AFRICAN LITERATURE

African Literature

African literature refers to literature of and from Africa. As George Joseph notes on the first page of his chapter on African literature in Understanding Contemporary Africa, while the European perception of literature generally refers to written letters, the African concept includes oral literature.
As George Joseph continues, while European views of literature often stressed a separation of art and content, African awareness is inclusive:

“Literature” can also imply an artistic use of words for the sake of art alone. … traditionally, Africans do not radically separate art from teaching. Rather than write or sing for beauty in itself, African writers, taking their cue from oral literature, use beauty to help communicate important truths and information to society. Indeed, an object is considered beautiful because of the truths it reveals and the communities it helps to build. (less)

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