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A literary analysis of Yoruba-Ifá oral poetry and its implication for entertainment and cultural education in Nigeria

Bifátife Olufemi Adeseye
Harry Olufunwa
Afolabi Innocent Ariremako


The article examines the potentials of Yoruba Ifá oral literature for entertainment and education, with an emphasis on the ways in which the desire  for entertainment in narrative poetry can precede educational requirements. The study observes that Ifá narrative is an integral part of the  complete Ifá divination process usually packaged in parable format. The inexhaustible nature of its source is affirmed by related studies done by  Yoruba language and literature scholars. It is also observed that every attempt at translating any language to another often results in obliterating  the imagery of the one being translated in the new presentation; hence, the study adopts the term transliteration. The literary stylistic devices  employed in Ifá narratives are discussed; for easy reference, the study classifies the content of Ifá narratives into three principal genres; poetry,  drama and music. This discourse is tailored to further appraise specific issues concerning the measurement and scoring Yoruba Ifá poetry using  global parameters. The performance essence, as in dramaturgy, of the poetry is reserved for further investigation. Examples of Ese Ifá (Ifá verses)  are subjected to repetition, parallelism and tonal counterpoint. The study affirms the applicability of Ifá oral literature to cartoon animation movies  geared towards effective indigenization of the Yoruba child as a paradigm of the African child. The structure of the study is woven around folkism  theory. The treatment adopts textual analysis in aesthetic evaluative style.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2449-1179
print ISSN: 2006-1838