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Mythical Narratives in Ritual

Dagara "Black Bagr"

Series:

Alexis B. Tengan

In this volume, the author presents a version of Africa’s longest oral recitation of myth of origination, the black bagr myth found among the Dagara of Northern Ghana and Southern Burkina Faso, and discusses in detail its historical and literary significance for the society. Hence, the author first outlines the historical conditions possibly responsible for the coming into existence of both the mythical narratives and the rites of initiation that accompany the narration; and then presents the literary frame and structure in which the black bagr narrative is composed.
The rest of the book is a unique bilingual (Dagara and English) presentation of the black bagr narration recorded and viewed live from within a secret rite of initiation. The narration itself, similar to all black bagr ritual narrative sessions, lasted up to three hours and was performed without interruption by one speaker. The narrative content shows to what extent the rites achieve the double purpose of teaching the initiates culture knowledge and giving them new individual identities that will equip them for different social positions in life.
Contents: Historiography and Cosmography in Northern Ghana and Southern Burkina Faso - Rites of Mythical Narration – Literary Composition of Myth: Riddles, Proverbs and Folktales, African oral literature.