Trickster In Oral Stories

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In Africa stories are often told orally, versus written down in literature as in other parts of the world. African storytelling often includes ancestors and gods and is based on historic events or cultural leaders (Herskovits, 1984:452-453). The unwritten works of oral storytelling are used to teach history, culture, traditions and morals to the audience (Nelson, 2009:209-210). Storytelling has the ability to educate people more effectively because it is very entertaining; being engaged in the story helps people to remember the events and to relate the relationships and lessons within the story to real life (Carter-Black, 2007:33). In this essay I uses Yael Farber’s play, Molora, as a reference example to explain three common elements found…show more content…
The trickster is typically depicted as either a “selfish buffoon, in which uses his smarts to deceive people for personal motives or pleasure, or a “cultural hero” where he uses this wit to help the oppressed and improve society (Carroll, 1984:106). Tricksters in African stories more often than not takes on the role of a “cultural hero,” versus the “selfish buffoon” (Carroll, 1984:118-119). The cultural hero may break the rules and be rebellious, but the motives of the character are to improve others lives, not solely his or her own. In South Africa, Nelson Mandela could be considered a “cultural hero” trickster. He was put into prison for his political influence to end Apartheid. He speaks against the Apartheid government, trying to end the current segregation law and gains support from the black South African population. Through breaking rules he is able to improve South Africa by getting the Apartheid to end and creating a more equal society. To this day he is a South African cultural…show more content…
Focusing on ubuntu and not justifying revenge and making sure everyone’s voices were heard was a large contributing factor to South Africa’s relatively peaceful progression from Apartheid. When Farber wrote this play, she realized that there was something for the world to learn from South Africa’s actions Post-Apartheid. In Culture Project's interview with Farber, she talks about her thoughts before writing the play and states “I couldn’t help as a South African the difference between a first world nation, with every kind of technologically sophisticated capacity, and the very challenged environment of South Africa and the kind of responses that you heard in Truth and Reconciliation Commission that seemed to articulate to me a level of sophistication spiritually, morally, politically, that that just blew everything else away” (Culture Project, 2011). The Foreword of Molora, refers to the 9/11 attack on the United States and how the nation, hatred filled, rushed into war against Afghanistan (Farber, 2008:8). The War on Afghanistan is only one example in history where war was sourced by bitter revenge. Taking an eye for an eye is not rare; people need to learn that bitter revenge is not how peaceful progress occurs. Considering how the play was written for an international audience, the world should follow South Africa’s actions of not taking

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