Afrikaans stories of Jackal and Hyena: Oral and written traditions




African oral literature, Afrikaans children's literature, authorship, jackals and hyenas


This paper scrutinizes two wild relatives of dogs, namely jackals and hyenas, who feature prominently in Afrikaans children’s literature by way of African oral tradition, specifically Khoi oral literature. The stories of Jakkals (Jackal) and Wolf (Hyena) illustrate the ways in which Khoi orature found its way into Afrikaans (children’s) literature in a gradual process culminating in appropriation. The paper shows how Afrikaans literary scholars charted this process and what mechanisms they employed to diminish the role played by the original Khoi storytellers—a denial of the context in which the stories were created that persists until today. Apart from reference to a separate oral tradition of Jackal and Hyena stories that developed amongst white Afrikaans speakers, the specific focus of the paper is on the Afrikaans animal tales published by G. R. von Wielligh since all later publications by other authors draw on the Von Wielligh stories to an extent. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research that departs from outmoded approaches to African oral literature.


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Author Biography

Jacomien van Niekerk, University of Pretoria, Pretoria

Department of Afrikaans, Lecturer


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How to Cite

van Niekerk, J. (2018). Afrikaans stories of Jackal and Hyena: Oral and written traditions. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 55(3), 80–95.



Research articles