Archive for the ‘AFRICAN DRAMA’ Category

“CHAMS SEEKS REVIVAL OF LIVE THEATRE WITH FAGUNWA’S WORKS”-FROM TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER,NIGERIA,SEPT. 2008

September 17, 2008

FROM tribune

THE NIGERIAN TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER
Since November, 1949

Sun. 7th Sept. 2008

Chams seeks revival of live theatre with Fagunwa’s works

By Akintayo Abodunrin

FagunwaLIVE theatre which has been in the doldrums in recent years is about to undergo a revival through the intervention of Computer Hardware and Maintenance Services (Chams) Plc. The company, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) company that supports transactional card-based services, e-commerce and mobile payment solution is aiming to do this with its Chams Theatre Series.
Well aware of the entertainment and didactic roles of theatre in the human society, the company incorporated in 1985 as a computer maintenance and engineering company but which has grown to become a leading IT solutions company with pioneer status in smart card technology, according to Seye Femi Gureje, General Manager, Chams Access, conceived the theatre series as a strategic intervention and contribution to reawaken the stage culture in Nigeria. “It is also a means of promoting our culture and re-orientating Nigerians on the value we cherish”, he said.
At a briefing to introduce the series and its first presentation, an English and Yoruba adaptation of D.O. Fagunwa’s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole by Professors Femi Osofisan and Akinwumi Isola last week at Protea Hotel, Lagos, Gureje explained why the company is seeking to resurrect live theatre through Fagunwa. In the company of Professor Osofisan, Dr. Kola Oyewo, director of the Yoruba adaptation entitled Ogboju Ode… and Dr. Tunde Awosanmi, director of the English adaptation entitled Adventures in the Forest of a Thousand Daemons; Gureje disclosed that the company chose the theatre series as a platform to interact with the larger society because of the benefits of theatre.
He disclosed that the company had gotten exclusive rights to sponsor stage adaptations of Ogboju Ode…, Igbo Olodumare, Ireke Onibudo, Irinkerindo Ninu Igbo Elegbeje and Adiitu Olodumare, all works of Fagunwa over the next five years and that the company was almost through with securing the rights to the works of other Nigerian authors.
Gureje disclosed that the series will open on September 13 with the adaptations of Ogboju Ode … and explained why the works of the late teacher were chosen this way: “D.O. Fagunwa’s works were essentially chosen because they portray the values we cherish in Chams. His books teaches lessons in perseverance, hard work, determination, teamwork, patriotism, etc and we also believe that this values are essential for nation building.”

From left, Dr. Kola Oyewo, Mr. Seye Femi Gureje,
Professor Femi Osofisan and Dr. Tunde Awosanmi
briefing the press on the Chams Theatre Series.He added that, “Fagunwa’s books were chosen because his works portray the richness of the African mind with most of his illustrations, and use of strong and unusual characters … The underlying theme of his works promote such virtues as perseverance, gratitude, selflessness, bravery, time management, leadership focus, service to humanity etc.”
Gureje assured that the company did not initiate the series for publicity and that it would not abandon the series midway. He said the project was very dear to Chams and that it is the values in Ogboju Ode… that made the company commence the series with it.
“Ogboju Ode… is a story of leadership, bravery, courage, discipline, industry, endurance and focus. It is a story of man striving valiantly against odds and succeeding. It is one that we commend to society”, Gureje said of the play which will be staged in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan and Ile-Ife.
Speaking on the play which the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode has endorsed and which command performance the ministry and Chams are collaborating to stage in Abuja, the project consultant, Professor Femi Osofisan, said he was privileged to work on the script of a master story-teller.
“Fagunwa is one of the great pioneers of the fiction genre in our indigenous language, a trail blazer in the modernisation and preservation of a traditional culture. Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole is a world classic, a story that will be forever young because it speaks to our fundamental yearning for adventure, thrill and wisdom.”
Osofisan added that he was excited because Chams realised the need to promote Nigeria’s indigenous culture by investing in the play unlike some companies that promote foreign derived shows. “By selecting this work, Chams is rendering an immeasurable service to the preservation of our culture. At a time when our country like others in the so-called Third World are faced with the menace of globalisation, certainly it is such projects as this that will help the process of our cultural rebirth,” the playwright who disclosed that he had to help some female members of the cast tie their wrappers and head tie said.
Osofisan also confessed that the project excites him because, “we all know how nowadays the stage is dying, and how live performances have almost completely vanished from the weekly diary of social experience. We have to thank Chams very specially therefore for this concrete contribution to the life of theatre. Actors are getting employment once again, both on the English speaking and Yoruba theatres, and in such large numbers too; designers and dancers and choreographers are receiving a long-needed push to creative resurgence; and the audience, long starved of direct contact with actors in a live auditorium, will have the opportunity once again of participating in the pleasure and the ecstasy that only a drama production is capable of.”

YORUBA GREAT FIRST PUBLISHED WRITER D.O. FAGUNWA’S NOVEL BROUGHT BACK ON STAGE!-FROM PUNCH NEWSPAPER,NIGERIA,SEPT. 2008

September 17, 2008

FROM punchontheweb.com

From Langbodo with blood and gold
By Akeem Lasisi
Published: Wednesday, 17 Sep 2008
At the maiden show of The Adventure in the Forest of a Thousand Daemons, an adaptation of D.O. Fagunwa‘s novel, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, the audience have a taste of magical realism.

