GIKUYU ORAL LITERATURE By Wanjiku Mukabi
This book offers an intimate initiation into the oral literature of the Agikuyu people of Kenya. The authors offer examples of oral narratives, proverbs, songs, riddles and poetry collected from live performances, many of which they have themselves participated in. The examples are rendered both in the Gikuyu language of performance and in the English translation.The authors have succeeded in conveying the atmosphere of the actual performance by remaining faithful to the conversational language of narration or recitation. Each narrative, even when very much a part of a commonly-held tradition, comes out with the originality of the performance of a particular, individual artist. And the songs are presented as they have been sang for particular occasions - by individualized singers who express a cultural and value world through a particularised mood and emotion.The authors also feature quite prominently the performance of two gicandi artists. Gicandi is a uniquely Gikuyu artform - a poetry recited to the accompaniment of the music of the gicandi instrument.With its good examples, lucid and stimulating discussion as well as questions that provoke thought, this book is an ideal support book for the secondary school and university oral literature programmes.