Abstract and Keywords
Despite the high complexity of oral art in Africa, some of its features are shared by almost all narrative cultures. The most prominent criterion appears to be the truth aspect—whether a storyteller considers his narration as rendering facts or fictional matters. To the category of telling facts belong historical reports (chronicles) and ethno-texts, i.e. descriptions of special handicrafts, economic activities, and legal concepts. The main genres falling under the category of fiction are fables, animal tales, and fairy tales. According to the basic definition of truth and fiction at least three borderline genres emerge: anecdotes, legends, and epics. Modern scholarly interests are mainly directed towards the comparison of narrative types and motifs, the performance aspect, and the exploitation of oral narrations as sources for the reconstruction of precolonial history.
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