Orature, and the art of African expression

"...the use of utterance as an aesthetic means of expression" Pio Zirimu coined the term in 1970. He was still developing the definition when his criticism of Idi Amin in theatre led to his death. ”

Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Orature, derived from the words oral and literature, is the diverse complex of folklore. “Pre-literate societies, by definition, have no written literature, but may possess rich and varied oral traditions—such as folk epics, folklore, proverbs and folksong—that effectively constitute an oral literature.” – Ngugi wa Thiogo
Africa’s first “university” was around the fireplace, where families and communities gathered to share information and tell stories. Hip hop artist GNL Zamba, uses orature to bridge the traditional and the dynamic modern worlds. Through lecture and discussion, students explore the power of spoken word, folklore, poetry, songs, riddles and chants. In Africa, even the punctuation with sounds (not words) during storytelling, like ululation and jeering, are examples of emotional expression. Students learn about the process and purpose of oral traditions, as a means of preserving, enriching and sharing culture.

This lecture is modified for all ages.
Orature is more than the fusion of all art forms. It is the conception and reality of a total view of life”

Pitiko Ntuli