A scene from the play.
With the magnificent structures dotting its vast edifying ambience, you can hardly mistake the MUSON Centre, Lagos for any other entertainment arena. So it was for members of the public that trooped into the complex on Saturday to watch The Adventures of a Thousand Demons, Femi Osofisan‘s theatrical adaptation of D. O. Fagunwa‘s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole.

But on hitting the entrance of the Shell Hall, which was the venue of the performance, the story changed. A colony of trees on your right, an empire of stones on the left, you were spontaneously transported into a wild forest. It was this forest that ushered you into the expansive hall that also wore the garment of an unfathomable wilderness – dripping with bitter laughter and sweet tears of supernatural spirits.

On the sprawling stage lying ahead of you was a sacred foot path winding meandering through a network of sacred woods. On the roof, and entirely covering the walls of the hall, were ewele mats, which reminded learned members of the audience of the type that Egbere, one of Fagunwa‘s spirit characters wield in the novel. More important, however, was the fact that the eerie stage would soon become the battle ground for the die-hard principalities and brave men on excursion to Oke Langbodo, the ultimate destination of the Fagunwa‘s seven hunters in the mother script. As if you were no more at the MUSON, lions roared, elephants boomed just as wild, wild birds shrieked intermittently to warn the uninitiated of the dangers ahead.

But because the transformation was a make-believe, drums also roared. Tongues wagged in penetrating songs just as practised legs rolled in dance, invoking applause from the audience who were once again jolted back into the beauty of stage plays.

Such were the spectacles that the much publicised play invoked. It was the English version of the script commissioned by Chams Plc, which announced its arrival in the world of theatre promotion and development recently. Simultaneously, revered scholar and writer, Professor Akinwumi Ishola, was asked to write a Yoruba adaptation of the novel, with Tunde Awosanmi and Kola Oyewo directing respectively.

Coming in two parts, Osofisan‘s Adventures into the Forest of a Thousand Daemons captures the trials and triumphs of Akaraogun (Toyin Osinaike) and his hunting colleagues who go in search of a metaphoric Langbodo, for the sake of their fatherland for which they are out to attract resources that will invoke progress.

Since no good thing comes easy – and that is one basic lesson that both Fagunwa and Osofisan teach in the work – they encounter stiff adversity on their way. They have to wrestle with many daemons in the forest. But they too are very much prepared. Apart from physical strength, each of the adventurers has a special natural trait that proves very useful each time the chips are down. For instance, while Kako‘s invincible club can knock even an elephant, Olohun Iyo‘s sweet-singing voice can lure the most dreadful cobra to sleep. Imodoye, a name derived from knowledge and wisdom, is in the team to think and reason intelligently each time his people are in trouble. Very cleverly, Osofisan not only retains such values that Fagunwa wants the reader to pay attention to in human and societal development, he also develops the character of Akaraogun in such a way that he is a symbol of quality leadership – demonstrating determination, perseverance, and sowing no seed of hatred among the hunters he leads.

Among others, the battle with Agbako is hell hot. But for the helping spirit played by Ify Agwu, none of the adventurers would have survived his punch.

Apart from Osinaike, a thoroughbred actor, in the cast were tested hands such as Gogo Ombo Ombo (Elegbede Ode), Taiwo Ibikunle (Olohun Iyo), Martins Iwuagwu (Kako), Simileoluwa Hassan (Efoye) and Afolabi Dipeolu (Imodoye).

Also in action were Tunde Adeyemo (Oba), and actress and poet, Ify Agwu, (Iranlowo), who inspiringly carried the helper spirit that saw the hunters through the promise land.

Although Osofisan is that loyal to the spirit of the novel, he asserts freedom in certain significant areas. For instance, he introduces a lot of songs and dances. Besides, he brings in folklores that he employs to ventilate the structure of the play, while also using such to teach morality. But where he seems to have been extremely creative – or is it the director that should claim the kudos – is the point he introduces the ritual poetry, Iremoje, which hunters use to celebrate a dead colleague.

As fate would have it, the hunters lost three of their members, among who is Kako, whose hot temper remains his insatiable albatross. Now, on returning to their town after about 20 months of search for Langbodo, the hunters burst into Iremoje, and the attempt is very close to the way Yoruba hunters perform the ritual poetry in real life.

Osofisan‘s radical approach can also be seen in his interpretation of Oke Langbodo itself. Speaking through Akaraogun and Iranlowo, the playwright‘s message to the audience is that Langbodo is not a place. It is a moment of revelation, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of what brings peace and progress for the individual and society.

Altogether, The Adventures in the Forest of a Thousand Daemons is a successful exercise in attempting to revitalise live theatre in Nigeria.

Perhaps, the play can be tightened a bit, and this can be achieved by reducing the number of dramatised folklores. Besides, a fat person should have been made to play the role of the elephant.

On the part of Chams, theatre lovers can only hope that it will be able to sustain the project.

According to the company‘s Managing Director, Chief Demola Aladekomo, who led the company‘s workers dressed in dazzling green uniform traditional dresses to the show, it decided to rally the practitioners to the stage because of the roles that drama plays in the society.

