n Imbizo : International Journal of African Literary and Comparative Studies - Oral literature as carrier of education and aesthetics : examples from Diop's and Knappert's myths and legends of the Congo

Volume 6 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2078-9785



Oral literature has for African societies become the bank of knowledge that emerges from the historical past to present generations. In a sense, it has become instrumental in transmitting society's moral codes, beliefs and customs as well as its views on aesthetic phenomena. Thus, a remarkable array of animal characters, proverbs, songs and visual images play a pivotal role by indirectly attacking the nasty practices of society, and at the same time luring the current generation into extracting a wealth of wisdom that lies embedded in the values of its beautiful past. In this paper, a critical survey of Diop's Tales of Amadou Koumba and Knappert's Myths and Legends of the Congo shows how oral literature, through descriptions of either punishment for societal misbehavers or rewards for those who behave well, is instrumental in bringing to light not only the evil practices of society but also the accepted codes of communal behaviour.

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