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Mermaids and Mermen-Njuzu Myths among the Shona of Zimbabwe (Anglais) Broché – 4 octobre 2015


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Présentation de l'éditeur

The author chose the subject of mermaids (njuzu) because there is something interesting in the njuzu mystery. As the reader will discover, Shona myths about njuzu make very interesting reading as they seem to answer some questions related to the mysterious nature of njuzu. The word myth has been given different meanings. In common use, the word has been used to refer to untrue or fictitious stories. In this sense, myths are defined as stories not based on reality but the people’s imaginations. In this book, however, the term is used with a specialised meaning which it has in religious studies. In religious studies, myths have been viewed as sacred narratives that reveal ultimate truth and realities (Eiade,1959:14).The special sense of the word myth was also noted by Aschwanden(1989) who observed that to the Karanga, mythology is experienced reality. Aschwanden’s observation about the Karanga view on mythology equally applies to the Shona in general. To the Shona therefore, myths are an aspect of reality. The basis of njuzu myths are the lived experiences of the Shona people. To the Shona, njuzu myths are understood in a specialised religious sense which associates myths and reality. Thus, njuzu myths are taken seriously by the Shona. Some of the njuzu myths in this book are based on dreams. The Shona take their dreams seriously. Njuzu related dreams are therefore regarded by the Shona as part of lived reality. Hence, we find some Shona who give testimonies about njuzu based on their dreams. Available literature indicates that myths about mermaids are a culturally universal phenomenon going back to time immemorial. Myths about this legendary creature are found in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, America, the Far East and Africa.Different cultural groups have different names for this largely aquatic creature .It is called merrow by the Irish, Mami Wata by the West Africans, rusakals by the Russians and naiads by the Greeks. In Southern Africa’ mermaids are referred to as Abantubomlambo by the Xhosa of South Africa (Elliot, 1970) and njuzu or nzuzu by the Shona of Zimbabwe (Gelfand, 1979). The word njuzu or nzuzu is used in singular or plural form. Thus, the Shona, like other cultural groups the world over, have myths related to mermaids and mermen.....

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