Caribbean Literature and Politics. In his Author’s Note, Ngugi warned against what Jomo Kenyatta had described as “professional friends and interpreters of the African…[who] have the arrogance of assuming they have more and closer natural ties to Africa than have Africans in the West Indies and in America. It is such people who acquire a most proprietorial air when talking of the part of Africa they have happened to visit; they carve a personal sphere of influence and champion the most reactionary and most separatist cause of whichever group among whom they happen to live. They are again the most vehement in pointing out the unique intelligence, amiability and quick wit of their adopted areas and groups.” (Ngugi wa Thiong’o 1972, p. xviii)

    7An important contribution to this reevaluation is Clifford and Marcus 1986.

    8Clifford, in his 1983 piece on Marcel Giraule, cites Geertz’s 1968 essay on “Thinking as a moral act…”: “Usually the sense of being members, however temporarily, insecurely and incompletely, of a single moral community, can be maintained even in the face of the wider social realities which press in at almost every moment to deny it. It is this fiction—fiction not falsehood—that lies at the very heart of successful anthropological field research…” (Geertz 1968, p. 154)

    9Burawoy 2003 probably states an extreme version of the critique of Geertz’s reflexive/discourse approach, “In his hands ethnography becomes a mesmeric play of texts upon texts, narratives within narratives. By the end of its cultural turn, anthropology has lost its distinctive identity, having decentered its techniques of field work, sacrificed the idea of intensively studying a ‘site,’ abandoned its theoretical traditions, and forsaken its pursuit of causal explanation. Theory and history evaporate in a welter of discourse. Anyone with literary ambition can now assume the anthropological mantle, making the disrupted discipline vulnerable to cavalier invasion by natives and imposters. Once a social science, anthropology aspires to become an appendage of the humanities.” (p. 674)

  10Originally, Le devoir de violence, Yambo Ouologuem (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1968), p. 102.

  11See Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin 1989.

  12Achebe 1959.

  13See Kazembe and Labrecque 1951.

  14See Chinyanta and Chiwale 1989.

  15See Lukhero 1993.

  16An excellent example of local African scholars revising work done earlier by Europeans is Chipungu, ed., 1992. Zambian anthropologist Owen Sichone evocatively states one of the reasons for him choosing to become an anthropologist was his “dissatisfaction with the accounts of Zambian life that I read in the classic literature and a desire to rework them from a Zambian perspective.” (Sichone 2001, p. 371)

  17Numerous African universities contain departments of Anthropology or Sociology staffed by western-trained anthropologists. There is no shortage of monographs and articles by African ethnographers. The point I want to make is that ethnographic discourse is contentious and the scope and intent of even indigenous scholars vary widely. Sichone notes, “Many African scholars dislike anthropology intensely. I have frequently heard many political scientists and economists insult each other by referring to aspects of their work as ‘anthropological’. The tarnished reputation of the discipline is blamed on anthropology having participated in the imperial strategy of divide and rule. But was anthropology the handmaiden of imperialism in a way that geology, cartography and land surveying were not?” (Sichone 2001, p. 370) Some well known ethnographic monographs by African scholars include: Francis Mading Deng, The Dinka of the Sudan (1972); A.B.C. Ocholla-Ayayo, Traditional Ideology and Ethics Among the Southern Luo (1976); Philip O. Nsugbe, Ohaffia: A Matrilineal Ibo People (1974), etc. Bernard M. Magubane offers a well-known set of critiques of colonial social science practices and alternative African scholarly approaches that have been collected in a set of essays (2000).

  18See Schumaker 2001.

  19Moreover, the seminal early studies have led to a more recent secondary wave of revisionary work, treating the same areas and people that some of the more famous the Institute researchers had written about. For example, Audrey Richards’ Land, Labour and Diet: An Economic Study of the Bemba Tribe (1939) has been revisited and recontextualized in Moore and Vaughan’s Cutting Down Trees: Gender, Nutritition and Agriculture in the Northern Province of Zambia, 1890–1990 (1994). Similar revision has been conducted on William Watson’s socio-economic study Tribal Cohesion in a Money Economy: A Study of the Mambwe People of Zambia (1958) by Johan Pottier in Migrants No More: Settlement and Survival in Mambwe Villages, Zambia (1988).

  20From the end of the 1960s to the late 1980s, Zambia was frequently under a state of emergency because of its involvement as a “Frontline State” in the wars of liberation in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Southwest Africa (Namibia), Angola, Mozambique and, finally, South Africa. Security concerns often focused on foreigners, especially whites, who stood out so obviously. See Molteno 1979 for what was at the time a common opinion of the US role in the region and the suspicions brought to bear on foreign, especially American, academics and researchers.

  21Jackson makes a similar point when he says, “Clearly, therefore, it would be a mistake to reduce any person to some abiding essence or self that remains constant throughout an entire lifetime, or to reduce a human life to the general conditions that define his class, her culture, or his credo. Even to speak of variations on a theme is a misnomer, for any one moment every variation is in effect experienced as a theme.” (Jackson 2006, p. 294)

  22See Geertz 1973.

  23These approaches are grounded in the work of Roman Jakobson, but more readily in the pioneering work in language and ethnography of Dell Hymes (1964, 1974, 1996). Important studies in this vein include Bauman 1986; Labov 1972; Scollon and Scollon 1979; Shuman 1986 and 2005; Tannen 1982.

  24Tedlock 1995.

  25See my chapter on Bisa storytelling for a more detailed description of my first interactions with Chitimukulu.

  26The term “headman” is mostly a carryover from the colonial era, but it remains the most common gloss of the Bemba language title “mwine mushi,” “owner of the village.” Essentially, headmen are lineage leaders whose relatives and non-blood constituents live under his authority in a section of a larger village. His duties include acting as an intermediary to the chief, settling disputes as an initial local court of appeal, before the matter needs to be brought to the chief or civil authority, and involvement in daily arrangements concerning labor, land, familial duties and so forth.

  27Both the style of poetry and its practitioner are called ing’omba. The bards often play the two-headed drum called ishingilili, that incorporates both a “male” (high) and “female” (low) set of tones. Mr. Yuba was accompanied by a young man playing a smaller, cylindrical drum called “sensele“. See Mapoma 1974, on Bemba royal bards and their instruments.

  28See Schechner 2003, for a wide-ranging discussion of the many elements and types of performances.

  29See Cancel 1989 and 1988–89.

  30I will examine concerns of gender in performance in some of the chapters that follow, but clearly in this session there was a sense that women wanted to express themselves as a group in the material being recorded.

  31It became clear to me some time after the recording session that this particular Chitimukulu was not as popular as some of his predecessors, in part because he sought to change some of the older, traditional ways of doing things. In 1994, when I returned to the area, I visited Chitimukulu Mutale Chitapankwa at his musumba, or palace, and he provided me with a long autobiographical account that I videotaped. In it, he talked about some of the traditions of the kingship he’d been seeking to change.

