CoLang 2016

Documentation of Orature

Imelda Udoh
Uwemedimo Iwoketok

This workshop will present methods of documenting Orature, the oral literary creativity of a people, handed down from one generation to another by word of mouth. Its essence, like its written counterpart, is that it reflects the society that gives birth to it. It therefore constitutes an important Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS), or folk knowledge that is unique to a particular culture relating to different aspects of the way of life of such a people. In most African cultures such knowledge and literary lore have remained in the oral form. By attempting a documentation of literary lore, some aspects of which have been transmitted and have remained in the oral form for centuries, we should be careful to capture or mention their ‘speaking’ quality even in text. Therefore, their design, device and even inherent performances need to be captured as well. A documentation of this aspect of society cannot be over emphasized. Many aspects of this IKS are endangered. Within the context of Orature, we have language, philosophy, tradition, belief system, history, the worldview of the people captured. The changes in these areas over time need to be documented.

A major objective of this workshop is to equip participants with the skills for the documentation and analysis of the different genres of oral lore performance (prose, poetry, drama, childlore), as well as relate Orature to contemporary realities and issues. The documentation will not only provide a record, but should stem the tide of death of these aspects of the people that are dying by installment.




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