“FROM NOLLYWOOD TO NOLLYWEIGHT?OR REFLECTIONS ON THE POSSIBILITIES OF LITERATURE AND BURGEONING FILM INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA”BY PROF. FEMI OSOFISAN FROM AFRICULTURES.COM

May 19, 2008

from africultures.com

From Nollywood to Nollyweight ? or, Reflections on the Possibilities of Literature and the Burgeoning Film Industry in Nigeria
by Prof. Femi Osofisan
Femi Osofisan
publié le 18/07/2006

[Cet article est pour le moment disponible exclusivement en anglais] Being the text of keynote by Prof Femi Osofisan – dramatist, actor and director and lecturer at the University of Ibadan – to the 6th ITPAN FORUM, held July 6 to 8, 2006, at the Lagos Business School, Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

Ladies and gentlemen,
1 The first appropriate gesture I must make, on this platform, is that of gratitude. With your kind permission, I want to use this opportunity to publicly express my gratitude to the entire artist community, my friends, and all well-wishers who have so warmly and so generously rejoiced with me on the occasion of my birthday. What a wonderful world – to paraphrase the great bard – that has such good and friendly people in it !
Next, please also allow me to thank the organizers of this Forum, for the honour of being asked to give this keynote address. I am not myself, as you all know, a film maker. I am just one of your customers.
I take it therefore that, if you have asked me to give the keynote address today, it is because you want some feed-back from your audience. That is something certainly that I can offer, and I hope I will not disappoint you. My business is literature, not film. I deal with words, with the texture and architecture of the written phrase ; you with pictures and frames, the tones of light and shadow, colour and chiaroscuro. As a dramatist, I tell stories, just as you also do ; but only for the stage, and not for the screen. However, already in that magical territory of fabulation, of story-telling and myth-making, you can see where we have a meeting place and share a common interest.
This means that we should be able to work together, we writers and film-makers, as indeed we have witnessed in other countries and in other film industries. But so far this kind of collaboration has been rare in the Nigerian film industry. And it is this lapse I intend to talk about today.
2 The enormous commercial success of the contemporary film in Nigeria – at least of the genre that has come to be known as “Nollywood” – is now a familiar, if astonishing, fact.
Everywhere you care to travel, both within the country and outside our borders, the Nollywood films, you will discover, would have preceded you with their ubiquitous presence. In most African homes on the continent or in the Diaspora, the films have established themselves conspicuously as the staple diet of domestic entertainment. And in places as far distant from one another as Nouakchott or Ndjamena, Banjul or Nairobi, even the minor stars are household names. Like the icons of the football field, they adorn the covers of glamorous magazines ; their lives provide the juicy menu of the gossip journals and newspapers ; some of them are better known than many heads of state.
Such has indeed been the scintillating tale of the Nollywood adventure that even the Federal government, not normally known to accord any importance to mere artists, however gifted, startled all of us recently by coming out openly to shower encomium on the industry and its practitioners. It even talks of collaborating with them for some future projects !
This is by any consideration a most phenomenal story, for a business that began almost by accident, was sustained by expediency, and has not benefited from the support of either the political Establishment or the orthodox financial institutions. A totally homegrown industry, all that has kept it afloat and buoyant has been the fabled ingenuity of the Nigerian entrepreneur !
It will never cease to be a marvel then, the fact that a group of half-literate dramatists of the popular travelling theatre tradition, seeing their trade tottering on the brink of extinction because of the harsh economic policies of the time, could, out of desperation and entirely on their own volition, seize a hitherto neglected and subsidiary technology, and, in alliance with spare parts traders and such small-scale businessmen, harness it with such inventiveness that they have turned it into a multi-million naira business, till their products have almost completely displaced the far more sophisticated, far more technically competent products of Hollywood and Bollywood.
Without any precedent example, without recourse to foreign assistance, without the benefit of hefty budgets or of any of the dazzling gadgetry of Hollywood, the Nigerian Nollywood outstripped all its former predecessors and competitors, within the first decade of its birth, and initiated a completely novel cinematic genre. It is worth a celebration.
3 So, in the wake of these sterling achievements that it has garnered, how does one dare voice any negative criticism of the industry – “that is, without the risk of subjecting oneself voluntarily to derision or abuse from its practitioners ? Especially if one has himself never produced a single film, how can one criticize without seeming to be asking to be fed with hemlock ?
But it is a gamble nevertheless that one has to take, if only because the industry is one that has enormous implications for our people’s development. The films have been proven to exercise a tremendous impact on our people’s minds, on their ways of thinking and their habits of perception, on their attitude to the world, to work, to family, to their neighbours. The films also have significant influence on the way that others see us, and hence on the way they relate to us. We cannot but be concerned therefore about what they are saying, what attitudes they are promoting, what image of us they are projecting.
Precisely because they have deservedly won ovation everywhere, the Nollywood films have come to assume an authority over our values and our lives, such that what people see in them comes to be taken not as just a fictional projection by one imaginative consciousness, but as the true, authentic mirror of what we really are, as a veritable marker of what our society represents, and much worse, of the ideal that we aspire, or must aspire, towards.
This is where the films present us with a great dilemma, and where, in spite of our pleasure, we must take a stand in the interest of our collective survival. For we cannot but remark that, however popular the films may be, and however much in demand, the picture that the majority of them present of our world is one that we must not only interrogate, but indeed reject very strongly, if what we seek is the transformation of our society into a modern, progressive state.
I will not, as you know, be the first to make this complaint. Even our friends outside have voiced the same unease about the ambiguity of Nollywood. The common question that people ask, as you know, is – “why this unceasing preoccupation with juju, this relentless celebration of dark rituals and diabolical cults ? Practically every Nollywood director seems to have been caught in the spell – “mix a diet of grotesque murders and cacophonous chants and bizarre incantations, and smile all the way to your bank !