  32A similar occurrence can be examined in some detail regarding historical information imparted in a narrative by the Bwile Chief Puta in 1989 and how this was received and then modified by his successor during a visit in 2005. The original performance is referred to below and presented in more detail in Chapter V on Bwile oral performance.

  33West 2007, discussing his relationship with his local subjects among the Muedan people of Mozambique, makes an important point about how one of the elders he worked with “‘saw in me a kindred characteristic,’ I believe, because he knew, that in my writings, I would attempt to produce of the Muedan world an order of my own description—because he appreciated that such interpretive visions of the world necessarily constitute a means of leverage on the world.” (p. 81)

  34A good examination of texts by writers from the colonized world satirizing the notion of anthropologists as heroes, is Graham Huggan’s essay “Anthropologists and Other Frauds.” (1994) He examines Ouologuem’s novel as well as works by Alejo Carpentier (1999), considering Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Albert Wendt (1999), rethinking the impact of Margaret Mead in Samoa. Jackson 1989, also notes that we can “no longer assume that our texts have some kind of epistemological superiority over theirs.” (p. 168)

  35Jackson 2006, notes some of the limits of both reflexivity and trying to take the stated views of others at face value when he says “we can neither assess the truth of our understanding representationally—in terms of its fidelity to the espoused views and observed practices of others—nor confessionally—as a disclosure of our own ulterior motives and unconscious desires.” (p. 293)

  36Some examples of what appear to be in depth insights and near total immersion in African societies include Stoller’s intimate study of the Songhay (1989), and, in an amazing longitudinal study, Colson and Scudder’s reporting on the Gwembe Tonga (1958, 1971, 1988). Griaule’s unprecedented work with Ogotemmeli (1965) purports to reveal some fascinating details of the Dogon way of life and cosmology, though how this was gathered and written, and how that framed the information, remains a matter of scholarly debate (see, for example, Clifford 1983). A last example is Stuart Marks’s long term study of the Valley Bisa of Zambia and their interrelationships with their environment and the practice of hunting. (See Chapter IV below and, Marks 1979, 1984, 2005, 2008, etc.).

  37A good overview of approaches to African oral literature, past and present, is provided by Finnegan 1992 and 1997; and Okpewho 1992.

  38See Cancel 2006, on how claiming Bemba identity has vacillated over time for some segments of the Lunda population.

  39Crehan 1997, for example, examines historically how the Kaonde of northwestern Zambia underwent a series of classifications under British rule that had profound effects on their socio-economic lives. A broader study of how colonial rule first imposed certain notions of identity on indigenous peoples then how these identities persisted in fundamental ways is edited by Leroy Vail (1989).

  40See A. Roberts 1973, and Cunnison 1959 and 1961.

  41See Chapter V on Bwile performance.

  42See my 1981 PhD dissertation, “Inshimi Structure and Theme: The Tabwa Oral Narrative Tradition.”

  43Anderson 1991.

  44Cancel 2006, alludes to this phenomenon when discussing the Lunda annual kinship festival, the Mutomboko.

  45The preceding chapter discusses these concerns in some detail. Beninois scholar Olabiyi Babalola Yai (1999), cited in the epigraph to this chapter, in an insightful evaluation of Frances and Melville Herskovits’s well known study of Dahomean oral narrative tradition, finds numerous faults with western scholarship’s approaches to African verbal arts.

  46While the concerns are mostly legally-based and often pertain more to medical experimentation than to the social sciences and humanities, it is significant that most US universities require the vetting of research involving “human subjects,” and stipulate the careful documentation of “permission” agreements between researchers and their subjects/targets. It is an acknowledgment that more and more people cooperating in all manner of research endeavors are either recognizing their positions as actors in this process or having that recognition drawn for them in a legalistic manner.

  47In one of the earlier accounts of this relationship, Haring 1972, asserts that researchers, just by their presence, influence what they collect from their sources. “The interviewer—anthropologist, historian, literary critic, folklorist—is inescapably a participant, not an observer, in an aesthetic transaction.” (p. 387)

  48See Deborah Kapchan citing Joni Jones’s humorous, reflexive “performance” text, wherein she asks “was I really making friends, or was I making deals?/laughs How about this for my next article!” (Kapchan 2003, p. 129)

  49Titon 2003, p. 85, provides a good summary of the usual ethnographic text, as it begins with a first person kind of immediacy and reflexive frame and then soon devolves into the third person voice that characterizes most ethnographic observation and analysis.

  50For an extensive, thorough study of personal narrative and its vital links to several social science and humanities fields of research, see Ochs and Capps 1996.

  51McKenzie selects four of Butler’s publications from 1990 to 1993, to make his argument, but her two book-length studies contain the main themes he is focusing on.

  52It is worth looking at Okpewho’s work in oral epic and oral traditions when considering the role of the oral historian. In particular, look at The Epic in Africa (1979) and “Rethinking Myth,” (1980) where questions of fact, fancy and intent are considered in revealing ways. Vansina’s seminal Kingdoms of the Savanna (1966) and Oral History as Tradition (1985) form, for many scholars, the basis for analyses of African oral historical traditions. It is significant to note that in the latter study, a reworking of his earlier De la tradition orale (1961), Vansina acknowledges the important role played by performance in oral history as well as admitting the virtually inevitable prevalence of imagination and performance context over historical “accuracy.”

  53Dègh makes reference to this earlier in this chapter. Scheub 1975, with his “cueing and scanning” assertion, works at one end of this spectrum of thought. He suggests that at times some storytellers begin their tales without knowing exactly what they will include or how the adventure will end.

  54This may pertain to notions of genre in some studies. See Ben-Amos’s remarks in his introduction to Lindfors’s collection of articles on African folklore (1977). One sense that Ben-Amos has of the storytelling process is fairly Proppian in nature. He gives the example of a Yoruba performer who explains how he would tell the researcher’s biography by following a fairly straightforward structural/plot formulation to illustrate salient personal events and development.

  55I’ve taken this argument to more depth in looking at how Zambian radio and media might be able to employ oral narratives and their various versions to shape nationalist, socially engaged themes and messages. (Cancel 1986)

  56Diffusion theory has been pretty much refuted by one of its former proponents, Stith Thompson. But the adjacent activity, the collection and categorization of motifs and tale types, continues. In the last twenty years, the combination of this procedure with a formal, structural model has yielded some interesting results. See Haring’s Malagasy index published in 1982.

  57In fact, when I visited Zambia in the summer of 2003, I learned that Stanley Kalumba had passed away four years earlier. He was not the first of those who had contributed material to this study to die before I had a chance for a return visit.

