How African Stories Shape The Africa Of Today

I’m sure from this title, you may be thinking its probably going to be some boring lecture about African literature. Hey guys, this is My Idle Pen! It’s never boring. On this note, we can start off with a refreshing chapter as always.

African Stories

Oral or Written, African stories have been in existence since time immemorial. Bringing in color and beauty. In the early years, African stories were mostly oral including poetry. In fact, there were specific people and even a family lineage that was dedicated to telling stories and poetry. Unlike the early English years where poetry and music were mostly for the bourgeoisie, most African countries had their stories told to even the commonest of man.

How Did Literature Shape Africa

Over the past few decades, African literature has been getting quite a lot of attention from other continents. This is mostly because of the bulk of experience Africans have had over the sparse of time. People needed a way to express themselves following the different rebellion and revolution. This basically led to the rise of literature, with the early writers like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o. This also led to the question of language. This may sound funny to you, however, it was a really big deal.

The question was based on the English, French or any other colonial language. Most writers questioned whether it was proper to write an African experience in an alien language. Ngugi insisted on writing in his language first before translating his works into English. This belief was because most of the words and meanings in one’s native language gets lost when translated into English. Quite a lot of other writers believed that it will be best if the works are transliterated.  Thus, this way, not all meaning will be lost. A typical example of transliteration is Song of Lawino and Song Of Ocol by Okot p’Bitek.

Africa’s Choice of Words

In all honesty, African writers have succeeded in using a particular choice of words that settles between transliteration, the native language, and the foreign language. African stories occasionally follow a common theme. Some of these themes include post-colonialism, war, mysticism, experience, and love.

Because of the intense gift of storytelling, most African stories lock you in their world giving you a constant mental image.

The downside, however, is that African literature has only just begun addressing other themes, for instance, sci-fi. Although, it would be a great idea if there is a genre created wholly from an African perspective. This means, completely disregarding any other genre that is already out there and creating a totally new genre which exhumes Africanness.

Let’s Face It

So, this is a very biased statement. However, I am still going to make it. I honestly cannot do without reading an African book. In fact,  I am better off reading an African book than its counterparts. I find myself understanding African literature more. It’s easily relatable. It’s really just because I am African.

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