Gezani and the Tricky Baboon –  Valanga  Khoza & Sally Rippin


Ford St Publishing

9781925000740 (hardcover)
9781925000757 (paperback)
Publication date:
November 2014 (hardcover)
February (paperback)
Extent: 32 pages
Format: Picture book Landscape 236 x 236
$22.95 (hardcover)
$14.95 (paperback)
Category: Folklore
Age guide: 4 – 7 years


Valanga Khoza is a successful performer, originally from the Limpopo province in South Africa – sharing stories, songs and dance with his touring show ‘Out of Africa’. Valanga grew up in a community where few people could read or write so storying telling, music and dancing were integral aspects of the culture of his people. His performing is a way of keeping that culture alive and accessible to all.

In this colourful picture book, ably illustrated by the talented Sally Rippin, Khoza retells a traditional story of a little boy, Gezani, who is tricked by the wily Baboon but learns a valuable lesson and repays Baboon in kind.

Gezani’s grandfather sends him on an errand to deliver some bananas to his cousins. The boy sets off happy and proud to be trusted but is waylaid by Baboon, who plays on the boy’s compassion by telling Gezani that he is injured and thirsty. When Gezani goes to fetch Baboon some water, leaving him to mind the bananas, you can well guess what happens!

Downcast and ashamed of being so miserably fooled Gezani returns home to his grandfather’s scolding and the hooting jeers of his family and village. Gezani makes up his mind to play a trick on Baboon in return and comes up with a very clever plan.  He entices Baboon to a farmer’s field filled with luscious peanuts and when that naughty animal is busy stuffing himself with the nuts, Gezani slyly ties Baboon’s tail to the fence – and then alerts the farmer to the fact that his crop is being robbed, with dire results for Baboon. What’s that you say? Baboons have no tails? And now you will know why not!

A terrific book for sharing cultures from other countries, in line with the AC Literature strand – as well as just for fun!

Highly recommended for children Prep and up.

Find out more about Valanga here and listen to him here.



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