The Oral Tradition:Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali
How Can A Historian Use Oral Tradition When Writing History
Oral tradition is a history or a story passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth. The story is usually the history of a civilization or culture.
A griot or Djeli is the oral historian or storyteller. You can tell a griot by its last name. If they have a name like "Kouyate or "Dioubate , or any name ending with "ate then you know that person is a griot. There are male and female griots. Male griots tell the family history of the male side and females tell the female side. Griots only marry other griots. When the griot tells the history of a certain family, they use instruments, they sing and dance. It's more like a performance, than just a person telling a story.
Oral tradition is significant in all cultures and societies. The oral tradition tells stories of the past and of how things use to be. Oral tradition also helps to educate the young and to teach important lessons about the past and about life. Since many oral traditions are well put together and are told often without any change, they are as dependable as any history books or as any recordings about a certain culture or being.
Oral traditions can be divided into many different types such as, legends, myths, folktales, and memorates. "A memorate is an account of a personal experience or encounter with the supernatural, such as a ghost story or other expression of the spirit to a human being. Legends are oral traditions related to particular places and often involve culture heroes, witches, ghosts, or some other phenomenon related to that place. They can involve the recent or distant past, but are most important in linking people and the land. Myths are those accounts, which portray the earliest possible time, including creation stories. Other myths account for the organization of the world and society, for ins