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African Oral Art and Culture: Understanding How Occultism Is Shown Through African Art and Culture, Research Paper Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1900

Research Paper

Introduction

Culture is a specific source of developmental foundation that every community depends upon especially in relation to developing human understanding and behavior over the process by which they should be able to relate with others in the society. For many years, culture is a social element that is understood as the source of traditional course of living that serves as the identity of the entire community. This is the primary reason why particular communities are noted to be different than others especially because of the identity that they belong to. Asians have different cultural traditions compared to those found in the European region. Same as that with the culture of the American society compared to that of the African race (Asante, 2007, 89). Relatively, these differences separate them from each other and make them uniquely exceptional.

As for this discussion, an understanding on the oral art of Africa shall be given particular attention to. Notably, the presentation shall be directed towards creating a specific definition on how occultism is utilized as a primary source of cultural development that the African society is known for and what it is based upon back in the past up until the contemporary era. Relatively, it could be noted that somehow, oral art from different nations specifically present the cultural background that binds the communities that live in the said country (Asante, 2007, 76). In the same manner, this is to be shown in the discussion that is to be presented below.

Understanding Occultism

Occultism is often regarded as the process by which humans tend to flock together and create a group based upon certain beliefs and making that particular belief relatively reflected through their acts and rituals as they congregate together. Notably, the relationship that humans under these groups form is differentiated through the ideal representation on how they live their lives in accordance with the beliefs that they depend upon. Most likely, these individuals let their regular activities and their daily dealings be based upon the courses of living suggested by their beliefs in the occult.

Most often than not, occultism is closely related to the study or the creation of a relational connection that humans have towards the inner world of the supposedly “unknown”. Back in the days when science was not yet completely known to be evidently effective in defining the mysteries of nature, it could be realized how humans intended to resort to specific beliefs that brought them to an understanding that they could accept. The supposedly mystifying thoughts about the natural wonders of the environment they live in were used by these individuals to create forms of beliefs that would submit them to the higher powers that they perceived have been governing their society in the past. Since the belief over a monotheistic God has not been considered evidently effective then, it could be analyzed how humans in the past tried to consider every mystifying element in the environment a god and thus rendering these particular elements some praises and some indicative recognition making them fully subjected to their supposed powers. Having the fear of possibly making the powerful ones angry, occultists make it a point that they are able to make conceivable offerings that would laud their identifiable consideration of the fact that they are being guided by these powerful authorities and that they ought to give praise and supplications so as to make sure of receiving their blessings.

Culture like this form could be obviously observed within the African regions. The form of occultism in Africa has a relative connection to how the people lived and how they intended to run their lives and decide on matters that basically affect them directly. As the years passed, occultism in Africa never ceased to influence the way the people lived and the way the human individuals realized their course of development in line with the observable blessings they believe their gods have upon them. An evident proof to this matter is the existing ancient and even the more recent forms of African oral art present in the community.

What African Oral Art is About

The African oral art is most often than not conceived as one among the richest and the most meaningful forms of artistic presentations in history. Notably, the rich history that the people has undergone and the strife they continue to content with helps the African community-members to create the most convincing ways of redefining their cultural art especially in form of oral representations (Gordon, 1996, 56). Oral art specifically involves poems, story-telling and song writing.

In Africa, such form of art is very evident especially when it comes to make a specific dedication towards the differentiation of their years of cultural development. In each generation, a remarkably evident presentation of tradition and culture also represents the transformation of the oral art that the African cultural artists create (Gordon, 1996, 43). While other nations also have their own oral art presentations that make them uniquely different from other races, the African oral art has a remarkable difference from others. A particular element that makes the African oral art uniquely different from others is that of its spiritual value.

Observe how the term “!Ka Nyama bo!” means “May the powers of nyama safely disperse” in one particular poem by the West African Bamara community. Specifically, a particular excerpt from the said poem reads:

 

The word is total:

it cuts, excoriates

forms, modulates

perturbs, maddens

cures or directly kills

amplifies or reduces

 

According to intention

It excites or calms souls.

 

–Praise song of a bard of the Bamara Komo society

(qtd. in Louis-Vincent Thomas and Rene Luneau,

Les Religions d’Afrique noire, textes et traditions sacres, Gleason xxxvii)

Source: http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/CoursePack/coursepackpast/oralarts.htm. (Retrieved on April 2, 2012).

