Indigenous Heritage in African Literature
From the African Library of Critical Writing
Edited by the duo Smith and Ce, ‘Indigenous Heritage’ asserts that the spirit of Africa as manifested in her great cultural forms which first spoke to the world through the art of Egypt speaks yet again in contemporary times through the complex variety of modern black literatures.
And while, say her scholars, as expressed through the medium of native tongues it has been understood by only a small part of the world, yet through its complex interaction with other linguistic and cultural traditions Black has moved the world through her art.
Recall that previous series in ‘ORAL TRADITIONS’ had witnessed to canonical and potential texts that adhere to some formulae of African, and not western, writing, whose characters attest to the survival of ancestral, ontological, identities that can only point to African cultural antecedents.
‘Indigenous Heritage’ here recommits to the ancestral depths of black identity in modern texts. The cultural reclamation of African origins and roots as tied to the solemn remembrance of the ancestor has determined the intense attention of enlightened black writers for the social and psychic revaluation of their generation.
One of such aims might even prove to heal the tensions of space and migration and the illusion of various political, social, economic and psychological manipulations of black existence, and their possible remediation through creative fusions that are embedded in the external and subjective realities of the indigenous world.
The series thereby examines the status of the oral performer in African society, illuminating the role of griots, which encouraged a wide range of human expression to create a unique but culturally relevant identity for members of the community.
The editors propose the indigenous as challenge to sustain the methods of creative transmission through the continuing presence of the performer who is living proof of the survival of the oral traditions, especially in the propulsion of communicative action and the communal strength of men, women and children.
We are hoping, say the editors, as we anchor the quest by writers from Africa and her Diaspora for enriching permutations of indigenous black traditions in this volume, that further research efforts shall continue the exploration of theoretical frameworks of propagating the indigenous legacies of black experience.