African literature is literature of or from Africa and includes oral literature or " orature ", in the term coined by Ugandan scholar Pio Zirimu.
As George Joseph notes in his chapter on African literature in Understanding Contemporary Africa , whereas European views of literature often stressed a separation of art and content, African awareness is inclusive:. Oral literature or orature may be in prose or verse.
Oral Literature in Africa
The prose is often mythological or historical and can include tales of the trickster character. Storytellers in Africa sometimes use call-and-response techniques to tell their stories. Poetry, often sung, includes: narrative epic , occupational verse , ritual verse, praise poems of rulers and other prominent people.
Praise singers, bards sometimes known as " griots ", tell their stories with music .
Also recited, often sung, are love songs , work songs , children's songs , along with epigrams , proverbs and riddles. These oral traditions exist in many languages including Fula , Swahili , Hausa , and Wolof . In Algeria , oral poetry was an important part of Berber traditions when the majority of the population was illiterate.
These poems, called Isefra , were used for aspects of both religious and secular life.
Oral Literature in Africa
The religious poems included devotions, prophetic stories, and poems honoring saints. The secular poetry could be about celebrations like births and weddings, or accounts of heroic warriors .
As another example, in Mali , oral literature or folktales continue to be broadcast on the radio in the native language Booma. Examples of pre-colonial African literature are numerous. In Ethiopia , there is a substantial literature written in Ge'ez going back at least to the fourth century AD; the best-known work in this tradition is the Kebra Negast , or "Book of Kings.
Oral literature in africa pdf
From Timbuktu alone, there are an estimated , or more manuscripts tucked away in various libraries and private collections,  mostly written in Arabic but some in the native languages namely Fula and Songhai.
The material covers a wide array of topics, including astronomy, poetry, law, history, faith, politics, and philosophy. Medieval north Africa boasted universities such as those of Fes and Cairo , with copious amounts of literature to supplement them.
The African works best known in the West from the periods of colonization and the slave trade are primarily slave narratives , such as Olaudah Equiano 's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano In the colonial period, Africans exposed to Western languages began to write in those tongues. During this period, African plays written in English began to emerge.
Among the first pieces of African literature to receive significant worldwide critical acclaim was Things Fall Apart , by Chinua Achebe.
Published in , late in the colonial era, Things Fall Apart analyzed the effect of colonialism on traditional African society. For many writers this emphasis was not restricted to their publishing.
Many, indeed, suffered deeply and directly: censured for casting aside his artistic responsibilities in order to participate actively in warfare, Christopher Okigbo was killed in battle for Biafra against the Nigerian movement of the s' civil war ; Mongane Wally Serote was detained under South Africa's Terrorism Act No 83 of between and , and subsequently released without ever having stood trial; in London in , his countryman Arthur Norje committed suicide; Malawi 's Jack Mapanje was incarcerated with neither charge nor trial because of an off-hand remark at a university pub; and, in , Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by the Nigerian junta.
With liberation and increased literacy since most African nations gained their independence in the s and s, African literature has grown dramatically in quantity and in recognition, with numerous African works appearing in Western academic curricula and on "best of" lists compiled at the end of the 20th century.
African writers in this period wrote both in Western languages notably English , French , and Portuguese and in traditional African languages such as Hausa. Ali A. Mazrui and others mention seven conflicts as themes: the clash between Africa's past and present, between tradition and modernity, between indigenous and foreign, between individualism and community, between socialism and capitalism, between development and self-reliance and between Africanity and humanity.
Female writers are today far better represented in published African literature than they were prior to independence.
The Black Mind: A History of African Literature
In , Wole Soyinka became the first post-independence African writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature. Previously, Algerian -born Albert Camus had been awarded the prize in There are a lot of literary productions in Africa since the beginning of the current decade , even though readers do not always follow in large numbers.
The case of the Grand Prix of Literary Associations is quite illustrative. Inaugurated in and running till , the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa was presented for the outstanding work of the year published in Africa.
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What is ORAL LITERATURE? What does ORAL LITERATURE mean? ORAL LITERATURE meaning & definition
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