Oral literature[ edit ] Oral literature or orature may be in prose or verse. The prose is often mythological or historical and can include tales of the trickster character.
Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. Oral traditions and the written word Oral and written storytelling traditions have had a parallel development, and in many ways they have influenced each other.
Ancient Egyptian scribes, early Hausa and Swahili copyists and memorizers, and contemporary writers of popular novellas have been the obvious and crucial transitional figures in the movement from oral to literary traditions.
What happened among the Hausa and Swahili was occurring elsewhere in Africa—among the Fulaniin northern Ghana among the Guangin Senegal among the Tukulor and Wolofand in Madagascar and Somalia. The linkage between oral tradition and the written word is most obviously seen in pulp literature: But the linkage is also a crucial characteristic of more-serious and more-complex fiction.
To be sure, the Arabic, English, French, and Portuguese literary traditions along with Christianity and Islam and other effects of colonialism in Africa also had a dynamic impact on African literature, but African writers adapted those alien traditions and made them their own by placing them into these African classical frames.
History and myth As is the case with the oral tradition, written literature is a combination of the real and the fantastic.
It combines, on the one hand, the real the contemporary world and history the realistic world of the past and, on the other, myth and hero, with metaphor being the agent of transformation.
This is the alchemy of the literary experience. Literature is atomized, fragmented history. Transformation is the crucial activity of the story, its dynamic movement. The writer is examining the relationship of the reader with the world and with history. In the process of this examination, the writer invents characters and events that correspond to history but are not history.
At the centre of the story is myththe fantasy element, a character or event that moves beyond reality, though it is always rooted in the real. In the oral tale this is clearly the fantasy character; so it is, in a complex, refracted way, in written literature.
Myth, which is deeply, intensely emotional, has to do with the gods and creationwith the essence of a belief system; it is the imaged embodiment of a philosophical system, the giving of form to thought and emotion. It is the driving force of a people, that emotional force that defines a people; it is the everlasting form of a culturehence its link to the gods, to the heavens, to the forever.
In mythic imagery is the embodiment of significant emotions—the hopes, fears, dreams, and nightmares—of a people. History—the story of a people, their institutions, and their community—is the way one likes to think things happened, in the real world.
The hero is everyman, moving through a change, a transformation, and so moving into the myth, the essence, of his history. He thereby becomes a part of it, representative of it, embodying the culture.
The hero is everyman with myth inside him. He has been mythicized; story does that.This site proposes an overview of works by female African authors writing in French and others closely associated with Sub-Saharan Africa.
It provides an opportunity to find out more about the authors' life and interests and to get acquainted with their novels, short stories, plays and poetry. African literature is literature of or from Africa and includes oral literature (or "orature", in the term coined by Ugandan scholar Pio Zirimu).
By contrast, continental Europe’s oldest writing, Greek, was not fully in use until c. B.C. (a clay tablet found in Iklaina, Greece) and is largely derived from an older African .
Books shelved as african-writers: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngo.
Wa Thiong’o was imprisoned without trial for over a year by the government for the staging of a politically controversial play; after his release, he committed to writing works only in his native Gikuyi and Swahili, citing language as a key tool for decolonizing the mindset and culture of African readers and writers.
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