By Fritz H. Pointer
A big serious variation and English translation of this crucial African epic delusion.
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Additional resources for African Oral Epic Poetry: Praising the Deeds of a Mythic Hero
In tact, Prof. 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.
Contrary to the belief widespread throughout the world, it appears, man in Africa is never thought of as having once possessed a portion of a divinity and then lost it. Rather, man is observed in his own integral circumstances, and his success and failures are seen in relation to his admirable courage or else of his moral shortcomings (Okpewho 1979). It appears, however, that the traditional African artist is first and foremost a realist artist. Daniel Kunene bears witness to this category of realism in his seminal work, Heroic Poetry of the Basotho, and, at the same time, provides this study with a 25 definition of "hero" that will be a standard against which ''heroism" will be judged in The Epic ofKambili: The heroes are not superior beings except in so far as their earthly deeds make them so, least of all are they gods or descendants of gods.
The only gender difference is that ''women know the story of Sunjata as well as men, but men can speak the 35 story, women can only sing it" (Hale 227). So, women focus more on the praise lines and songs than on the narrative. On the other hand, Salaam, tells us "In The Epic of Sara, a Malinke epic usually sung by female griots, the hero is a woman who defies the tradition of prearranged marriage in order to honor her vow to marry the man she loves. Through her tenacious integrity, devotion, courage, and guile she heroically succeeds in marrying the man of her choice" (112).