Then, again, those who wish to be different from the rest, who want to demonstrate the ineffectual power of juju rituals, what do they do ? They show us scenarios where the brutish African cults and priests are overpowered and devastated by the agents of Christianity ! Thus one mythology replaces another – “this time the one imported from abroad simply replaces the barbaric local variant. Tarzan is reborn, only this time in black skin, and wearing a cassock ! And it is a sign of the deep damage done to our psyche and our consciousness by decades of European proselytizing that the filmmakers themselves are blissfully unaware of the racist and cultural implications of this fare they offer to the public !
4 What I am saying is that, with all their commercial success, our films parade a number of serious deficiencies, viewed from the cultural and ideological perspectives. These have been summarized before into four broad areas, and I will rapidly recall them here, as follows : – First, is their lack of thematic profundity, of subtlety and complexity in characterization, and the repetitiousness of the scenarios ; – Second, the lack of adventurousness in the area of filmography, or is it “videography” ; with the most basic rules in such matters as costuming, lighting make-up and so on, being regularly compromised ; – Third, the promotion of superstitious habits, of the belief in miracles and witchcraft rather than in concrete, empirical extrapolations and direct physical participation in social struggle. This, ironically in spite of the fact that all the special effects they employ to conjure up their magic are achieved only with the aid of technology, with scientifically-manufactured implements ; – And the fourth, the most serious of them all, is their open promotion of cultural alienation and inferiority complex among our people, even more brazenly than the colonialists and their films did.
It is not of course that the films deliberately set out to do these things. Rather, these perceived deficiencies are due, obviously, to what one may describe as the intellectual deficit of the people involved in the profession. [Now one has to be careful here, not to appear to be patronizing these practitioners or to be undervaluing their intelligence.]
What I mean, to be more precise, is that those who provide the financial means, as well as those who conceive the scenarios for Nollywood are, for the most part, only interested in film as a fast business, as a means merely of making quick money and raking a quick profit, (just like their imported spare second-hand goos), and so can not be bothered by the larger aesthetic or ontological dimensions of film production.
This is why indeed there is most often no script available at all for the actors on most locations ; what you will get is only a scenario, or a series of scenarios, which will be verbally announced by the director or producer as a general guide for improvisation, just as in the old days of the travelling theatres.
5 Given all these problematic areas, all these cultural and philosophical anxieties, the suggestion has been made that what we need for Nollywood is a stricter and more extensive form of censorship. Some have even called for an outright ban.
But censorship is never safe nor fool-proof, nor even predictable. It is not to be trusted ; it can be a dangerous tool in the hands of dictators. Especially with our experience so far of government as terrorism in Nigerian history, it will be most careless of us to assume that the ogre of dictatorship can never rise any more to haunt us. To approve of censorship in such circumstances is to deliberately shut our eyes to danger, and help prepare the way for our own eventual subjugation.
In any case, the effect of censorship is quite often to drive the forbidden good underground, and, like cocaine, make it even more attractive to the consumers. There is such a fervent demand by our people for films that whatever they find available will be gobbled up as soon as it comes out, whatever its quality, and however much they complain afterwards about it. This compulsive appetite of our people, this uncritical and almost insatiable demand for film products should, in my opinion, be a guide about what solutions to suggest.
I want to recommend therefore that, instead of wasting our time with censorship, the line that will be more productive for us to pursue, in order to displace the deficient films from the market, is simply to embark on the production of an alternative repertoire of films, and to making sure that they are abundantly available for consumers. Now, this is where I believe that we writers can come in, as it has been done in other places. An alliance between film makers and the producers of literature is what I believe is most urgent for the necessary recuperative work that Nollywood requires, and deserves.
Our writers are not only good story-tellers, but they have proved for the most part to be story-tellers concerned not primarily with material gratification, but rather, with the overall wellbeing of the community. They entertain, but also instruct and enlighten. They propagate our cultural heritage, but without necessarily glorifying superstition or on the other hand, deliberately demonizing our local religions and customs. They have, that is, the ingredients to enrich and radicalize Nollywood, even while boosting its revenue potential. A good number of books are there on the bookshelves that can be made into profit-yielding projects on film.
Only Tunde Kelani, (and the younger less well-known Demola Aremu), have tried so far, to my knowledge, to exploit the potentials of this fruitful collaboration, but it is no exaggeration to state the immense success that TK has reaped, and is still reaping, from the venture. Almost all his films, until recently, were film adaptations of the works of Professor Akinwunmi Isola, one of our most talented writers, and they helped catapult TK to his position of eminence among the film producers.
There are two possible ways of undertaking the kind of collaboration that I am calling for. The first is to select from a number of successful books already in print, and adapt them for the screen. Here, one can suggest a few titles, apart from the already much-recycled Things Fall Apart. There are also the same author”s Arrow of God, Man of the People, or Anthills of the Savannah. From Cyprian Ekwensi, there are Jagua Nana, the sequel, Jagua Nana”s daughter, The Passport of Mallam Illia, Iska, and so on ; Elechi Amadi”s The Great Ponds ; Onuora Nzekwu”s Danda, Chukwuemeka Ike”s Toads for Supper, Wole Soyinka”s Ake, Isara, and Season of Anomy ; Saro Wiwa”s Sozaboy ; and numerous recent works by Eddie Iroh, Ifeoma Okoye, Zaynab Alkali, Ogochukwu Promise, Akachi Ezeigbo, Maik Nwosu, Okey Ndibe, Helen Oyeyemi, Tony Marinho, Chimamamba Adichie, Sefi Atta, and others.
Apart from novels, there are also very dramatic plays which could yield exciting film scripts, such as the works of Sam Ukala, Olu Obafemi, Ahmed Yerimah, Akinwunmi Isola, Bayo Faleti, Emman Nwabueze – ¦ the list is long ! Nor does the choice have to be confined to only those books written by Nigerian authors. In both East and Southern Africa alone, there are thousands of books waiting for an adventurous film maker !
The second approach I can recommend is for you to liaise with some of the established writers mentioned above, and to commission them to produce original scripts. You will be amazed by what you would generate from them, and then from others who will be inspired by them. Certainly the current bogey of thin stories and trivial or merely sensational themes, of insipid dialogue and worn verbal and lexical garbage, of dull and uninspiring plots, and so on, will become a thing of the past, if the film-makers agree to exploit this idea of collaboration with our writers.
And instead of “Nollywood”, what we will be celebrating, come next season, will be the advent of “Nollyweight !”
I thank you for your attention,
Femi Osofisan

