Oral traditions and African literature: reading Chinua Achebe’s arrow of god and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Matigari

Authors: 1Kalu Obasi Kalu 2Edadi Ilem Ukam

1A Diplomatic Staff, Islamic University, Uganda

2Department of English and Literary Studies, Veritas University, Abuja

(The Catholic University of Nigeria)

Published: January 2019

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The paper attempts to investigate the relevance of oral tradition in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Matigari. Apart from increasing the available oral traditional texts, the study has attempted to demystify the erroneous conception about oral tradition. Although introductory, it is objectively informative, displaying the beauty of folk tradition used among African creative writers. The study touches on all basic levels of oral traditional analysis, and with particular emphasis on three of the numerous subtopics which deal with oral tradition: its nature, features and functions. The work explores the opinion and criticisms of critics about the supporter’s texts. While some critics are full of praise of the texts for the importance they attach to oral tradition, other critics argue that texts which encompassed oral traditional elements are baseless to the social value. The paper concludes that African literature and/or culture is absolutely a committed one and should not be neglected: it should be regarded and be given adequate priority.

Keywords:  Africa, Africanised English, Culture, Oral Traditions, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o