Resuscitating the African Oral Artistic Tradition: Towards a Re-enactment of Storytelling for Moral Rebirth among the Nigerian Youth
Keywords:oral tradition in Africa, re-enactment of storytelling for a moral rebirth of the Nigerian youth
The study was conducted to examine the role of storytelling in the moral upbringing of the Nigerian youth. Storytelling is one of the important subgenres of the prose form of oral literature. Being a verbal art used in traditional African society for entertainment and didacticism, its usefulness in inculcating in children values, mores and cosmological beliefs of traditional African society cannot be downplayed. In recent times, however, the art seems to have suffered atrophy since it is rarely told by parents to their children. One factor responsible for this is the creeping pace of the poor economic climate currently ravaging many African countries. Suffice it to state that, a poor economy has continually forced many parents to scout for the fleeting means of survival which prevents them from spending quality time with their children. As it appears presently, storytelling seems to be threatened in Nigeria, and by extension the entire Africa, by the overbearing influence of the cyber age. Undoubtedly, the cyber culture heralds the age of technological revolution which manifests in the overwhelming use of the Internet and social media. However, the age has witnessed the evolution of several devices that ostensibly render the art of storytelling preposterous. Nevertheless, while social media is fast spreading a subversion of African traditions, it becomes increasingly important to counterbalance this trend with the art of storytelling. Consequently, this study was conducted with a view to reiterating the significance of storytelling as a veritable conduit for moral regeneration of youth and children in the quest for national development. Iwo and Evbologun, two traditionally oriented Yoruba and Bini communities acclaimed for their folkloristic enterprises, were chosen for the study. Given their cultural inclinations, the choice of these communities was informed by the need to re-evaluate the practice or otherwise of the storytelling art there. The study is anchored in structuralism to explain that cultural elements operate in an interrelated manner. Interestingly, it found that oral narrative (storytelling) is ostensibly declining among most Nigerians, though some people understand its usefulness and want it to be resuscitated.
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