Historicizing the Literatures of Minority African Cultures through Biography: The Case of Tiv Oral Poetry


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This study emphasizes attention on the literatures of African minority groups by focusing on the Tiv and constructing the history of their poetry through biographical attention to fifteen key composers. This history through biography is capable of harvesting the literary heritage of Tiv poetry from the earliest times to the present as well as further underscoring the originality of oral literature generally. For, the biographical attention to be paid to selected composers will indeed narrow the gap between oral and written literatures and consequently place orature once more on its correct pedestal of literary acceptability. The research is field based; thankfully the needed fieldwork has already been conducted and much of the data transcribed and translated for analysis. The scrupulous selection of strategic composers done here and the equally conscientious analysis of their artistic careers to be done would definitely guarantee a fair historical paradigm for Tiv oral poetry.