Considerably, it could be noted from the example presented above that the creator specifically shows considerable recognition of the soul and the spiritual being that makes one an existent element in the society. Through language, this particular poem specifically notes different matters that make a human being worthy of existing in the society. Specifically, sickness and curing all comes from a source of belief that humans depend upon which is directly controlled and influenced by the ways by which an individual is affected and motivated to constantly provide praises and recognition to a god that he or she believes to have a great control over the life that he or she lives in.

Understandably, it could be related through the poem presented above that spirituality is a great source of confidence in the presentation of culture and living that the African society is founded upon (Gordon, 1996, 43). It is rather defined that the African people strongly depends on the capacity of the superior creations to control their living and to decide upon the consequences of their acts. Notably, this defines how specifically important powerful authorities of nature are being recognized by the African society and its people.

 

What the African Culture Represents

Unlike other nations, oral art is a prominent form of culture that defines the African traditions. While other races depend upon literary excellence, long-time handed down oral art has become a foundation of the strong culture that defines the African community. This fact about the cultural course of the African community specifically implicates a strong definition on the capacity of the African people to retain memorable and meaningful form of worded art that mirrors out their personal understanding of spirituality (Khapoya, 1998. 54). What makes it possible for these forms of art to remain intact even when they are not duly written down by the creators?

The meaning that they have makes them powerful presentations of the beliefs of the people. Notably, while occultism is a specific part of the African culture, oral art is one of the form of rituals that Africans use to develop a more refined understanding and consideration over the occultist’s practices that they embrace (Khapoya, 1998, 32). The memory systems that the African community use is then considered as a great presentation on how much impact occultism had on their lives, their traditions and the manner by which they are able to retain a specific protection towards their valuable definition of developmental art which they are still known for at present .

Memory is also considered by the African community as the gift from the gods. Notably, elders of ancient African communities are considered to be the most expert individuals when it comes to creating extemporaneous oral art when they are asked to lead particular rituals in the public areas where they are expected to congregate together (Shepard, 1978, 65). This is the reason why strong memory and a well-defined capacity to create oral art immediately is one of the primary characteristics of the African community elders. It is with this power that that the African people believe they are being duly guided by their gods and are blessed by the powers of nature.

Conclusion

The African community is a rich and well-defined culture-refined society even though they are surrounded by issues regarding their weak governing systems which they use to define their current social systems (Naipaul, 2010, 43). It is undeniable that somehow, the presentation above shows an exceptional ability that the African society have in consideration with that of the others, a course of strong memory that the people use to preserve the oral art that have become a part of their cultural traditions from the ancient generations of Africans towards the present years. It could be observed how some modern African hip hop songs include the same thoughts from ancient oral arts created by African Bramas (Martin, et al., 2008, 78). Most often than not, the value of these lines define the spiritual beliefs of the African community, The themes of the songs and the poems often define the dependence of the people towards the foundational creation of occultism in the communities that they have been brought up into, an art that specifically creates a perfect picture that shows how spirituality and occultism specifically impact the lives of Africans then and now.

Special as the capacity of the African people is when it comes to retaining memory of the words and the meanings of each oral art creation, it is evidently recognized as strength on the part of the people. Making the best out of the words that they use to create meanings that would define their culture, their being and their thoughts make a great impact on how they are currently recognized as members of the both the ancient and current society.

Culture and art have been defined in this presentation as strong representation of a nation’s history and capacity. Through the years, it is then understood that life as defined through arts would remain an evident representation on how humans intend to develop from one generation to another and yet retain particular characteristics that serve as their specific identification making them unique from each other hence making human living a rather well-defined course of diversity.

References:

Asante, Molefi (2007). The History of Africa. USA: Routledge.

In Praise of the Word: Traditional African Oral Arts. http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/CoursePack/coursepackpast/oralarts.htm. (May 2, 2012).

Gordon, April A.; Donald L. Gordon (1996). Understanding contemporary Africa. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Khapoya, Vincent B. (1998). The African experience: an introduction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Martin, W., Rische, J., Rische, K., & VanGordon, K. (2008). The Kingdom of the Occult. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Shepard, Leslie (editor) (1978). Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co.

Naipaul, V. S..(2010). The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief. Picador.

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