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Download Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Nelson Mandelas Favorite African Folktales Audiobook, by Nelson Mandela Click for printable size audiobook cover
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Winner of the 2010 Audie for Audiobook of the Year, Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales is an extraordinary audiobook featuring Gillian Anderson, Benjamin Bratt, LeVar Burton, Ricardo Chavira, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Hayes, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Scarlett Johansson,Debra Messing, Helen Mirren, Parminder Nagra, Sophie Okonedo, CCH Pounder, Alan Rickman, Jurnee Smollett, Charlize Theron, Blair Underwood, Forest Whitaker, and Alfre Woodard, with a special message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and original music by South African legends by Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela, directed by Alfre Woodard. The audiobook was a truly international affair, recorded in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, and Johannesburg. The stories were chosen by the Nobel Laureate himself, from every region of Africa.

“We hope this audiobook will be enjoyed by people of all ages across the globe, increasing awareness of Africa’s rich cultures while creating a better future for South Africa’s most vulnerable children,” said ANSA executive director Sharon Gelman.

In his original foreword for the folktales, Nelson Mandela wrote, “It is my wish that the voice of the storyteller may never die in Africa, that all the children of the world may experience the wonder of books.” The audiobook brings his vision full circle, as these timeless tales return to the oral tradition to be heard around the world.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A treasure for everyone in the family.”

    Bill Cosby

  • “In tales such as these, the dream-like, unpredictable symbology and sometimes cruel morality of myths resonate, and, in Mandela’s words, the ‘gritty essence of Africa’ shines through in stories with universal themes.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This is a rich collection.” 

    School Library Journal

  • “The African landscape plays a vital role in each of these thirty-two lively folktales.” 

    Booklist

  • Winner of the Audie Award Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roberta | 2/19/2014

    " I listened to rather than read these African tales, narrated by artists such as Matt Damon, Whoopi Golberg, and Alan Rickman. They were introduced by Desmond Tutu. I have been a storyteller and especially enjoyed the stories which seemed familiar to me, such as the story of the hare, Hlakanyana, so much like Brer Rabbit. Though you may not care for all of the tales, this audio book has much to enjoy with the variety of readers and really nice music. One of my favorite parts was Whoopi Goldberg reading "Asmodeus and the Bottler of Djinns" (or geniis). Proceeds of this project benefit South African children impacted by AIDS. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean | 2/15/2014

    " Makes for great listening. Interspersed with African music and read by familiar voices, this is entertaining and educational. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carlotta* | 2/8/2014

    " Menzione speciale per l'ultima fiaba, "La madre che divenne polvere", davvero bellissima. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 2/4/2014

    " This would be a great book for children. I enjoyed the stories from a cultural perspective, more so than from a moralistic one. Obviously, the problem being that I'm a little too old for childish preaching. But, I would love to read this book to my children someday. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 1/29/2014

    " I listened to the audiobook read by a series of all-star actors and actresses. Some of the folktales are bizarre and hard to follow for a Westerner like me. One is very much like Kipling's Just So Stories that explains why the animals are the way they are. The ones I liked best involves jinns, sultans, weddings, and wizards. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meneesha Govender | 1/19/2014

    " Still love reading these classic stories to my kids. They love them too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 1/11/2014

    " What a wonderful collection of parabels/ folktales. I read it on audiobook so the stories are really brought to life with african music and wonderful readers with accents and drama. Definitely do the audio version on this one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 1/6/2014

    " My children enjoyed these stories pretty good. Some where better than others. I highly recommend the audio version if you can get it as it has different readers for the stories as well as traditional African music with some of the stories (and at the end there are several songs). It's great culturally because we were comparing some fairy tales and folktales we know that are similar to ones in this book. Plus, it gives insight into the religion and values of the African people. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 TC | 12/31/2013

    " This is a nice collection of stories narrated by a number of different famous actors. The audio is highlighted with african music as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alicia | 12/18/2013

    " I listened to the audio, which had some interesting celebrities narrating each short tale. Some of the stories were too brief and would have benefited from further fleshing out, but the bones of each tale were strong and distinct. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 12/1/2013

    " These folktales surprised me at their universality. I enjoyed listening and relistening to them. Just the right length to absorb the messages, and sometimes very fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toni | 11/30/2013

    " Incredibly charming audio book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 11/16/2013

    " A wonderful listen (audiobook) thus far. The narrators really bring the stories to life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bruce Fieggen | 10/20/2013

    " I liked the first story the best "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn | 10/9/2013

    " Enjoyable although some folktales are a bit rough. May not be suitable for young children. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ivy | 9/18/2013

    " Wonderful tales for the cultured soul at any age "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 8/5/2013

    " Very Aesop's Fable-y. Possibly the best train reading ever in terms of the huge type and length of each folktale. Quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sher | 4/26/2013

    " I enjoyed reading these little stories. They have a delicious African flavor, and teach a good moral in the process. Sometimes it is nice not to have to think too hard about what I am reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 6/15/2012

    " The audiobook was amazingly well done. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan | 3/19/2012

    " This book is full of folklore from all around the African continent. I highly recommend it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taneka | 2/9/2012

    " I loved this book especially the audio version. So many great artists. Samuel L. Jackson, Matt Damon, Alan Rickman, Whoopi Goldberg, etc. I recommend this to anyone with young kids. It is a great rainy day book to read/listen to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shivering William | 12/5/2011

