Oral tradition is one of the basic verbal communication techniques in African societies. It facilitates transmission of cultural values across generations through speech, folk tales, proverbs and tongue twisters, songs, poetry, and chants, among others. They are used to preserve cultural history. Examples include children being told by their parents to always take their bath in the morning because spirits may have touched them at night. Several other stories about origin of communities, tribes, cultural practices and historic places, people and events are often learnt through Oral tradition.
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What are the advantages of oral tradition?
Oral tradition offers the advantages of inducing open communication and verifiable first-hand knowledge of events from a historical reference point. This practice allows languages to persist and permits practitioners of specialized traditions to show off their skills. Passing along lessons and ideas orally creates ownership of these histories among future generations.
Oral tradition benefits transmission of cultural values and first-hand historical events in a way that makes listeners more active participants in receiving information. This helps people retain what they learn and generates individuals who are capable of continuing these oral traditions.
Using oral tradition as a means of passing along stories and histories keeps the human element intact within the events that occurred. It grants a first-person perspective or a collective look at the conditions of a people during a specific period and relates details that create emotional responses among listeners.
Implementing oral tradition is part of many cultural experiences and dates back to points in the past when these groups had no written language or the tools to create documents that stand the test of time. Oral tradition remains a part of cultural awareness and is of great historical value in parts of the world where this continues to be the case so that the past remains alive in the minds of present and future people.