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