African Literature Development

Pages: 11 (3368 words) Published: August 28, 2013
African Literature, although unrecorded, dates back to ancient history. This is a research on the history and related concepts of how their culture began through their writings. Bird’s Eyeview
African literature has more recently become more popular specially as it has greatly influenced the American literature. This website presents a general and more popular way of looking at the beginnings, development, influences on the literary works of the people of this culture-rich continent. What is Literature?

As man started to walk the earth, he developed a system of recording down things around him and interpreting them according to how his own perception. This act of documenting may have been the start of the medium which literature uses. Not all written material may be considered literature though. Only those that closely emulate the human experience, emotion and thought are regarded as literature. The Beginnings of Asian and African Literature

Literature may have its roots from the pre-historic period. The hieroglyphs of Egypt, found around 3200 BC to about 400 AD for example, is a system of writing which used symbols, have been used to record some things about what had transpired in history. However, these are not considered literature. Among those considered to be the earliest records of literature is theEgyptian Book of the Dead written down in the Papyrus of Ani in 250 BCE. Many of the literary works are handed down by oral tradition. In Africa, the lack of literacy did not make it possible to write literature down. Histories, myths, legends, including stories, dramas, riddles, songs, proverbs and other literary works were handed by mouth from generation to generation to entertain, educate and remind the people about their past, heroic deeds of their people, ancestry and culture. Factors that Influence African Literature

In African Literature, the earliest records of works have been those that were found in Egypt. Religion and Spiritual Belief
In Africa where Animism had been practiced for a very long time, lyrics, stories and poems, although unrecorded, have been handed down from generation to generation. Some of their stories were of animals that struggled for their freedom. Egypt, being the origin of civilization in the continent, has greatly influenced the culture, religion and literature of Africa. Introduction of Civilization

Asia is the birth place of the civilized world. As Africa is proximally located to Asia, much of the developments spread to the continent. Also, much of the recorded African literature came only after the continent was colonized in the 19th century. Political and Social Conditions

Living conditions and political situations have paved the way for the development of literary works, such as those that were written as reactions to slavery. Colonization has given the continent the medium by which they could put into writing and document their art, culture and situation. Much of those that were written were reactions to racism and the African struggle for freedom and independence. Nature and the Environment

How the earth was created, the creation of the first man, the trees, the plants and animals – these are some of the things that Asian and African literature depict. Notable Literary Works
Novel
* Mzimu wa Watu wa Kale”(Shrine of the Ancestors” by Muhammed Said Abdulla (Swahili) * Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston http://www.zoranealehurston.com/books/their_eyes_teaching_guide.html * Ethiopia Unbound: Studies in Race Emancipation,(1911) by Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford (also known as Ekra-Agiman) Play

* The Girl Who Killed to Save: Nongqawuse the Liberator (1935) by Herbert Isaac Ernest Dhlomo of South Africa Poem
* Song of Iowino (1966) by Acholi
Drama
* The Black Hermit (1962) by Ngugi wa Thiong’o of Kenya Myth
* Yoruba
Epic
* Epic of Sundiata
Fable
* Kalila and Dimna (Muslim)
Stories
* Chants and Hymns
* Book of the Dead...
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