  58There are more than a few choices of how to write or render an oral text on the page. The format I’ve chosen reflects a literary prose genre framework, representing the narratives as a string of discrete sentences organized into paragraphs. I also make several concessions to the oral nature of the narration by including false starts, repeated words, employing non-standard punctuation and including explanatory, sometimes of only inferred assertions, material in brackets. Another common approach is to write the narrative in lines of text that look more like poetry, usually reflecting pauses in the performers’ speech. (See Tedlock 1977; Seitel 1980; Okpewho 1990) Since, in this particular study, I am including the video record of the actual performances, I will leave it up to the reader/viewer as to how the verbal text can best be typographically visualized. Clearly, another historical problem in this kind of rendering has more to do with editorial choices made by the collectors or scholars who bring the performances to print. Here, all manner of ideological and self-serving intentions were indulged in the way tales were collected, transcribed, translated and edited, reflecting the desires and erroneous assumptions of early explorers, colonial administrators, missionaries and scholars. Yai 1999, takes Herskovits and Herskovits to task for some of these reasons, Clifford 1983, details the intricate and, some would argue, distorting methods by which Griaule rendered the narration of Oggotemeli. Scheub 1971, treats these problems more systematically in a historical context.

  59The formal methodology that I will often employ in this project is more clearly set out in my earlier monograph (1989). It is the basis from which I will evaluate the verbal text/traditional context elements in the narratives that follow.

  60The numerous techniques of performance include voice, personal style, strategies of giving form to imagery and themes, and gesture. While most of what I do with these elements in this project is descriptive, there is obviously a large body of literature spawned from disciplinary approaches such as folklore and performance studies. When it comes to close study of living performance, the emerging work on gesture in African storytelling will become an important dimension in describing the links between words and physical act. See Klassen 2004, 1999, Eastman and Omar 1985, Creider 1997, 1986, and Olofson 1974.

  61One of the best discussions of writing and scholarly authority is Derrida’s 1978 “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences.”

  62See Cancel 1989, pp. 55–84, for a more thorough discussion of performance contexts and quotidian instances of storytelling. Cosentino 1982 spends a good amount of time on considering local allusions in themes and images of stories told by the Mende of Sierra Leone. Jackson 1982, 2006, focuses on the interactions of various performers and their stories in single performance sessions.

  63Unlike other African societies who at least claimed prohibitions against telling stories during daylight hours or while performing labor, I was not able to ascertain similar strictures among the Bemba-speaking peoples with whom I worked. I have, recently found evidence of these sayings/strictures among the Bemba.

  64My 1989 monograph on Tabwa storytelling contains some information on this ethnic group, their physical environment and history. A more systematic and detailed account of Zambian Tabwa culture and history can be found in my doctoral dissertation (1981). Since the Tabwa also stretch across the border into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a lot of scholarship exists by Belgians, missionaries, Congolese scholars and, in particular, Allen F. Roberts (1980, 1984, 1996, 2000).

  65There have been few instances where I was able to record storytellers performing the same story more than once. One notable example was a long narrative by Tabwa performer Chola Chilengwe at Mukupa Katandula village in 1976, whereby I recorded the first version then days later a friend coincidentally recorded a second rendering by Mr. Chilengwe at a beer drink. Among the Wolof of the Gambia, Emil Magel (1984) recorded two versions of a story he titled “Hyena Wrestles a Konderong,” by the same performer (pp. 138–143).

  66I use the word “hut” to translate “mutanda” which is a rough shelter, often used as a temporary lodging when hunting or farming far from home. I use the word house or home to gloss the word ng’anda, which is a permanent structure, one’s main residence.

  67The principle form of agriculture in Northern Province is still the system of “slash and burn,” whereby dried brush and trees are cut down and burned just prior to the rainy season. The ashes, washed into the ground act as fertilizer for the crops. The Bemba/Tabwa word for this type of agriculture is citemene, and used as a specific verb it means to cut the brush and or trees.

  68The phrase is a proverb that is usually employed as a threat. The speaker warns the listener that if he or she does not do as he or she is told, there will be painful physical consequences, a beating or something unpleasant. The proverb is spoken here as: Nga taasalile cilundu, ninshi ni nkulungwe aali umwaka umo. [Literally, “If he does not pound bark cloth it is like the male bushbuck with one year.”] The word for a male bushbuck is nkulungwe, while the generic term for a bushbuck is cisongo. It is the latter word that is used to refer to the character in the story; though it seems less than coincidental that the core proverbial saying is about a bushbuck.

  69Here Mr. Kalumba is probably using a euphemism for nakedness. The cloth is meant to clothe the buttocks of the chief’s wife, referring, I think, to the grandeur of the cloth he is making, which is fit for even a queen.

  70Here it seems the lion is praising his own skills for their delicacy, since pounding the stomach of an ant from within, without injuring the ant, suggests a high degree of competence with the pounding mallet.

  71Kalulu is found in stories beyond the Bemba-speaking area. Among the Nyanja/Cewa-speaking groups of Zambia and Malawi, Kalulu is also a central, trickster figure. Moving east and north, Swahili and neighboring groups feature a trickster hare in their narratives called Sungura.

  72See Cancel 1989, pp. 156–158, 172–174, 200–201.

  73The tie between story and proverb is not uncommon in Tabwa tales. There are two proverbs associated with the tale of the monitor lizard in the tree: one about the lizard’s talkativeness and the other about the necessity to be near someone when explaining something. (Cancel 1989) In an initial translation of the first bushbuck version, one that I used on a subtitled videotape, I was unaware of the proverb being used and instead misread the phrase by improperly breaking up the noun nkulungwe [a male bushbuck] into a verbal construct having to do with being hunted. Therefore, though my translation “I will hunt you down” was semantically incorrect, the sense of a threat against the lion conveyed essentially the same idea. In a recent translation of the second version, also subtitled on videotape, I used the literal proverb without explanation so that, as in the performance, the context of the situation points to the saying’s meaning.

  74Mr. Kalumba’s approach to stories and, in particular, my presence as researcher is detailed in my Tabwa monograph. (1989, pp. 80–81)

  75See Kapchan’s comparison of performance with the “enterprise” of ethnography. (Kapchan 2003, p. 136) A more provocative evocation of the ethnographic process is detailed by West 2007, where he compares the ethnographer and his or her writing with forms of sorcery. Toon van Meijl suggests that in order for an ethnographer to successfully work between the demands of the scholarly process and the real political and social goals/needs of the people being studied, the social scientist would do well to take on the mantle of the “divine trickster.” (2005) This also goes back to the question that opened this study about whether or not a researcher allows him or herself to be “captured” by the people with whom he or she works.

  76See the narrative by Mr. Henry Chakobe, where the bushbuck eventually gets the better of Kalulu, in Chapter III, on Bemba storytelling.

  77A Lunda performer, Mr. Idon Pandwe, told another version of this tale and, assuming a culture region overlap, its details can be weighed against Mr. Kalumba’s narratives (see Chapter V).

  78Echoing Haring 1972, Bauman emphasizes the potential and real instances of performers or subjects of research controlling aspects of their encounters with researchers, in part to question what he calls “poststructuralist” scholars’ concerns with the power relationships in these interactions. (2004, pp. 157–162) I will return to this situation in the concluding chapter, but also note that West 2008, pp. 80–85 focuses on the same concerns.

