n Historia - Engrossing example of the new narrative history
A Living Man from Africa: Jan Tzatoe, Xhosa Chief and Missionary, and the Making of Nineteenth-Century South Africa, R.S. Levine : book review

Volume 56, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Roger Levine's biography of Jan Tzatoe, Xhosa chief and missionary, is a welcome addition to the growing canon of biographies of African intellectuals emanating from southern African historical studies in recent months. Written in the mould of the "new narrative history", the literary techniques employed by the author are as intriguing as the life experiences of the protagonist, Tzatoe; such that is simultaneously engrossing for the content it conveys and for how it does so. In this work, the story and the style of story-telling are inseparable; together they provide a valuable glimpse into the possibilities of history writing which are more engaging, and perhaps even more entertaining, than traditional history writing methods. For this Levine should be commended.

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