THE CONTRIBUTION OF LITERATURE IN MODERN AFRICAN SOCIETY

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

The term literature is used to describe written, spoken materials. Broadly speaking, literature is used to describe anything from creative writing to more technical or scientific works, but the term is most commonly used to refer to works of the creative imaginations, including works of poetry, drama, fiction, prose and non-fiction (Alfred David, 1997). African literature consists of body of work in different languages and various genres, ranging from oral literature to literature written in colonial languages (French, Portuguese, and English). Oral literatures including stories, drama, riddles, histories, myths, songs, proverbs and other expressions is frequently employed to educate and entertain children. Oral histories, myths and proverbs additionally serve to remind whole communities of their ancestors, heroic deeds, their past and the precedents for their customs and traditions. Essentials to oral literature is a concern for presentation and oratory, folktales tellers use calls response techniques a griot (praise singer) will accompany a narrative with music. Some of the first African writings to gain attention in the west were the poignant slaves narrative, such as the “interesting narrative of the life and adventures of Olaudah Equiano, the African” (1979) which described vividly the horrors of slavery and the slave trade.

As Africans became literate in their languages, they oen reacted against colonial repression in their writings. Others looked to their own past for subjects. Thomas Mofolo, for example wrote “Hake” (1931) about Zulu who was a famous military leader, in susuto. Literature in African contemporary is as old as mankind itself since Africans have for ages through this vehicle of literature passed information’s from generation to generation most especially that, involving the preservation of her cultures, tradition, religious and other spheres of life. One will be very right to say that literature in African began as man became conscious of himself and the nature has whole and this has been of enormous contributions to Africans education before and after embracing western education. In contact with the colonial education, literature in Africa has taken a much different dimensions (Gabriel, E., 2010). The western education has not only influenced African literature but also subjected most Africans leaving their literature to adopting European ways of life. Post African independent, many African scholars like Wole Soyinka (first African to win noble prize in literature) has through western education presented the African literature to the world at large noting that Africa has her literature before the advent of the colonial masters.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

There are different ways Africans have presented their literatures and they include: Autobiography: This is the story of a persons life written or told by that person. Bill Peet, an autobiography. Biography: This is the story of a persons life written by another persons. Eleanor by Babara Cooney Fable: This is a story that teaches a moral or lesson. It often has animal characters. “The Tortoise and the Hare. Fantasy: Novels are often set in words much different from our own and usually include magic, sorcery and mythical creatures. “The Harry potter series by J. K. Prowling”. Folktales: This is a story that has been passed down, usually orally, within a culture. It may be based on superstition and feature supernatural characters. Folktales include fairly tales, tall tales, tricksters and other stories passed down over generations (Hansel, and Gretel). Legend: it is a story that has been handed down over generations and it is believed to be based on history, though it typically mixes facts and fiction. The hero of a legend is usually a human. “King Arthur and the Round-table”. Myth: This is a traditional story that a particular culture of group once accepted as sacred and true. It may center on a good or supernatural being and explain how something came to be such and lightening or music or the world itself. Science fiction: Stories examine how science and technology affect the world. The book often involves fantasy that may be reality in the future.

THE CONTRIBUTION OF LITERATURE IN MODERN AFRICAN SOCIETY