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LANGUAGES OF NIGERIA ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA.ORG

May 5, 2008

FROM wikipedia.org

Languages of Nigeria
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linguistic map of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Benin.Nigeria

This article is part of the series:
Culture of Nigeria

Languages
Literature
List of Nigerian writers
List of Nigerian poets
Music of Nigeria

Other countries – Culture Portal

view • talk • edit
The number of languages currently estimated and catalogued in Nigeria is 521. This number includes 510 living languages, two second languages without native speakers and 9 extinct languages. In some areas of Nigeria, ethnic groups speak more than one language. The official language of Nigeria, English, the former colonial language, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. The major languages spoken in Nigeria are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Edo, Efik, Ibibio and Annang language, Adamawa Fulfulde, Idoma, and Central Kanuri. Even though most ethnic groups prefer to communicate in their own languages, English, being the official language, is widely used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. English, however, remains an exclusive preserve of a small minority of the country’s urban elite, and is not spoken in rural areas. With approximately 75% of Nigeria’s populace in the rural areas, the major languages of communication in the country remain tribal languages, with the most widely spoken being Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Foreign minorities speak their own languages aside from English and/or major native languages as their second languages.

Nigeria’s linguistic diversity is a microcosm of Africa as a whole, encompassing three major African languages families: the Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and the Niger-Congo A branch of the Niger-Congo family. Nigeria also has one unclassifiable language, Cen Tuum, spoken by a few old people among the Cham in Gombe State. This may represent an intriguing relic of an even greater diversity prior to the spread of the current language families.

Contents [hide]
1 Niger-Congo languages
2 Afro-Asiatic languages
3 See also
4 Wikimedia
5 References
6 External links

[edit] Niger-Congo languages
Niger-Congo predominates in central and southern Nigeria; the main branches represented in Nigeria are Mande, Atlantic, Gur, Kwa, Benue-Congo and Adamawa-Ubangian. Mande is represented by the Busa cluster and Kyenga in the northwest. Fulfulde is the single Atlantic language, of Senegambian origin but now spoken by cattle pastoralists across the Sahel and largely in the North of Nigeria by the Fulani (sometimes Fulbe) diaspora. The Ijoid languages are spoken across the Niger Delta and include Ịjọ (=Ijaw), Kalabari and the intriguing remnant language, Defaka, while the Ibibio language is spoken across the coastal southeastern part of Nigeria and includes Efik, Annnang, oron, Eket, and Ikot Abasi. The single Gur language spoken is Baatọnun, in the Northwest. The Adamawa-Ubangian languages are spoken between central Nigeria and the Central African Republic. Their westernmost representatives in Nigeria are the Tula-Waja languages. The Kwa languages are represented by the Gun group in the extreme southwest, which is affiliated to the Gbe languages in Benin and Togo.

The classification of the remaining languages is controversial; Joseph Greenberg classified those without noun-classes, such as Yoruba, Igbo, and Ibibio, as ‘Eastern Kwa’ and those with classes as ‘Benue-Congo’. This was reversed in an influential 1989 publication and reflected on the 1992 map of languages, where all these were considered Benue-Congo. Recent opinion, however, has been to revert to Greenberg’s distinction. The literature must thus be read with care and due regard for the date. It should be noted that there are several small language groupings in the Niger Confluence area, notably Ukaan, Akpes, Ayere-Ahan and Ọkọ, whose inclusion in these groupings has never been satisfactorily argued.

