african literature


african literature

the traditional oral and written literatures together with the mainly 20th-century literature written mostly in European languages but also to an increasing extent in the many languages of the sub-Saharan region. Traditional written literature is limited to a smaller geographic area than is oral literature; indeed, it is most characteristic of those sub-Saharan cultures that have participated in the cultures of the Mediterranean. In particular, there is literature in both Hausa and Arabic from the scholars of what is now northern Nigeria; the literature of the likewise Muslim Somali people; and literature in Ge'ez (or Ethiopic) and Amharic of Ethiopia, the one part of Africa where Christianity has been practiced long enough to be considered traditional. The literature of South Africa in English and Afrikaans is covered in a separate article, South African literature. See also African theatre.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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