Penn State

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley - associate professor of English, Penn State Altoona

Book Title: Chaka

Author: Thomas Mofolo

Book Description:

I chose Chaka, the fiction-mixed-with-facts version of the life of the great Zulu chief, Shaka, because of Mofolo's exploration of the life of one of the greatest, if not the greatest of African Kings before Colonialism. Mofolo uses myth and the oral traditional style, influenced by the African oral tradition, to tell of the great historical connections of today's African people and their heritage. This story was introduced to me in high school by my English teacher who taught the story with the expertise of an African English teacher. She focused on the great achievements of our past heroes. After my first contact with the novel, I wanted to one day become a writer that could use oral tradition and contemporary style to bring the life of my people to life. I believe it is one of the best books of the 20th century.


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