The Aesthetics Of Ado-Ekiti Praise Poetry

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

The Aesthetics Of Ado-Ekiti Praise Poetry


Until now, the oral art of Ado-Ekiti people in Ekiti State has not received considerable academic attention. The present research work is borne of the strong need to explore a specific art form – the traditional praise poetry among Ado-Ekiti people. The work focuses on the richness and fascinating relations between aesthetic form and content in the traditional praise poetry of Ado-Ekiti people. This enables us to appreciate the aesthetics and intellectual patterning of the art, along with its functional values in society. This thesis therefore discusses the status of Yoruba aesthetics in traditional Ado-Ekiti from a holistic perspective, with emphasis on how culture has impacted positively on their well-being, although there are benefits derived from their status in society. While caution must be exercised in the quest for the foreign culture so that African cultural values can be retained, and thus not destroyed under the guise of civilization. It is in light of this, that research deployed the functionalist criticism in doing justice to praise poetry.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

One of the most striking features of colonial administrations in Africa is their failure to understand the culture of the people they were privileged to govern. According to Nwosu (1980:4), “the utter failure of most of the bureaucrats concerned to grasp the realities of life of the various people they were privileged to govern”. They had confused notions about what constituted African aesthetics and failed to realize that the literature of Africa does not begin with the written. As a matter of fact, oral tradition has been in existence in African society since the beginning of the continent. However, despite all the processes that colonization took to erase African oral tradition, the form and the aesthetics is still cherished among the people. Lindfors (2002:7-9) confirms the prevalence of oral tradition in the works of African literary writers such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and D. O. Fagunwa which they drew from the rich experience they acquired in their various cultures. Oral tradition emanates from the people and is communicated among the people in oral form. Oral tradition in Africa is best described as the literature of the various traditional African societies. Oral tradition has also added sample of documentary from African historians particularly for scholars from the pre-colonial era. Jackson (1977:5) opine that Africans have relied on these traditions to give shape to the past.

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