  79Stanley Kalumba followed a common pattern of rural-urban migration at that time, which mostly entailed men moving to the copper mines and their surrounding cities for wage labor. Strong ties would be kept with their home areas and relatives in the form of regular visits and money sent back to help with local finances. After putting in enough years to draw a pension, the men would move back to the rural areas, build themselves houses, and retire to take part in the local economy in the form of farming, fishing or related activities. See Watson 1958, for a more detailed description of this practice in the wider rural social life of the Mambwe of northern Zambia. Mr. Laudon Ndalazi, a Bisa storyteller featured in Chapter IV, also followed this employment pattern of migration and retirement back to his rural home. Two other performers in this study, Mr. Henry Chakobe and Mr. Stephen Chipalo, were retired school teachers living in the village around Ilondola Mission (Chapter III).

  80Sichone states his concern in blunt terms, “Ethnographers capture by description…and to be translated is as humiliating as to be colonized.” (2001, p. 371)

  81For a detailed description of how nearby Lake Mweru was similarly “fished-out,” see Gordon 2006.

  82Strictly speaking, Doe was twenty-nine or thirty when he came to power in 1980. He actually changed his birth year from 1951 to 1950, in order to meet an age minimum when he ran for the presidency in an election that took place some time after his military take-over.

  83Having seen a virulent civil war tear apart Sierra Leone, Michael Jackson, with strong research and personal links to that nation, has spent a lot of time thinking about the causes of such violence and the seemingly easy militarization of young men. Among his several conclusions is a notion of reciprocity and its denial, at least in the minds of those who feel insulted and deprived of their rightful share of social and economic benefits. (2004; 2005, p. 36)

  84In Chapter IV, focusing on performance sessions among the Bisa, I discuss game management policies that had repercussions for the older social order, essentially bringing to prominence young men over elders and tradtions.

  85Mr. Patrick uses several terms or phrases for soccer or playing soccer. An older form he begins with is “ukuteya umupila,” where –teya is basically the verb “to play,” and umupila is the word for ball, but also for a rubber tire. He also says “-teya bola,” which uses the English borrowing for “ball.” He uses, a few times later in the story, the more common verb for playing soccer, which drops –teya in favor of verbalizing the word for ball into “ukubola,” often used to say, for example, “nalabola,” “I’m about to play soccer.”

  86See, for example, Cancel 1989, pp. 35–36, 38–39.

  87Unpublished, Chongo Alison, 1983, Kaputa.

  88See related version where a snake wraps itself around the arrogant chief’s neck and an elder must provide the solution to the problem. (Cancel 1989, pp. 43–44, and Lunda version of this tale told by Mr. Idon Pandwe, in Chapter IV, on Lunda storytelling.)

  89David Livingstone passed through the Tabwa area of Chief Nsama during his last journey and reported on a war between the Tabwa and the Bemba (Livingstone 1874). For more details and references see A. Roberts 1973.

  90There are numerous studies, mostly from social science perspectives, on adolescent creative assertion, particularly in the form of oral narrative. See, for example, Lightfoot 1997; Shuman 1986; and Wilson 1997. It is certainly not a stretch to relate these contexts of adolescent assertion to the “Hip-Hop Culture” that emerged out of the difficult socio-economic conditions of New York City’s South Bronx in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and that has grown to be a world-wide economic and cultural phenomenon. See Rose 1994.

  91Stuart Marks’s latest research on the Bisa of the Luwangwa Valley has noted a similar shift in the relative influence of elders and young men in recent times, due in large part to game management schemes and the rise of evangelical Christian practices. See Chapter IV on Bisa storytelling.

  92Among many resources, see Richards 1939; A. Roberts 1973; and Moore and Vaughan 1994.

  93Mary Frost collected hundreds of Bemba narratives and included some twenty or thirty in her dissertation. At the time of her efforts at Malole, a different man held the headman title of Fele. Frost concentrated her collecting efforts in or near villages of the three senior Bemba chiefs, at Malole, Ilondola and Mulobula. (1978)

  94See Cancel, 1989, comparison of Lamba and Tabwa tales. Indeed, the motif is common throughout southern Africa, as evidenced in older collections such as Callaway 1868, reprinted 1970; and Theal 1970.

  95See my discussion of heroic power combined with wisdom as they pertain to a set of Tabwa narratives. (Cancel 1989, pp. 129–158)

  96Folklorists often use the term “cantefable” to describe this genre. Bauman treats the intersection of genres in verbal art in some detail in several studies. (Briggs and Bauman 1992; Bauman 2004) Sub-Saharan African oral narratives so often contain songs, sayings or chants, that the mixing of genres is almost definitive. Throughout this study, I’ve tried to use the local terms for genres and approximate their English and scholarly equivalents. Ruth Finnegan, after surveying all manner of terminology for oral narrative traditions and pointing to various scholarly disciplines says, I think quite sensibly, “None of the terminologies or approaches can be applied in any mechanical way to the African forms analyzed and celebrated in this volume. The final choice must be for individual scholars, weighing up the costs and benefits in the light of particular genres, settings, questions, or theoretical aims, while at the same time, recognizing the complexity of the subject matter that is too dynamic, subtle and multifaceted for single-line dogmatic reductionism.” (2004, p. 313)

  97I recorded one more performance at this session, by a young boy who had witnessed the earlier two. While the narrative was of some interest, I’m opting not to include performances by children in the present study.

  98The story of how Catholicism came to this part of Zambia and to the Bemba in particular is well known locally and is tied into the broader history of the colonial era in Zambia. The “White Father” missionary Bishop Dupont arrived in the northernmost region of Northern Rhodesia in the late Nineteenth Century by way of the Tanganyika colony. Eventually he won the trust of the powerful Bemba Chief Mwamba who, on his death bed, ceded the regency of his chiefship to Dupont, in hopes of fending off incursions of the neighboring Ngoni, slave traders, and the British government. This led to a strong and long-lasting relationship between the Bemba people and the Catholic Church. See A. Roberts 1973 and B. Garvey 1994. The evangelical efforts of Christians in this part of Zambia entail a long and complicated history. In the area near Chief Nkula’s village, Lubwa, there was a direct competition that at times bordered on violence between Catholic and Church of Scotland missionaries. This is in part covered in Oger 1991 and in Roberts (ibid.) and Garvey (ibid.). Comaroff and Comaroff 1991, especially pp. 252–308, produced a wide-ranging study of evangelical efforts in southern Africa at the advent of colonial expansion, and many of the dynamics they identify can be found to some degree in the Bemba and neighboring territories.

  99See Cancel 1989, on definitions of two fictional narrative genres found in Bemba-speaking groups, but more specifically among the Tabwa. Basically, a mulumbe does not contain a song and a lushimi does. During my four weeks at Ilondola in 2005, brushing up on my Bemba language skills, it became clear to me that the people living in the Bemba heartland tend to have a broader view of the stories called inshimi, associating them more commonly with didactic storytelling, often adapted to the type found in church preaching orations. It may have to do with a fairly literal application with the root verb for storytelling, -shimika.

100Used in this context, nsaka indicates both the common structure that is often found in someone’s yard but also, in this case, a larger version in public space in the village. It is often simply constructed of four or five wood poles, supporting a conical thatched roof. Stools, benches or chairs comprise the furniture, and it is a place where people relax out of the heat of the sun. The term is also used here to refer to its institutional purpose, which is not only a place for elders to gather and talk, but also a place where young people were expected to sit and listen.

