African Proverbs in African Literature

A Critical Resourcebase

Introduction, 7

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AFRICAN PROVERBS TO THE CONTINENT’S ORAL LITERATURE

What can we learn from this attribute of proverbs—ubiquity—in the African situation?

In the same sense, the Ewes of Ghana, Togo, and Benin share similar cultural attributes and have similar proverbs.

Any difference in the substance of these proverbs (according to the various regions—West, East, Central, North Africa)? What does it tell us?

Does geography also affect the nature of the proverbs?

J. Conclusion

Significance of the proverbs:

(i) each community cherishes its body of wise sayings which serve as pointers to how rich its language is;

(ii) user of proverbs is acclaimed as knowledgeable (wise) in the traditional sense since only those who can combine proverbs with ordinary speech are those who command respect in the traditional societies of old;

(iii) Proverbs as the language of the Chief’s Court—to be there, you must learn how to use them and speak as is done in that discourse community;

(iv) Appellations enunciated through traditional “talking drums” and interpreted by only a few who understand the language of the drums (source of honor and prestige/pride to the individual interpreter of drum language);

(v) Indicator of a good and reliable memory (vi) Generational differences—only those who spent time with the “old” ones in the community could be taught proverbs—indication that the user is not “tainted” by modern linguistic influences.

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4 thoughts on “Introduction, 7

  1. RUOTI BENSON NYANGWARA on said:

    This is insightful work

  2. K Tonui on said:

    Fine work for reference. i will use it with my students

  3. Wubong Akung on said:

    This is an interesting piece, but how can we trace the definite authour for proper referencing?

    • Thanks, Wubong Akung, for your comments. My project is still on-going and I hope to launch it formally when done. I don’t know when, though. In any case, I have given much information about myself as you can see at the Home Page (Michael J.K. Bokor, Ph.D., Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, New York) and my e-mail address is mjbokor@yahoo.com. Welcome to the world of African proverbs!

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