Narrated culture and narrative culture among the Mwera in Southeast Tanzania
Reuster-Jahn has recorded several lines of narration comprising 62 narrations altogether. From these, three lines of narration with 29 narrations have been selected for the book. Since the stories do not come from ´natural contexts´ the authoress has chosen narrations from different situational contexts, in order to identify general features of performance and individual difference. Thus, she can distinguish between performances of a rather official character as against ones of less official character. Reuster-Jahn has asked the narrators to speak in Mwera language (although two narrations are partly in Swahili), the presentation in the book is both in original language and German translation, altogether about 300 pages. Because of the performative character of the texts, the phonetic utterances of the whole audience are included in the transcripts. Reuster-Jahn introduces her approach and method, describes in a short ethnography the Mwera on the basis of their narrative texts, categorizes topics of the narrations as well as their structure and tradition, and two chapters deal with the performative, dramatizing aspect and narration (narrating traditional stories - ndango) as an interactive process. Reuster-Jahn has found that the Mwera interpret their stories in the light of the present situation, and that exactly transcribed texts may serve as source material for socio-linguistic and pragmatic research. The textual structure of ndango is formular-like, and the audience shares the narrator´s viewpoint, an important community function. The interaction has three roles: narrator, respondent, and audience, where the respondent is an exponent of the listening audience - he is an exponent of the listeners and, as the direct addressee of the narrator, responsible for listener-feedback.
Keywords: ndango, narration among Mwera, performance and narration, transcripts of Mwera stories, stories of Mwera, audience-narrator relation