Former Eastern Kwa, i.e. West Benue-Congo would then include Yoruboid, i.e. Yoruba, Itsekiri and Igala, Akokoid (eight small languages in Ondo, Edo and Kogi state), Edoid including Edo in Edo State, Igboid, Ibibio, Efik, Annnang, Idomoid (Idoma) and Nupoid (Nupe) and perhaps include the other languages mentioned above. East Benue-Congo includes Kainji, Plateau (46 languages, notably Eggon), Jukunoid, Dakoid and [[Cross River languages|Cross River]. Apart from these, there are numerous Bantoid languages, which are the languages immediately ancestral to Bantu. These include Mambiloid, Ekoid, Bendi, Beboid, Grassfields and Tivoid languages. The geographic distribution of Nigeria’s Niger-Congo languages is not limited to south-central Nigeria, as migration allows their spread to the linguistically Afro-Asiatic northern regions of Nigeria, as well as throughout West Africa and abroad. Yoruba is spoken as a ritual language in cults such as the Santeria in the Caribbean and South-Central America, and the Berbice Dutch language in Surinam is based on an Ijoid language.

Even the above listed linguistic diversity of the Niger-Congo in Nigeria is deceptively limiting, as these languages may further consist of regional dialects that may not be mutually intelligible. As such some languages, particularly those with a large number of speakers, have been standardized and received a romanized orthography. Nearly all languages appear in a Roman script when written, often with modifications allowing for a language’s particularities. The Yoruba and Igbo languages are notable examples of this process; Standard Yoruba came into being due to the work Samuel Crowther, the first African bishop of the Anglican Church and owes most of its lexicon to the dialects spoken in Ọyọ and Ibadan. Since Standard Yoruba’s constitution was determined by a single author rather than by a consensual linguistic policy by all speakers, the Standard has been attacked regarding for failing to include other dialects and spurred debate as to what demarcates “genuine Yoruba”. The more historically recent standardization and romanization of Igbo has provoked even more controversy due to its dialectical diversity, but the Central Igbo dialect has gained the widest acceptace as the standard-bearer; however many such as Chinua Achebe have dismissed standardization as colonial and conservative attempts to simplify a complex mosaic of languages. Such controversies typify inter- and intra-ethnic conflict endemic to post-colonial Nigeria.

Linguistically speaking, all demonstrate the varying phonological features of the Niger-Congo family to which they belong, these include the use of tone, nasality, and particular consonant and vowel systems; more information is available here.

[edit] Afro-Asiatic languages
The Afro-Asiatic languages of Nigeria divide into Chadic, Semitic and Berber. Of these, Chadic languages predominate, with 70+ languages. Semitic is represented by various dialects of Arabic spoken in the Northeast and Berber by the Tuareg-speaking communities in the extreme Northwest.

The Hausa language is the most well-known Chadic language in Nigeria; though there is a paucity of statistics on native speakers in Nigeria, the language is spoken by 24 million people in West Africa and is the second language of 15 million more. Hausa has therefore emerged as lingua franca throughout much of West Africa and the Sahel in particular. The language is spoken primarily amongst Muslims, and the language is often associated with Islamic culture in Nigeria and West Africa on the whole. Hausa is classified as a West Chadic language of the Chadic grouping, a major subfamily of Afro-Asiatic. Culturally, the Hausa people have become closely integrated with the Fulani following the jihadist establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate by the Fulani Uthman dan Fodio in the 19th century. Hausa is the official language of a number states in Northern Nigeria and the most important dialect is generally regarded as that spoken in Kano,an Eastern Hausa dialect, which is the standard variety used for official purposes. Eastern dialects also include some dialects spoken in Zaria, and Bauchi; Western Hausa dialects include Sakkwatanchi spoken in Sokoto, Katsinanchi in Katsina Arewanchi in both Gobir and Adar,Kebbi, and Zamfara. Katsina is transitional between Eastern and Western dialects. Northern Hausa dialects include Arewa and Arawa, while Zaria is a prominent Southern tongue version; Barikanchi is a pidgin formerly used in the military.

Hausa is a highly atypical Chadic language, with a reduced tonal system and a phonology influenced by Arabic. Other well-known Chadic languages include Ngas, Mwaghavul, Bole, Ngizim, Bade and Bacama. In the East of Nigeria and on into Cameroun are the Central Chadic languages, such as Bura, the Higi cluster and Marghi. These are highly diverse and remain very poorly described. Many Chadic languages are severely threatened; recent searches by Bernard Caron for Southern Bauchi languages show that even some of those recorded in the 1970s have disappeared. However, unknown Chadic languages are still being reported, witness the recent description of Dyarim.

Hausa, as well as other Afro-Asiatic languages like Bade (another West Chadic language spoken in Yobe State), have historically been written in a modified Arabic script known as ajami, however, the modern official orthography is now a romanization known as boko first introduced by the British regime in the 1930s.

[edit] See also
List of languages of Nigeria

[edit] Wikimedia
Systematic graphic of the Niger-Congo languages with numbers of speakers

[edit] References
Blench, Roger (2002) Research on Minority Languages in Nigeria in 2001. Ogmios.
Blench, Roger (1998) ‘The Status of the Languages of Central Nigeria’, in Brenzinger, M. (ed.) Endangered languages in Africa. Köln: Köppe Verlag, 187-206. online version
Crozier, David & Blench, Roger (1992) An Index of Nigerian Languages (2nd edition). Dallas: SIL.

