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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

On-line version ISSN 2309-9070


EL-NOUR, Eiman Abbas H.. Not just a pretty face: women as storytellers and subjects in the folktales of Northern Sudan. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2011, vol.48, n.2, pp. 171-185. ISSN 2309-9070.

Like fairytales in many other cultures, the folktales of Northern Sudan are not only reflective of the deepest aspects of culture, but also major formative influences on it. However, a central and often overlooked feature of these stories is the role women played as narrators and performers, and the related centrality of female figures within the narrative. In most of the popular stories, the heroine is the one who has all the action, and is not just the pretty girl who awaits her prince. In fact she is self-sufficient, and it is the handsome and valiant prince who figures as an extra. The heroine is always intelligent, resourceful, wily and at times even brutal, but is she who saves the day and performs the needed tricks to save lives and conquer evil. It is only then that she is rewarded with the handsome prince as her prize. It looks like the perfect revenge of women against a patriarchal society which denies them such roles.

Keywords : Northern Sudan; Sudanese folktales (ahaji ); women storytellers.

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