Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters
by John Steptoe (Author, Illustrator)
An African Folk Tale
In a small village somewhere in Africa, a man named Mufaro had two very beautiful daughters, Manyara and Nyasha. Everyone agreed that the girls were very beautiful and Mufaro was a proud father.
But the two girls were very different in personalities. While Nyasha was kind, considerate and caring, Manyara was rude, selfish and bad-tempered. Manyara knew that the villagers favored Nyasha for her gentle nature and was extremely jealous of her sister. When their father was working, Manyara took every opportunity to be mean to her sister and put her down.
One fine day, the king who lived in the neighboring city declared that he was looking for a wife and invited “The most worthy and beautiful daughters” to present themselves before him. Mufaro decides that both his daughters should present themselves to the king. Manyara, however, has other plans. She wants to reach the city before her sister does, to get an advantage over her sister.
So Manyara sets out in the middle of the night, hoping to reach the city before her sister. What happens next? On a magical journey through the forest, Manyara learns that all is not what it seems.
“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is a story of test of character. It builds upon themes such as sibling rivalry and jealousies. Beautifully illustrated, this Zimbabwean folk tale is memorable. A folk tale with a great moral to learn from and a story that is stunningly illustrated captures the essence of the African culture. Steptoe’s illustrations have an element of realism to them. He does a superb job of introducing the culture, lifestyle, the flora and fauna of the region.
A delightful story, enchanting plot and engaging illustrations. A making of a perfect Folk tale!