[edit] External links
Ethnologue Listing of Nigerian Languages
Blench, Roger (n.d.) Atlas of Nigerian Languages, ed. III (revised and amended edition of Crozier & Blench 1992)
[hide]v • d • eLanguages of Africa

CULTURE IN NIGERIA ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA.ORG

May 5, 2008

from wikipedia.org

Culture of Nigeria
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The Culture of Nigeria is shaped by Nigeria’s multiple ethnic groups. The country has over 250 different languages and cultures. The four largest are the Hausa-Fulani who are predominant in the north, the Igbo who are predominant in the southeast, the Yoruba who are predominant in the southwest and the Benin Tribes who are predominant in the west, 80 percent of the Benins tend to be Christian while the remaining 20 percent worship idols which is called Ogu. These are followed by the Ibibio/Annang/Efik Efik, Ibibio, Annang people of the coastal southeastern Nigeria and the Ijaw of the Nigerian Delta.

The rest of Nigeria’s ethnic groups (sometimes called “mini-minorities”) are found all over the country but especially in the densely populated south. The Hausa tend to be Muslim and the Igbo, Christian. Ibibio/Annang/Efik Efik, Ibibio, Annang people are mainly Christian as Christianity and Western system entered Nigeria through their capital city Calabar. The Practitioners of both Christianity and Islam are found among the Yoruba. Indigenous religious practices remain important, especially in the south, and are often blended with Christian beliefs.

Nigeria is famous for its English literature and its popular music. Since the 1990s the Nigerian movie industry, sometimes called “Nollywood” has emerged as a fast-growing cultural force all over the continent.

Traditional music often include musicians on Gongon drums.

Other traditional cultural expressions are found in the various masquerades of Nigeria, such as the Eyo masquerades, the Ekpe and Ekpo Masquerades of Ibibio/Annang/Efik Efik, Ibibio, Annang people Ekpe Society in Calabar, the inventor of Nsibidi script of Nigeria and the Northern Edo Masquerades. Yoruba wooden masks are used in the Gelede masquerades.

[edit] Nigerian artists and writers
Internationally-known artists and writers from Nigeria include writer Chinua Achebe, Odia Ofeimum, James Ene Henshaw, Ntienyong Udo Akpan, E. E. Nkanga, Sola Osofisan, Chidi Anthony Opara, Ogaga Ifowodo, Maik Nwosu, Obi Nwakanma. juju musician King Sunny Ade, Nigerian-born Grammy winning jazz singer Sade (Helen Folasade Adu), free-style jazz musician Fela Kuti, who uses traditional African call-and-response, writer Ben Okri, playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nobel prize winning writer Wole Soyinka, and British/Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare.

[edit] External links
Things Come Together: A Journey through Literary Lagos
Overview of Nigeria’s Culture for business tourists
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AFRICAN LITERATURE FROM WIKIPEIDA.ORG

May 5, 2008

from en.wikipedia.org

African literature
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African literature refers to the literature of and for the African peoples. 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. [1]

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. Without denying the important role of aesthetics in Africa, we should keep in mind that, 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. [2]
Contents [hide]
1 Early written literatures
2 Oral literature
3 Precolonial literature
4 Colonial African literature
5 Postcolonial African literature
6 Noma Award
7 Major African novels
8 Major African poets
9 Secondary literature
10 See also
11 References
12 External links

[edit] Early written literatures
North Africa had an early literate indigenous civilization (Ancient Egypt) some of whose hieroglyphic writings survive. North Africans also contributed to writing in Phoenician, Greek and Latin. Phoenician material, from Carthage and other colonies on the continent, has been very largely lost. Encouraged by the royal patronage of the Ptolemaic rulers, scholars in Alexandria assembled the famous Library of Alexandria and Alexandrian writers contributed not insignificantly to the material housed in this institution. North Africans writing in Latin include Apuleius and Saint Augustine.

In Islamic times, North Africans, such as ibn Khaldun attained great distinction within Arabic literature.

[edit] Oral literature
Oral literature (or orature) may be in prose or verse. The prose is often mythological or historical and can include tales of the trickster character. Storytellers in Africa sometimes use call-and-response techniques to tell their stories. Poetry, often sung, includes: narrative epic, occupational verse, ritual verse, praise poems to rulers and other prominent people. Praise singers, bards sometimes known as “griots”, tell their stories with music. [3] Also recited, often sung, are: love songs, work songs, children’s songs, along with epigrams, proverbs and riddles.[4]

[edit] Precolonial literature
Examples of pre-colonial African literature include the Epic of Sundiata composed in medieval Mali, The older Epic of Dinga from the old Ghana Empire, and the Kebra Negast or book of kings from Ethiopia. One popular form of traditional African folktale is the “trickster” story, where a small animal uses its wits to survive encounters with larger creatures. Examples of animal tricksters include Anansi, a spider in the folklore of the Ashanti people of Ghana; Ijàpá, a tortoise in Yoruba folklore of Nigeria; and Sungura, a hare found in central and East African folklore. [5]

[edit] Colonial African literature
The African works best known in the West from the period of colonization and the slave trade are primarily slave narratives, such as Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789).

