African Oral and Precolonial Literature
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African Oral and Precolonial Literature

Test your knowledge of African literature, its origins, and forms of oral expressions, including folk stories, myths, proverbs, and more. Explore how these works are used to educate and entertain children, as well as preserve community histories and values.

Created by
@NoteworthyRainforest

Questions and Answers

What is a key difference between European and African views of literature?

African literature is inclusive, while European literature separates art from content.

What is the primary purpose of African writers, according to the text?

To communicate important truths and information to society

What is the term used by Ugandan scholar Pio Zirimu to describe oral literature?

Orature

What is a common technique used by African storytellers?

<p>Call-and-response</p> Signup and view all the answers

What type of poem is often sung in African oral tradition?

<p>Narrative epic</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is the term used to describe the praise singers or bards in African oral tradition?

<p>Griots</p> Signup and view all the answers

What was the primary purpose of Isefra poems in Berber traditions?

<p>To honor saints and tell prophetic stories</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is a common theme found in African literature during the colonial period?

<p>Liberation and independence</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is the name of the ancient Semitic language in which a substantial literature was written in Ethiopia?

<p>Ge'ez</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is the primary purpose of African oral histories, myths, and proverbs?

<p>To remind whole communities of their ancestors' heroic deeds and past</p> Signup and view all the answers

What technique do folktale tellers frequently use in African oral tradition?

<p>Call-response techniques</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is a popular form of traditional African storytelling?

<p>Trickster stories</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is the significance of Ancient Egypt in the development of African literature?

<p>It laid the foundations for African literature with hieroglyphs</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is the name of the spider trickster in Ashanti folklore of Ghana?

<p>Anansi</p> Signup and view all the answers

During which time period did African literature increasingly focus on themes of liberation and independence?

<p>Colonial period</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is the role of a griot in African oral tradition?

<p>A praise singer accompanied by a narrative with music</p> Signup and view all the answers

How did Arabic poetry influence African literature?

<p>It led to the development of a unique literary form that blended African and Arabic cultures</p> Signup and view all the answers

What is the result of the blending of African, Arabic, and European cultures and literature?

<p>A unique literary form that blends different cultural influences</p> Signup and view all the answers

Study Notes

  • African literature originates from oral literature, including folk stories, dramas, riddles, histories, myths, songs, proverbs, and other expressions.
  • Oral literary works educate and entertain children, and also serve to remind communities of their ancestors' heroic deeds, past, and customs.
  • African oral literature emphasizes presentation and oratory, with techniques like call-response and music accompaniment by griots (praise singers).
  • The roots of African literature date back thousands of years to Ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs, which led to Arabic poetry during the Arab conquest of Egypt in the seventh century C.E.
  • Arabic poetry spread through Western Africa in the ninth century C.E. and blended with European culture and literature to form a unique literary form.
  • African literature combines art and teaching, using beauty to communicate important truths and information to society, rather than separating art and content.
  • Oral literature can be in prose or verse, with prose often being mythological or historical, including tales of the trickster character.
  • Storytellers use call-and-response techniques, and poetry is often sung, including narrative epic, occupational verse, ritual verse, and praise poems.
  • Praise singers, bards, or griots tell stories with music, and oral traditions exist in many languages, including Fula, Swahili, Hausa, and Wolof.
  • In Algeria, oral poetry was an important part of Berber traditions, with poems called Isefra used for religious and secular life.
  • Examples of pre-colonial African literature include the Kebra Negast, or "Book of Kings," in Ethiopia, written in Ge'ez, an ancient Semitic language.
  • Traditional African folktales feature the "trickster" story, where a small animal uses its wits to survive encounters with larger creatures, such as Anansi, Ijàpá, and Sungura.
  • Colonial African literature emerged between World War I and independence, with themes of liberation, independence, and négritude, reflecting Africa's hardships and struggles.

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