CHRONICLERS AS AGENT OF AFRICAN ORAL TRADITION

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Chroniclers are historians saddled with the responsibility of recording achievements of kings. During important occasions, these chroniclers were given the opportunity to narrate those important events that had taken place during the reign of a king. They also say some things about the achievements of fore-runners especially people from the same line.
It is the duty of the chroniclers to have in their memory the achievements of the past and incumbent king. This has helped us to know more about kinship. For example in the Oyo empire, they have the Bere Festival which was an annual event commemorating the achievements of the reigning king and during such an occasion, the chronicler was given the opportunity to narrate the major highlights of the achievements of the king.
These chroniclers are so perfect that they have retentive memory of the achievements of various that had reigned. Even though they did not have writing, pre-literate society had devised this means whereby it is possible to know what had taken place during the reign of kings.
Information given by the chroniclers was accurate to the extent that it was almost an abomination for a chronicler to forget any achievement of a past or present king. Even though what the chroniclers recited was seen as an entertainment, they dared not forget to mention any of the kings that had reigned in the community and they report them one by one.
In fact, Chroniclers were often rewarded for this as the king and the people will come out and give him money. The chroniclers are not expected to mention the failures of a king and even when this failure is mentioned, he have to paint it as if they were achievements but not possibly saying anything negative about the king. The information we gather from chroniclers are one sided at times, often giving the reflection of a glorified past but such information are often reliable serving the purpose of reciting (recapturing) the achievements of a king.
Conclusively, whether primitive society or not, Africa has a way of storing information about the past events in their environment meaning that Africa had been historically conscious even before the advent of the European colonialists.

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