REVIEWS OKPEWHO, Isidore, Myth in Africa: a study of its aesthetic and cultural relevance, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983, x, 305 pp., 422-50, 0 521 24544 0. The value of oral tradition in African studies in such fields as religion, literature and so on, has been fully acknowledged. Long after McCall's Africa in Time Perspective, V ansina' Oral Tradition and Henige's Oral Chronology and Oral Historiography, the trend of the discussion has veered sharply towards the control system which would ensure the authenticity of the traditions. Equally important is a clear definition of terms. A persistent problem in this regard is the meaning and nature of myth. A second level of the problem concerns the relationship between European analysis of myth and African understanding. Or should myth be myth every where, and at all times? In an earlier work, The Epic in Africa (1979), Isidore Okpekwho wrote of the impor- tance of exploring how "Africans themselves who have grown up hearing these tales, and in particular those who have taken the trou- ble to collect them from the field" have much to contribute to theory and practice in the critical study of African oral literature and comparative oral
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1989
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