Literature: What Kind of Literature for Ethical Education in Africa?

  • EM Sone


I attempt in this paper to answer the question “What kind of literature is needed for ethical education in Africa, especially in this era of globalization?” I proceed to examine three identifiable kinds of literature in Africa: Oral literature in local African and modern European languages, written literature in local African languages and written literature in European languages—to determine what role each is playing in our contemporary educational system. I then advance the view that, in spite of the progressive transition of Africa from the predominance of Oral literature in local languages to written literature in European languages, and in spite of the undue influence of European languages in
the education of many Africans, Oral literature in African languages remains the most appropriate language of education for Africans. This is especially true at the lower primary level where the very foundation of ethics and all education is laid. Indeed, it is this aspect which calls for the efforts of each and every African country in the development of oral
literature for these major reasons. In the first place, oral literature is an important component of African cultural heritage. Besides being the most vigorous and effective medium of reflecting contemporary ethical and cultural diffusion prevalent in Africa, oral literature provides a greater opportunity for the development of literary talent than does written literature in modern European Languages. I will use folktales and proverbs selected from different parts of Africa to underscore the role and function of oral literature as part of both national and global literature.

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eISSN: 1813-2227