A deeply imaginative read

Nomsa Mdlalose reviews Inkosana Encane by Antoine De Saint-Exupery and translated to Zulu by Sibusiso Hyacinth Madondo (STE Publishers) R80

his book is a brief autobiography of the author, of his journey of personal revolution. Although it is a picture-book aimed at children, the author communicates with both children and adults on an equal level and it qualifies for all age groups.

In addition, it engages the reader on a deep imaginative level and poses a challenge on the intellectual realm.

It brings home the message of adults’ disconnection from nature. The author states that because adults are concerned only with what they see and disregard what is outside their visual periphery, they are out of touch with the universe. According to the author, this is one of the reasons for adults’ unhappy state of life.

Zulu translation of the book and the author’s narrative style project the spiritual components of humanity. The spiritual theme is articulated in various scenes, for example, the roses on earth are compared with the prince’s rose, which talks and is emotionally connected to him.


The book is easy to read and understand, because of its comfortable typography and simplicity of language. Whether the little prince is an archetypal character or based on reality, the author’s linguistic ability communicates the point of the book coherently through metaphoric figures. The use of Zulu proverbs and idioms clarifies the body of work and facilitates the construction of meaning.

It is suggested, however, that the descriptive “feeling words” could have been used more to enhance the emotional flow of the book.

Inkosana Encane is recommended for every reader who does not believe in the magical world and to every child who feels left out in this adult world.

Nomsa Mdlalose is a professional storyteller and a Carnegie Scholar in resident attached to the Writing Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

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