    " A little inconsistent, but there are quite a few treasures to be found here. I suggest getting the audiobook. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trey Hoffman | 9/19/2011

    " Great audio book for the readers, content didn't live up to expectations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 6/29/2011

    " Very fun little stories. Since each story is about 10 minutes long, I'll play one before silent reading time sometimes to set the tone for reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/9/2011

    " Wow! I very much enjoyed this collection of African folktales. Thirty-two of Mandela's best folktales are included in this book. I recommend this book for older elementary or middle school-aged children. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 3/4/2011

    " The audiobook was amazingly well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 2/21/2011

    " Very fun little stories. Since each story is about 10 minutes long, I'll play one before silent reading time sometimes to set the tone for reading.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 TC | 1/8/2011

    " This is a nice collection of stories narrated by a number of different famous actors. The audio is highlighted with african music as well. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bruce | 10/29/2010

    " I liked the first story the best "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 10/28/2010

    " This would be a great book for children. I enjoyed the stories from a cultural perspective, more so than from a moralistic one. Obviously, the problem being that I'm a little too old for childish preaching. But, I would love to read this book to my children someday. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taneka | 10/8/2010

    " I loved this book especially the audio version. So many great artists. Samuel L. Jackson, Matt Damon, Alan Rickman, Whoopi Goldberg, etc. I recommend this to anyone with young kids. It is a great rainy day book to read/listen to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 8/8/2010

    " What a wonderful collection of parabels/ folktales. I read it on audiobook so the stories are really brought to life with african music and wonderful readers with accents and drama. Definitely do the audio version on this one! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 4/17/2010

    " These folktales surprised me at their universality. I enjoyed listening and relistening to them. Just the right length to absorb the messages, and sometimes very fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn | 10/30/2009

    " Enjoyable although some folktales are a bit rough. May not be suitable for young children. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 6/30/2009

    " Very Aesop's Fable-y. Possibly the best train reading ever in terms of the huge type and length of each folktale. Quick read. "

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About the Author
Author Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela became the first freely elected president of South Africa in 1994. He gained popularity while in prison for being a prominent member of the African National Congress and became a leading figure in the antiapartheid movement. He is the author of numerous works, including the New York Times bestseller Conversations with Myself, as well as his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Mandela has received many accolades and awards worldwide, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former president George W. Bush.

About the Narrators

Matt Damon is an award-winning movie actor and writer. He has been nominated many dozens of times for awards for his film roles and has won twenty-five awards, including an Academy, a Golden Globe, the Humanitas Prize, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His Oscar win was for Best Original Screenplay, which he wrote for Good Will Hunting. He has also appeared on television in Will & Grace, Entourage, and 30 Rock, which earned him an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actor. As an audiobook narrator, he was among the cast of narrators of Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales, which was the 2010 winner of the prestigious Audiobook of the Year Award, top honor from the Audio Publishers Association.

Scarlett Johansson is an actress best known for her work in films like Lost in Translation, The Nanny Diaries, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Avengers, and Hitchcock. She began acting as a child, and her role in the movie The Horse Whisperer brought her critical acclaim at the age of thirteen. Also a singer, Johansson released her first album in 2008 with musician Pete Yorn.

Whoopi Goldberg is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy, the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the Emmy, and a Tony. Currently she is the moderator of ABC’s The View. Whoopi is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse, and the battle against AIDS. Among her many charitable activities, Whoopi is a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations.

Dame Helen Lydia Mirren is an award-winning English actor of stage, screen, and television. She began her acting career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967 and is one of the few performers who have achieved the triple crown of acting, having won the movie industry’s Academy Award for Best Actress, Broadway’s Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, and television’s Emmy Award for her performance as police detective Jane Tennison on the acclaimed series Prime Suspect. She is also an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator.

Gillian Anderson is an award-winning film, television, and theater actor and producer, writer, and activist. Her acting credits include the roles of Special Agent Dana Scully in the long-running and critically acclaimed drama series The X-Files, ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in The House of Mirth, and Lady Dedlock in the BBC production of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. She also plays the role of Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in Hannibal and is a costar on the television thriller Crisis.

Forest Whitaker is an American actor, producer, and director. He has earned a reputation for intensive character study work for films such as Bird and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and for his recurring role as ex-LAPD Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh on the award-winning television series, The Shield. He won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell began her career as a child actress appearing on television sitcoms and starring in Eve’s Bayou, which won her a Critic’s Choice Award. More recently she has starred on Friday Night Lights and is currently starring on WGN’s Underground.

Blair Underwood is an author and award-winning actor, director, and producer. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Debra Messing is a widely recognized American actress, seen in such roles as Will and Grace and Smash. Throughout her career, she has received multiple Golden Globe, Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. In 1986 he was elected archbishop of Cape Town, the highest position in the Anglican Church in South Africa. In 1994, after the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela, Tutu was appointed as chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate apartheid-era crimes. His policy of forgiveness and reconciliation has become an international example of conflict resolution and a trusted method of postconflict reconstruction. He is currently the chair of the Elders, where he gives vocal defense of human rights and campaigns for the oppressed.

Alan Rickman is a renowned, award-winning stage and film actor. His breakout performance was as the Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Rickman is known for his film performances in Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Harry Potter film series, Michael Collins, and Dogma. He has won a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He has also garnered two Tony Award nominations.