ORALITY, LITERACY AND PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS IN TRADITIONAL AFRICAN SOCIETIES: THE BAKOR EXPERIENCE IN CROSS RIVER STATE, NIGERIA. (Published)
Knowledge acquisition, like all human interaction in the world depends on and is enhanced through verbal or written forms which, today, exist at parallels but are never dichotomous, yet oral cultures seem to be more pervasive than written cultures in many parts of the world. History and knowledge systems are located in memory, the personal lives, traditions and the mythical past of all communities in the world. Today, literature has commonly been associated with written forms yet most other cultures of the world, apart from western cultures, have produced a wide range of literary material all encoded in verbal or non-written genres. Oral discourses are, therefore, predominant in most indigenous communities all over the world and knowledge systems have as such been constructed and communicated through these oral discourses or verbal systems, with emphasis on graphic contextual performances. African verbal forms, perhaps, constitute the largest stock of literary material performed, sung or spoken in numerous social or ritualistic contexts. These enhance encoding of new meaning and knowledge through the transmission of ideas and in most contexts, oral or verbal communication surpasses all other forms of communication. Despite this importance of orality, the supposed supremacy of a scientific consciousness which is enhanced by writing has become coterminous with the relegation of verbal performances leading to the failure to understand the nature and function of oral literature and its pedagogical content amongst oral cultures. Literacy is consequently emphasized over orality and contextuality. Recent developments in the academia, however, have tended to emphasize the supremacy of orality as a preferred mode of socialization and pedagogical functions. Anthropologists, literary critics, folklorists, creative writers and even psychologists all attest to the dynamism of oral literature in the production and transmission of knowledge systems not only in Africa but generally in pre-literate societies all over the world. This paper, therefore, examines the extent to which Oral literature can serve as a base for the development of a pedagogical model for instruction of our younger generations in African knowledge systems using the Bakor experience as an example.