In the colonial period, Africans exposed to Western languages began to write in those tongues. In 1911, Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford (also known as Ekra-Agiman) of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) published what is probably the first African novel written in English, Ethiopia Unbound: Studies in Race Emancipation [6] Although the work moves between fiction and political advocacy, its publication and positive reviews in the Western press mark a watershed moment in African literature.

During this period, African plays began to emerge. Herbert Isaac Ernest Dhlomo of South Africa published the first English-language African play , The Girl Who Killed to Save: Nongqawuse the Liberator in 1935. In 1962, Ngugi wa Thiong’o of Kenya wrote the first East African drama, The Black Hermit, a cautionary tale about “tribalism” (racism between African tribes).

African literature in the late colonial period (between the end of World War I and independence) increasingly showed themes of liberation, independence, and (among Africans in French-controlled territories) négritude. One of the leaders of the négritude movement, the poet and eventual President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, published the first anthology of French-language poetry written by Africans in 1948, Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française (Anthology of the New Black and Malagasy Poetry in the French Language), featuring a preface by the French existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre. [7]

[edit] Postcolonial African literature
With liberation and increased literacy since most African nations gained their independence in the 1950s and 1960s, African literature has grown dramatically in quantity and in recognition, with numerous African works appearing in Western academic curricula and on “best of” lists compiled at the end of the 20th century. African writers in this period wrote both in Western languages (notably English, French, and Portuguese) and in traditional African languages.

Ali A. Mazrui and others mention seven conflicts as themes: the clash between Africa’s past and present, between tradition and modernity, between indigenous and foreign, between individualism and community, between socialism and capitalism, between development and self-reliance and between Africanity and humanity. [8] Other themes in this period include social problems such as corruption, the economic disparities in newly independent countries, and the rights and roles of women. Female writers are today far better represented in published African literature than they were prior to independence.

In 1986, Wole Soyinka became the first post-independence African writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature. Algerian-born Albert Camus had been awarded the 1957 prize.

[edit] Noma Award
The Noma Award, begun in 1980, is presented for the outstanding work of the year in African literature.

[edit] Major African novels
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (Nigeria)
Alan Paton, Cry, The Beloved Country (South Africa)
Gracy Ukala, Dizzy Angel (Nigeria)
Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa, Ogboju odẹ ninu igbo irunmalẹ (The Forest of a Thousand Demons) (Nigeria)
Mariama Bâ, Une si longue lettre (So Long a Letter) (Senegal)
Ousmane Sembène, Xala (Senegal)
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat (Kenya)
Benjamin Sehene, Le Feu sous la Soutane (Fire under the Cassock) (Rwanda)
Thomas Mofolo, Chaka (South Africa/Lesotho)
Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions (Zimbabwe)
Dambudzo Marechera, The House of Hunger (Zimbabwe/Rhodesia)
Yvonne Vera, Butterfly Burning (Zimbabwe)
Mia Couto, Terra Sonâmbula (A Sleepwalking Land) (Mozambique)
Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (Ghana)
Ben Okri, The Famished Road (Nigeria)
J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace (South Africa)
BAYO ADEBOWALE’S NOVELS:”THE VIRGIN”,”OUT OF HIS MIND” AND “LONELY DAYS”(NIGERIA)
[edit] Major African poets
Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
Gracy Ukala (Nigeria)
Wole Soyinka (Nigeria)
Christopher Okigbo (Nigeria)
Lenrie Peters (Gambia)
Kofi Anyidoho (Ghana)
Dennis Brutus (South Africa)
Kofi Awoonor (Ghana)
Chidi Anthony Opara(Nigeria)
BAYO ADEBOWALE(NIGERIA)
[edit] Secondary literature
Encyclopedia of African Literature, ed Simon Gikandi, London: Routledge, 2003.
The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature, ed Abiola Irele and Simon Gikandi, 2 vls, Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Table of contents
Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writing by Women of African Descent”, ed Margaret Busby (Random House, 1992).
General History of Africa vol. VIII, ed. Ali A. Mazrui, UNESCO, 1993, ch. 19 “The development of modern literature since 1935,” Ali A. Mazrui et al.
Understanding Contemporary Africa, ed. April A. Gordon and Donald L. Gordon, Lynne Rienner, London, 1996, ch. 12 “African Literature”, George Joseph
“Great Poets From Around The World (Nigeria)”,World Poets Society Official Website,www.world-poets.blogspot.com

[edit] See also
List of African writers
African cinema
Nigerian literature

[edit] References
^ George, Joseph, “African Literature” ch. 12 of Understanding Contemporary Africa p. 303
^ ibid p. 304
^ http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/ent/A0802673.html
^ George Joseph, op. cit. pp. 306-310
^ African Literature – MSN Encarta
^ [1].
^ Leopold Senghor – MSN Encarta
^ Ali A. Mazrui et al. “The development of modern literature since 1935” as ch. 19 of UNESCO’s General History of Africa vol. VIII p. 564f Collaborating with Ali A. Mazrui on this chapter were Mario Pinto de Andrade, M’hamed Alaoui Abdalaoui, Daniel P. Kunene and Jan Vansina.

[edit] External links
African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
African Literature Association
The 100 best African books of the 20th century
Research in African literature and Culture
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Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.
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