101In this respect, the nsaka tradition is very similar to what the Tswana call kgotla. See Shapera 1953 and Landau 1995. Landau’s study particularly deals with changes wrought on traditional systems of thought and power by colonial and Christian-evangelizing incursions. Rather than simply making a dichotomy between tradition and modernity, the study looks at the complexities of how these forces interacted in differing ways in a Botswana society. In a Tabwa narrative, a father says of his young son who just rescued his sister from evil lion-man husbands, “That is the meaning of the thing they say, ‘A small man in the house is good. It is that young man who always sits at the ready’.” (Cancel 1989, p. 103)

102Mr. Soolo did not explain this last remark. He seemed to be using a stock phrase or saying to mark the ending of the discussion, but no one responded to it and I haven’t been able to find a clear explanation from colleagues who’ve viewed the video recording.

103The question of a potentially deadly lion following or mirroring a human’s action is found in several variations in a number of Tabwa stories. In most of them the lion proves to be a well-meaning benefactor (Cancel 1989, pp. 129–160). In a Bwile tale in Chapter VI of this book, the lion turns out to be much more hostile. A wider spectrum of narrative images speculates on the wisdom or folly of trusting animals to assist humans in their tasks or predicaments in tales.

104Consulting an ant as a diviner is found in a Tabwa narrative about a lion-man husband who keeps devouring the children he has with his human wife (Cancel 1989), as well as in a narrative from the Lamba collection by C.M. Doke, wherein an arrogant chief has all the elders killed then is himself endangered by an ogre who only an elder can outwit. In fact, the character is utilized in the tale about Fipindulule, told by Mr. Kampamba earlier in this chapter.

105A Bisa narrative in Chapter IV reveals how a small animal scares off a lion threatening a human family using only its voice. This version is told by George Mwampatisha at Nabwalya, while another is told fourteen years later by Kangwa Samson as a way to give a better sense of what he thought the correct version of the narrative should have been, in 2005.

106The latter situation is portrayed in a different and complex manner in a Lunda tale performed by Ms. Emeliya Muleya in Chapter V. The stealing of neighbors’ crops, depicted in a humorous vein, is often a subject of trickster tales in many African traditions.

107Interestingly, the problem of improper, inaccurate, or disrespectful praises was raised by Chitimukulu in Chapter I, as he listened to the tape of Ng’ongo Yuba’s performance. He felt compelled, even years later, to try to have the bard rectify this problem. Similarly, when Chief Puta watched the video of the performance of his predecessor, he was moved to have his advisors come in to record an addendum or correction to the earlier narrative. In the pan-traditional narrative context there are often chiefs portrayed in various tales who do not exhibit much wisdom in understanding the cases being brought before them. An obvious example is the Kalulu tale performed by Mr. Stanley Kalumba in the previous chapter, where the trickster manipulates the chief/lion into first making the bark cloth garment then pronouncing a rash and unfair judgment on the bushbuck.

108The name has reverted to (the Democratic Republic of) Congo since this session was taped.

109“Sons” is used here in a positional manner, since succession of Bemba chiefs is, strictly speaking, through nephews, sons of the chiefs’ sisters. Actual succession is obviously more complicated in actuality than this matrilineal model suggests.

110Humanism is the term given to the political philosophy originated, espoused and applied by Zambia’s first president, Kenneth D. Kaunda. It put forth a program that was ostensibly a combination of western capitalism and African socialism. Over the years, in effect, it took on the trappings of socialism that had evolved in many third world nations.

111See Briggs and Bauman 1992 on genre in oral traditions. Their notion of intertextuality and power are apposite for the discussion of how people mix and cross generic boundaries in order to strengthen their arguments or make broader statements or connections in their discourses.

112Fr. Oger has written a detailed history of the establishment of the Catholic mission at Ilondola in 1934 (1991). See also Garvey 1994.

113Much has been written about and by Zambia’s first head of state. Several informative works include Hall 1973 and Kaunda 1963.

114Lenshina’s Lumpa Church rose in the mid-1950s as a charismatic movement that was thought to threaten government power in the area. For a discussion of her influence and the complex confrontation between her Lumpa movement and the national government see A. Roberts 1972 and 1973, and a more recent study by van Binsbergen 1981. Only recently, ca. 2006, have a good number of the church’s adherents returned to Zambia from exile in the Congo. Gordon 2008, has written the most recent historical evaluation of this seminal period in Zambia.

115Stephen Chanda Chipalo was born around 1926 and died in July 2001 at the age of 75. His home is less than half a mile from Ilondola mission. I visited his widow, Mrs. Sarafina Chipalo in September 2005. She told me they’d married around 1941 and had fifteen children, eight of whom were still alive. Mr. Chipalo had taught at around five primary schools and retired in 1974. He’d been an elder in the local Catholic church; at different times holding the positions of church council chairman and also the council’s bursar.

116The musongwa tree bears the lusongwa fruit, identified in the dictionary and by local people as the “Cape Gooseberry.” While this fruit seems mostly to grow in shrubs rather than trees, the narrative clearly locates the fruit atop a very tall tree.

117Henry Chakobe was around 67 years old when he performed the tale included in this collection. He was born in 1922 around the village of Chief Nkula. He did his primary schooling at Ilondola and ended his teacher training at the college at Malole. He basically taught in many of the primary schools in the Chinsali area, most of which were parochial schools, and most of these Catholic. He married Sarafina Puta the same year he began his teaching career, 1945. Soon after he retired in 1975, he became the headman of the village sector that is still known by his surname, Chakobe.

118Besides gathering relevant biographical information, I was left, in retrospect, with some conflicting information on Mr. Chipalo’s age. While his family put his date of birth at 1926, they also said he died in 2001 at the age of 87. One or the other date/age does not add up, so for the purposes of this study I’ve set his birth date as the starting point and have marked his age at death in 2001 as 75.

119The only other praise poetry I encountered in the performances collected for this study was at the home of the Lunda elder and bard “Mano.” Here, in an unusual example of access, the performer actually read praises from a notebook and interpreted them for me. Even when he moved to a set of praises that he simply presented orally from memory, he did not sing them as he would in a more formal occasion. This performance is detailed in Chapter V.

120Most researchers refer to this group as the Valley Bisa in order to distinguish them from the larger group of Bisa living in the area south of Lake Bangweulu, in Northern Province. For the sake of brevity, I will simply designate the group living in the Munyamadzi Corridor as Bisa.

121See Marks 2005: introduction, also Marks and Gibson 1995.

122See Gibson and Marks 1995; Gibson 1999; Marks 1999 and 2001.

123Stuart Marks’s Large Mammals and a Brave People details Bisa social structure and practice effectively and with a high degree of empathy for the complexities of the society and its relationship to governmental concerns of conservation and management of wildlife. See also Morris 1998 for another description of the complex relationship between humans, animals, farming and hunting in a neighboring society.

