Accepted paper:

Oral literature, liberty and political change in Africa: the case of Cameroon

Authors:

Sone Enongene (Walter Sisulu University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines a few protest songs and folktales selected randomly from Cameroon which reflect the traditional African concepts of leadership, freedom and democracy. It shows that the concepts of good leadership, freedom and democracy are fundamental to the concerns of African oral literature.

Paper long abstract:

Violence as a means of expressing and achieving political preferences is rife in struggles for liberty globally and particularly in Africa. Most of the great political changes the world has known have taken place under violent conditions. However, although violence has paid off where other means have failed, it must be rejected because it is coercive, costly and leads to disruptive actions whose results are uncertain. Written against the background of the social contract theory, this paper examines a few protest songs and folktales selected randomly from Cameroon which reflect the traditional African concepts of leadership, freedom and democracy. We highlight that the concepts of good leadership, freedom and democracy are fundamental to the concerns of African oral literature. The paper demonstrates how African oral literature can illuminate the current political process in Africa with the view of drawing implications for positive change. Finally, it is recommended that if the issues of violence, liberty, democracy, freedom, good governance and political change in Africa are to be addressed more successfully and if the politically fraught conditions of Africans are to be ameliorated, Africans must be prepared to undergo a radical change of mentality. We must be able to rehabilitate our oral literature to raise the level of consciousness to provoke positive change. Keywords: Oral literature, liberty, good leadership, freedom, democracy, political change

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Stream:
Politics and International Relations
Regime change, democratic experiments and trends in succession politics in Africa