14 August 2017
Safiatou Amadou, Agnés Agboton and Boniface Ofogo share the importance of oral tradition in African education with the public at Rototom Sunsplash.
When looking at the true power of words, “Our true history carries on to be chronicled through speech”, said Boniface Ofogo to the rest of the table in the Social Forum of Rototom Sunsplash as he was announcing the importance of oral tradition in African education, “through spoken word we find the living memory of the community”. He was accompanied by the philologist and African storyteller Agnés Agboton y Safiatou Amadou.
The use of the spoken word has started to desert Boniface due to his stroke which has brought on some health problems. Even so, he was able to share with the public present the history of a German musician. The spoken word is used in the telling of stories as a means of creating and highlighting key figures. The living word is an oral tradition which has transformed Africa’s way of knowing where they come from and gives them the answers to so many questions, questions put forward by Boniface himself.
For a short time, the Social Forum seemed to have converted itself into a fire which would have been common place beneath the stars where this oral tradition would normally be shared. Safiatou Amadou and Agnés Agboton made the origins and importance of the oral tradition in Africa known to the public. Safiatou achieved this by reliving the epic genre, always coupled with music, typical from Niger, her country of origin. Similarly stories, songs, legends, proverbs and myths were used as ways of explaining clearly. Much like in the case of the epic dynastical feats, used so as to explain the origins of her predecessors and the written epics, legends in the form of epic tales which tell of a historic period.
Agnés y Safiatou took the public on a journey to a similar Africa used as an inspiration of the stage in the African Village. It involved stories, legends and African song, for the old as well as the young, creating an authentic traditional ceremony. Check out #celebratingafrica in order to go on a journey through the spoken word.