124Given its isolated location and paucity of amenities, it is not surprising that the government often had difficulties in filling positions in Nabwalya. It is also easy to see that strangers appearing in the area were commonly seen as seeking to exploit game or people.

125As noted in the first chapter of this study, the question of “capture” by the people with whom the researcher lives and works is an ongoing subtext of these interpersonal relationships. I will return to this concern in a broader discussion in the concluding chapter.

126While the term “kakote” is not gender-marked, meaning literally “a little old person,” my colleague D.C. Nkosha, who worked with me on this story’s translation, felt that most hunchbacks in these kinds of stories were seen as women, so we went with this contextual choice.

127I thought he was saying nongo, a clay pot. As the story went on, I finally understood what he was referring to, a ng’ongo, which was a “hump,” as would be the case with a person who has a “hunchback.”

128Mr. Ndalazi enjoyed using a performance technique whereby he leaves a sentence unfinished for a moment, in an interrogative tone, as if expecting his audience to supply the end of the sentence or the proper word, then goes on to provide the information himself. I’ve marked this construction in the text by using a question mark followed by an ellipsis. If someone actually supplied the term, I include that as well, as in the more common question where a finger or fingers are held up to enumerate something at the same time the storyteller asks “How many?” (See Cancel 1989, pp. 66–67)

129Looking at Mr. Ndalazi motioning to his back again, I’m assuming the “pot” is being placed onto someone’s back. In fact, he’s simply pointing backwards.

130When the storyteller uses an English word in an otherwise Bisa language performance, I mark it in bold typeface.

131The final words in this sentence are not clear, but he seems to refer to icuma, or wealth.

132Laudon Ndalazi had worked in Lusaka for over ten years as a cleaner for the Public Works Department, including time as a cleaner at State House. He was able to save enough money to build a house in Lusaka and, when he retired and moved back to the Nabwalya area, he rented it out. He was never known as an accomplished hunter but in 1962 had the misfortune of being caught using someone else’s gun to kill what the Bisa term a “small” animal, an impala. He was arrested by game warden Phil Berry and did a bit of time in jail. Tragically, Mr. Ndalazi was murdered in 1997, allegedly by a close relative during an argument over money.

133The term “Bwana” is most commonly employed by people old enough to have lived through the colonial era. Borrowed from Swahili, it was an honorific term used to address white authorities. The simplest gloss would be “Mr.” or “Sir.” Long after colonial rule, it remained in use by some elders in their interactions with white men.

134In this instance, Mr. Mwampatisha used a nickname. His real name is George Kalikeka. He has lived all his life in the Nabwalya area and had been the headman of Mukupa Village for ten years until around 2005. Mostly earning his living as a farmer, Mr. Kalikeka was never known as a hunter. Kangwa Samson estimated his age now as in his early sixties, which suggests he was in his mid forties when I recorded his performance.

135The idea of a man and a woman hunting together in the bush can be mostly seen as a fabricated situation, since hunting is among the most strongly gender-marked activities in Bisa, and numerous other, Zambian societies.

136In the repertoire of motifs and situations in Bemba-language tales, characters often find themselves driven by rain to seek some kind of shelter while traveling in the bush. Several Tabwa stories use this basic motif, while developing different plots. (Cancel 1989, pp. 125–128, 142–147)

137Combines Bisa and English to express extreme fatigue: “Baanaka na over.”

138Again, “Twanaka na over.”

139This development is not clearly explained, but it seems that the two hunters must have been speaking to “people” who were either obscured by all the smoke or somehow hidden by the small structure, since the residents are shown to actually be a family of lions.

140There is a more thoroughly detailed variant of this narrative told by a Bemba storyteller, Mr. Katongo Soolo, at Malole. (see Chapter III) In this one, a lion has been shadowing a man’s actions in preparing a garden and, by implication, threatening to take over his farm and maybe even eat him. A Hornbill arrives to threaten the lion family, a boast which is clearly taken seriously, and the lions disappear in a manner similar to the one in Mr. Mwampatisha’s story. On hearing this narrative, Kangwa Samson provided an alternate version, in English. See Postscript in this chapter.

141In the concluding Chapter I will discuss the “realistic” contexts of narratives and how images and characters take on a wider, sometimes mythical, somewhat stock or fixed quality over time and distance.

142Johnny Walker’s actual name is John Kampatika, born around 1957. He was a farmer and, apparently, a good fisherman.

143Lennox Paimolo still lives at Mukupa Village and was for a time a village headman. He had been working with a now-defunct company called “Leopard Ridge Safaris” as a “skinner.” While he was never known as a hunter, he is an accomplished farmer. He was born around 1950.

144While I initially recorded this performer’s name as George Iyapa, Kangwa Samson specified that his name is George Iyambe, born in the Nabwalya area in 1957. In his youth he made a name for himself as a very good hunter. When the management/enforcement program known as ADMADE came to the area, he was hired as first a builder then promoted to the rank of a game scout. At the time of my conversation with Kangwa, Mr. Iyambe was a chief scout at a game camp.

145A similar situation plays out in the tale performed by Mr. Fermit Indita among the Bwile people, in Chapter VI. Here, the main character is aided by his nephew, a half-snake/half-human offspring of his sister’s sexual relationship with a magical serpent. In this case, the nephew saves his uncle from his evil mother and also guides him to a new and prosperous village.

146He uses a combination of Bisa and English, saying “Ci-Hippo.”

147Paul Chandalube was also known to people as “Mabale.” He was born around 1945 and passed away in 2000. His death was attributed by some people to witchcraft, wielded by a specific young man. The suspected culprit was found guilty by a “witchfinder” (mucapi) of killing not only Mr. Chandalube but also other people. He was sentenced, not surprisingly, to work the farm of the witchfinder and pay a large sum of money. Chandalube was mostly a farmer in the area, as well as an occasional fisherman. He’d worked in Zimbabwe when he was a young man. From the time he came to Nabwalya he remained a farmer, supporting two wives.

148See the performance by Mr. Moffat Mulenga, in the village of Kashiba, in the Lunda chapter of this study.

149Kabuswe C. Nabwalya is a son of the late chief, Moloson Kabuswe Nabwalya. He is also known as Petson Nabwalya. He left the village to join a company called “Tudor Conservation.” Afterwards, when back in the village he farmed, and was known as a good hunter. He has recently suffered from some particularly bad luck. His wife was caught by a crocodile and maimed, but survived. Early in 2005, his daughter was taken away and killed by a crocodile. Around a week later, his sister was also taken and killed by a crocodile. He was, at the time I met with Kangwa Samson (2005), a “public scout,” which is a rural version of what is known in other parts of the world as “neighborhood watch,” looking out for and reporting any local illegal activities.

