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Download African Oral Epic Poetry: Praising the Deeds of a Mythic by Fritz H. Pointer PDF

By Fritz H. Pointer

An immense severe version and English translation of this significant African epic fable.

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Extra info for African Oral Epic Poetry: Praising the Deeds of a Mythic Hero

Sample text

We do nothing of significance which is not informed my myth in a fundamental way, and the more significant our act, the more this is true. It is the symbols within the context of myth which give rise to all thought. (Salaam 15) Myths, a people's stories, accounts of imaginary or past events, are important to them. The myths, the stories and tales people believe in inform their behavior. Once we believe something it becomes part of the very apparatus of our mind, determining our desires, fears, expectations and subsequent behavior (Harris 12).

Hale notes that changing the definition ofthis term is precisely what the 29 30 government of Niger tried to do in 1980. ountche, complained in a speech to the nation about what he saw as economic waste occasioned by griots, and that people were devoting too many of their resources, government and personal, to gifts for griots. This is no trivial matter when one considers that gifts have included: automobiles, homes, performance contracts and on one occasion an airplane (78). His attempt was to "sanitize" the profession.

Hunters' groups, among the Mandinka, are not defined along ethnic lines. As an institution, they cross over the traditional ethnic barriers. In fact, according to Bird, the hunters' groups, may well prove to be the institution that enabled the people ofthis area to establish bonds over extended geographic and cultural areas and to use these bonds for the formation of larger units which formed the basis of more powerful economic and political states such as the Ghana and Mali empires (279). It is no accident that great kings ofthe Mandinka past are portrayed as hunters first and foremost.

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