The People of Kau

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The People of Kau
Author Leni Riefenstahl
Original title Die Nuba von Kau
Translator J. Maxwell Brownjohn
Illustrator Leni Riefenstahl
Country United States, Germany
Language English (translated), German
Genre Illustrations

List (Germany)

St. Martin's Press (US)
Publication date
Published in English
1976 and 1997
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 224
ISBN 0-312-16963-9
OCLC 36842357
306/.089965 21
LC Class DT155.2.N82 R5413 1997
Preceded by 'Die Nuba'
Followed by 'Korallengärten'

The People of Kau is the title of the 1976 English-language translation of German film director Leni Riefenstahl's Die Nuba von Kau , an illustrations book published in the same year in Germany. The book was an international bestseller and is a follow-up to her earlier successful 1973 book Die Nuba.[1]


This is a photographic monograph on the life of the people of Kau. Leni Riefenstahl spent 16 weeks with the Nuba of Kau in 1975. These people, known as the "South East Nuba", live only 100 miles away from the Mesakin Nuba. Yet, they speak another language, follow different customs, and are very different in character and temperament. The knife-fights, dances of love and elaborately painted faces and bodies are photographed in the book.


The book was well received both commercially and critically. The photographs were recently republished along with those of The Last of the Nuba and Vanishing Africa in the 2002 book, Africa by Leni Riefentstahl. The collection garnered positive reviews;

"A big, black Mercedez-Benz of a book.... Ideology aside, the pictures are hard to resist, combining all the voyeuristic pleasures of National Geographic-style anthropology with an unequivocal appreciation of the innate grace and symmetry of the human form... Riefenstahl`s photographs preserve a mythic vision of this Eden before the fall, a romantic lost world, captured in images as powerfully seductive as the artist herself." V Magazine[2]

"A magnificent collection and a fitting celebration of this formidable artist's 100th birthday." The Times Higher Education Supplement[2]

"an imposing collection". Newsweek[2]


Together with her other published photographs of the Nuba, several photographs from the book were showcased in the 1993 documentary, The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl. For the first time, Riefenstahl's extensive footage of the Nuba was also shown to the public for the first time in the film.


  1. ^ Leni Riefenstahl (obituary) The Times. 10 September 2003
  2. ^ a b c Leni Riefenstahl - Africa- Reviews Taschen. 2000