150At that time, Americans Mark and Delia Owens were living in North Luangwa Park and running their own operation to curtail poaching. They were a good example, if in some ways an extreme one, of conservation strategies based mainly on policing game areas by force. The Owens’s methods, which at the time of my visit were being praised by many in the American diplomatic community, were to be seriously questioned later on when a now infamous incident involving the shooting of an unarmed poacher was broadcast internationally in an ABC television documentary, “Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story,” 1996. A more detailed critique of their approach and outcomes is written by Simon Ward (1997). For the Owens’s point of view on their work in Zambia, see Owens 1993. The title suggests their “scientific” approach, which in some ways reads more like Rider Haggard than wildlife conservationists. Now back in the US, they run the Owens Foundation for Wildlife Conservation and also have a website that, among other things, emphasizes their efforts to develop the local economy of Zambians living in the vicinity of their operation in North Luangwa: A 2010 New Yorker article by Jeffrey Goldberg revisits the Owens’ time in Zambia and raises concerns surrounding their methods/tactics. (Goldberg 2010) The magazine published responses in the Owens’ defense in the next issue.

151In 1984 Chief Nabwalya, Mr. Kabuswe Mbuluma, died after being in power for fifty-one years. This set off a long and complicated succession dispute. Mr. Blackson Somo emerged as the victor in the struggle, being appointed Acting Chief in 1988 and finally installed as chief in 1991.

152There is a lot of scholarship on Lunda history, and even broader scholarship on the larger group that migrated into Zambia with the Lunda, the Bemba people. Among the best sources of Lunda history, with an extensive bibliography, is Cunnison’s work, as listed below. His best-known and most detailed monograph is The Luapula Peoples of Northern Rhodesia (1959). Several well-known studies on Bemba culture and history provide details of their earlier migration and political structure. Most convenient, as far as having an extensive bibliography and developing a detailed history from oral and written sources, is A. Roberts 1973. There is, of course, more recent scholarship on these people and areas, notably Gordon 2006, but the earlier works provide a thorough grounding in culture, history and politics from the time of the migrations into Zambia.

153On this trip, for example, I recorded the narratives from Mr. Chipioka Patrick that I discuss in the Tabwa chapter of this study.

154On a return visit to Mkomba, I learned a bit more about Moffat Mulenga. He was born in 1930, which meant he was just over fifty-eight years old when I taped his performance in 1989. He’d lived his whole life in the area, farming and fishing, as many men did. More commonly known as Bashi Mwenya (“Father of Mwenya”) he had eight children and, by the time of my visit in 2005, many grandchildren. He passed away in 1993 at age sixty-three.

155This is a common Kalulu tale and is widely spread in other parts of Africa. Owomoyela summarizes the same tale with the Turtle as trickster for the Yoruba people and other West African groups (2004, p. 476). See also La Pin 1980, p. 336. A version of the tale is discussed in the previous chapter, as told by a Bisa storyteller, Mr. Paul Chandalube.

156See Cancel 1989, pp. 43–45 for an example of this kind of story told among the Tabwa as well as references to versions/variants in other neighboring traditions. The narrative themes focusing on the importance of elders and the challenges that come from precocious adolescents are discussed above in the chapters on Tabwa and Bemba performances.

157Again, during my 2005 visit to Mkomba, I met some of Idon Pandwe’s relatives and found out that he’d died in 2004, at the age of sixty-seven. His style of dress and use of English suggested that he was a bit wealthier and perhaps better educated than his neighbor. In fact, he’d spent a good deal of his life working as a heavy machinery operator on Zambia’s Copperbelt. He came to live in the village after retiring and did a bit of farming and a good deal of fishing. He had a much smaller family than did Moffat Mulenga, and they seemed materially better off than Mr. Mulenga’s.

158See the two versions of this tale performed by Mr. Stanley Kalumba in the Tabwa area and discussed in Chapter III. It is worthwhile noting how each performer externalizes and shapes the familiar images of the tale.

159I’ve made this a recurring assertion in this project. It speaks to the notion of performers seeing beyond an immediate situation to something broader, perhaps more oriented towards the preservation of the event and the individual for future appreciation. A telling incident took place in 2005 when I stayed a night at a guest house in the Luapula town of Kashikishi. It was my second time there, following up on my 2003 trip, and the first time I’d met the owner of the place, as I sat outside on a chair drinking a beer at around 7 PM. He was originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and had come to Zambia with enough money to start some businesses and build and run this rather pleasant place. His English was not overly good, so we spoke in a combination of Bemba and French. My notebook details part of this encounter: “He was fixated on my book; skimming parts and asking a lot of questions. Finally he wanted to know how he could get into the new book. He said he’s read a lot of books but never met anyone who’d actually written one. He says he’s going to write down a really good mulumbe to send me. He wanted to know if I wanted stories of animals or humans and I said either was fine.” I never received anything from him and, ironically, had he given me his name I’d have been able to provide at least a little of the notoriety he was seeking.

160Ms. Kombe seems to first indicate that the family of the dead wife has provided a new wife and performed a rite to absolve the husband of any hand in his spouse’s death. Then she realizes that it’s important that the husband be alone with his younger wife, so that she can continue to harass his first wife, even in death.

161A Tabwa narrative with a different plot but a similar repeated scene of ghosts singing a song to arrogant and combative wives is included in my 1989 monograph. A similar thematic point emerged, whereby ghosts imparted both wisdom and justice regarding improper domestic behavior (Cancel 1989, pp. 45–48).

162Of the four performers I taped at Mkomba in 1989, Ms. Kombe, Bana Luka [Mother of Luka], was the only one still living in 2005. Born in 1936, at the time of our recording session she was fifty-three years old. She had indeed been the elder of two co-wives and managed, it seems, to outlive her husband.

163Women’s initiation in the north of Zambia is most famously detailed in Audrey Richards’ landmark study of Bemba rites, Chisungu (1988). Meagan Vaughan also provides an important contemporary contextualization of Richards’ work on gender in the 1930s (1992). Corbeil contributes a detailed pictorial volume on the symbolic emblems/art works used in the chisungu rites (1982).

164Sawin lists three possibilities: “First, a female performer might persuasively depict or enact an image of women at odds with the society’s naturalized vision of ‘woman’s role.’” (p. 41); Second, the female performer might take on a role or perform a genre conventionally reserved for men, thus claiming for a woman a role that confers prestige and controls ritual knowledge.” (p. 41) “The third possible threat…explores the emotional dimension of the performer/audience relationship. A successful performance moves the audience.” (p. 42)

165In fact, the noise level drowned out around 40% of Ms. Mwape’s words on the video and audio tapes. I’ve chosen to omit her story from this study because of the difficulty in trying to transcribe and translate it. On my return visit in 2005, I found out that Daria Mwape was the wife of Moffat Mulenga, Bana Mwenya.

166In the Bemba narrative told by Elizabeth, the three co-wives each had a certain skill that was used to bring their husband back to life. It would not be difficult to rework this tale into a conundrum narrative, asking at the end which wife had the most important skill or, if the plot was slightly reworked, which of the women deserved to marry the man. In the brief Tabwa conundrum told by Cipioka Patrick, the question centered on the meaning of how a man could marry a woman, have the fetus grow in the mother-in-law’s womb, then have his own mother give birth to the baby. Laudon Ndalazi poses the conundrum about the parts of the buffalo in the Bisa village of Nabwalya. Also at Nabwalya, Lenox Paimolo sets three men’s skills against one another and explains that the farmer was “superior.” Similarly, Kabuswe Nabwalya in his Bisa mulumbe, focuses on four points of advice a father provides his son, then explains what each one means.

