By J. Ki-Zerbo
Assesses the significance hooked up by way of African societies to their prior and the expansion and improvement of African historiography. this can be through money owed of the first literary assets, the oral and residing traditions and African archaeology and its suggestions. There are additional chapters on linguistics, migrations and historic geography prior to the second one a part of the e-book which bargains in particular with earliest guy and the prehistory of Africa based on geographical region. particular chapters also are dedicated to prehistoric artwork, agricultural options and the advance of metallurgy. The sequence is co-published in Africa with seven publishers, within the usa and Canada by way of the collage of California Press, and in organization with the UNESCO Press.
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Additional info for General History of Africa, Volume 1: Methodology and African Prehistory
T h e brand image of Africa has been shaped by so m a n y interested external attitudes, right u p to those of present-day films, that it is time to turn a new look on Africa - one from the inside, one of identity, authenticity, awakening: a 'volte rapatriante' (a return h o m e ) , as Jacques Berque calls this return to the fountainhead. W h e n one thinks of the power of the word and of names in Africa, and that to n a m e someone is almost to take 19 Methodology and African Prehistory possession of him, so m u c h so that people w h o are revered (fathers, husbands, kings) are referred to by nicknames or periphrases rather than by their names, one realizes w h y the whole series of words and concepts, all the panoply of stereotypes and mental patterns concerning African history, add up to the most subtle form of alienation.
For a large n u m b e r of names have been distorted by the exotic pronunciation or transcription of nonAfricans, or by Africans acting as interpreters or scribes. T h e hunt for the mot juste, even and especially w h e n it has been institutionalized in writing 14. See M . Houis, 1971, p. 45. 15. See C . Ehret, 1968. 12 General introduction for centuries, is one of the most complex tasks to be accomplished by a critical history of Africa. Let us take an example. T h e word Gaoga, used by L e o Africanus to denote a kingdom of the Sudan, has often been assimilated with the word Gao.
These instruments, the vehicles of spoken history, are sacred, the object of veneration. In effect they are part of the artist, and their importance in communicating the message is all the greater since, because language is tonal, music has direct meaning; the instrument becomes the artist's voice, and he does not need to utter a word. T h e triple rhythm of tone, intensity and duration becomes music with meaning, the kind of semantic melodism Marcel Jousse spoke of. A s a matter of fact, music is so m u c h a part of oral tradition that some stories can only be told in song.