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The Hero with an African Face: Mythic Wisdom of Traditional Africa

The Hero with an African Face: Mythic Wisdom of Traditional Africa
Author: Clyde W. Ford
ISBN 13: 9780553378689
ISBN 10: 553378686
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: 2000-01-04
Format: Paperback
Pages: 258
List Price: $17.00

In this remarkable book, Clyde Ford restores to us the lost treasure of African mythology, bringing to life the ancient tales and showing why they matter so much to us today.

African myths convey the perennial wisdom of humanity: the creation of the world, the hero's journey, our relationship with nature, death, and resurrection.  From the Ashanti comes the moving account of the grief-stricken Kwasi Benefo's journey to the underworld to seek his beloved wives.  From Uganda we learn of the legendary Kintu, who won the love of a goddess and created a nation from a handful of isolated clans.  The Congo's epic hero Mwindo is the sacred warrior who shows us the path each person must travel to discover his true destiny.

These and other important African myths show us the history of African Americans in a new light—as a hero's journey, a courageous passage to a hard-won victory.  The Hero with an African Face enriches us all by restoring this vital tradition to the world.


African American history is explored through African mythology in this accessible and engaging book. Ford applies the image of the hero's journey as the common thread for the various themes and illustrates his points with elements found in the mythologies of many African cultures. (Encourage readers not to skip the Introduction, in which he presents his thesis.) He divides his topic into concrete themes, setting off the actual myths with decorative bullets, and his retellings are lucid and lively, as is his commentary. Ford documents his work meticulously, including a map of the people and myths of Africa, pronunciation of African words, a list of the watermarks used in the text, and a list of illustrations and tables, notes, a bibliography and an index. The book is handsomely put together, with creamy pages and clear dark brown type. This book would enhance curricula featuring African American studies, history or mythology as well as providing enlightening insight into both African and African American culture. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Bantam, 227p, 24cm, 98-24162, $15.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Donna L. Scanlon; Children's Libn., Lancaster Area Lib., Lancaster, PA, July 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 4)