Theatre and Cultural Transmission: Myth and Ritual as Carriers of Cultural in Femi Osofisan's Morountodun

Ebo, Emma Ejiofor
September 2010
African Performance Review;2010, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p66
Academic Journal
Myth and ritual have always been of immense interest to scholars of African culture, and the fact that there exists a relationship between both enables researchers to study them side by side. It is true to say that myth validates ritual while ritual sustains myth. In the African world view, the living are able to interact with the ancestors through ritual, and it is this mythical belief that makes the living carry out ritual processes either for propitiation, supplication or thanksgiving. Therefore, myth and ritual are embodiments of a people's culture. It is through myth and ritual that essential aspects of a people's culture are transmitted; for a people without culture are a people without roots. Thus, culture, for any community, must be preserved and handed down from one generation to the next. It is against this background that this paper argues that myth and ritual are potential transmitters of culture. My paper, however, argues that colonisation and globalisation have deeply impacted upon African cultures, myths and rituals through the exposure to and contact with western and non-African cultural practices. Using Morountodun, the paper suggests that Femi Osofisan, in his crusade for national consciousness and cultural awareness, uses his art to explore and affirm the preservative and transmissive potentials of myth and ritual of African cultures.


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