The Igbo Storytelling Tradition
Before the coming of the white man, the Igbo cultural society educated itself through folktales; storytelling was a revered tradition used to pass ancestors’ wisdom to the younger generation. We assume that anyone who can tell a good story is wise.
The Igbo people believe in a supernatural being called Chi, who created the world. They believe in the reincarnation of souls and that life goes beyond the physical. One remarkable thing about African storytelling culture is the use of non-living, animal and spirit characters. Chief among the characters is Nnabe, the shrewd Tortoise.
Folklore and storytelling generally are an essential part of African culture—folktales were used to teach the youth and little children about life’s virtues and vices. Just like proverbs, it is common to teach using stories that generally end with morals. This allows the listening audience to make choices from the various human characters portrayed in the tales. So the importance of storytelling and folklore can not be overemphasised.
I compiled a list of the significance of folklore in Igboland in both English and Igbo language.
The Importance of Folklore in Igboland
1. Folktales are used to teach children about their tradition, the taboo and believe of the Igbo.
2. It is used to instruct and raise a child in good character by demonstrating the benefits and consequences of virtues and vices.
3. It teaches that stealing, greed, pride and disrespect is terrible.
4. It teaches the need to keep good company and relationships.
5. It teaches the difference between evil and good.
6. It is used to raise a child to be reasonable, polite, humble, respectful and compassionate.
Uru akụkọ ifo baara ndị Igbo
1. E ji akụkọ ifo akụziri ụmụaka ihe gbasara omenala Igbo, nsọ ala na nkwenye ndị Igbo.
2. E ji ya eme ka ụmụaka mara na arụrụala adịghị mma.
3. Ọ na-enye aka ka ụmụaka mata na oke ọchịchọ, ohi na anyaukwu adịghịmma.
4. O na-enye aka ịme ka ụmụaka mata ezi mmekọrịta mmadụ na ibe ya ọkachasị n’ezinaụlọ.
5. Ọ na-akụziri ụmụaka ihe dị mma na ihe dị njọ mee ka ha gbaara ihe dị njọ ọsọ.
6. E ji ya enye ọzụzụ nke ga-enye aka ka nwata too n’ụzọ dị mma.