167For a broader discussion of Lunda royalty and customs, see Cunnison 1959. See, also, Cancel 2006.

168See Lord 1960 and Ong 1982.

169Sometimes the language draws on forms of the Luba language or what Chiwale and Chinyanta refer to as “Lubanized Bemba.” (1989)

170A Tabwa storyteller, Mr. Datson Kaselekela, performed a tale that similarly explored a saying that pointed to the darker side of humanity, “A human is evil in this world.” The phrase recurred throughout the narrative, as the various characters illustrated the truth of this claim (Cancel 1989, pp. 149–153).

171See Cancel 1989, pp. 129–158.

172Lunda praise songs have been collected, annotated and published by Mr. Chileya J. Chiwale. See, for example, Chiwale 1989. Lunda ethnography and history was seminally compiled and published by Ian Cunnison in the late 1940s and 1950s. There is also the impressive Bemba-language historical text compiled by Mwata Kazembe XIV Chinyanta Nankula, a team of Lunda elders and a “White Father” Catholic priest named Labrecque in the late 1930s and 1940s, Kazembe XIV Chinyanta Nankula and Labreque 1951. This was published in Bemba and later translated by Ian Cunnison under the title of “History on the Luapula“(Cunnison 1951). Macola develops a through discussion of the historical and social circumstances behind this influencial text (2001).

173See stories depicting an attempted “palace coup” in the Times of Zambia and the Zambian Daily Mail after the 1998 succession of the new Kazembe.

174For several hundred years, the peoples of the Luapula Valley and the eastern shore of Lake Mweru have come under varying degrees of Lunda hegemony. This history has been documented in numerous studies, most of them by the colonial era scholar Ian G. Cunnison (1959). The Bwile themselves are more specifically situated in the history of the region in Musambachime 1976, and 1981.

175Chiengi is well documented in the records of the early district notebooks. One of the earliest government officials at this boma was a fascinating and rather tragic character named A. Blair Watson. After his time at Chiengi, he led an expedition to remove the, by then weakened, forces of Msiri (Mushili) from Kilwa Island on Lake Mweru. (A. Watson 1957, pp. 70–74) Soon thereafter, Watson would die mysteriously, apparently by his own hand.

176See Livingstone 1874.

177“The Office of the President” had, for many Zambians, become synonymous with the term “secret police” by 1989. While I had never really had any unpleasant run-ins with members of this bureau, they were the entity most commonly associated with political surveillance and rooting out subversive elements among the citizenry. In my last visit to Chiengi, in 1985, my companion and I aroused the suspicions of the OP officer by simply showing up in such a remote place, near the Zairean border, for what must have seemed the flimsy reason of being on “holiday” and wanting to visit the chief. Mr. Banda, in 1989, was polite though also cautious in respect to my scholarly intentions. He simply accompanied me on my trip to record narrative performances, at one point being kind enough to clarify my request and requirements to the gathering of elders and headmen.

178Chief Puta Kasoma was born in 1914 and took power in 1937. He died at the age of eighty-five. He had worked a bit on the Copperbelt as a businessman before succeeding his uncle, Chief Puta Chongo. Among the ritual specialists he brought to his court to help control attacks by crocodiles and lions, was a well-known practitioner named Chipongola.

179As noted in earlier chapters, the Copperbelt is the region in north central Zambia that borders on the DRC where the nation’s mineral wealth is concentrated, with many mines and dense urban populations. Historically, this has been a ready market for all manner of goods, particularly fish coming from many areas.

180While details of these rites go unspoken, also unspoken is the widely held belief that attacks by crocodiles and lions on humans are, depending on their circumstances, not always the product of natural events. If people are attacked in or near their villages or in apparently safe places, that is, away from the usual hunting grounds of predators, then there is a suspicion of malevolent human intervention. The intervention can take several forms, from sorcerers directing crocodiles or lions to attack specific people, to killing people in a way that resembles attacks by these predators, or even transforming themselves into these deadly animals. (See Cancel 1986, p. 99, for a brief survey on scholarly literature on “lion-men” or “leopard-men,” also a more extensive treatment in A.F. Roberts 1986; and, for a more detailed discussion of this phenomenon as framed in the discourse of “sorcery,” see West 2008.)

181Information gathered in 2005, claims that Mr. Indita’s actual name is Feremu Chisongo Chilindi. He was known as a good, successful fisherman. He was physically impeded by a leg that was described as “not so straight,” and he had a large family. He passed away in 1989 at around sixty years of age.

182In my collection of Tabwa narratives, there are tales that contain elements or motifs of this story. In one tale, recorded in 1983 from Mr. Wilson Katai, a brother and sister living alone are divided by the brother’s violent ingratitude for the sister’s unrelenting care and affection. As she wanders, at one point, wounded and scorned from human society, a magical fish appears from the river and transports her to a new place, where a large and prosperous village is conjured for her to rule. In another, longer narrative, a helpful demon aids the hero on his quest by employing a magical “steamer” a train that can transport them very rapidly from one place to another (on this latter narrative, see Cancel 1988–89, pp. 85–109). A similar version of this tale can be found in Mbele 1999, pp. 66–74.

183For a more detailed discussion of the “passive hero,” see Cancel 1989, pp. 200–205.

184“Relish” is a common English gloss for the Bemba word “umunani,” a meal’s main course of meat, fish or vegetable, usually cooked in a sauce. When people are saying that food is scarce or times are tough, they’ll often say something like “takuli munani,” “there is no relish.”

185In my collection of Tabwa narratives, there is a set of stories that contain similar images. (see Cancel 1989. In particular, NP14, pp. 136–139)

186Information gleaned in 2005 specified that Mr. Kafankwa was a farmer who had moved to the area from far away. He had died while still in his fifties, but no one could remember the year he passed away.

187Mr. Kachela was born around 1920, making him about sixty-nine years old when he performed this tale. He was born close by, in the Tabwa area, and grew up in the Bwile village of Shebele. He mostly made his living from farming and passed away in 1991, near the age of seventy-one.

188See Kalulu story told by Idon Pandwe in Chapter V, where Kalulu is being cheated of his ground nuts crop by his greedy in-laws.

189According to information gathered in 2005, Mr. Kapongwe was born in 1908 and died in 1994, at the age of eighty-six.

190The White Father– English Dictionary has several definitions for the word, including “2. a string trick played by children…”; “3. mystery, unaccountable thing; enigma, riddle, puzzle…”; and “4. a small net which pulls the trigger of a trap…”

191He asserts an etiological relationship between Mutumpa’s indiscretion and the actual Bemba/Bwile word for a stupid person, mutumpa [root word: -tumpa].

192Sichone 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.

193The 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.

194Kashoki’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.

195Responding 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)

196See A. F. Roberts 1997.

197Jackson 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.

198We 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).

199Mills 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.

200These 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.