Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

The Unwritten Textbook of the Folktale: A Case Study of "Morongwa le Morongwanyana" [the Messenger and the Small messenger]/Die Ongeskrewe Teksboek Van Die Volksverhaal: 'N Gevallestudie Van "Morongwa le Morongwanyana" [Die Boodskapper En Die Klein Boodskappertjie]

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

The Unwritten Textbook of the Folktale: A Case Study of "Morongwa le Morongwanyana" [the Messenger and the Small messenger]/Die Ongeskrewe Teksboek Van Die Volksverhaal: 'N Gevallestudie Van "Morongwa le Morongwanyana" [Die Boodskapper En Die Klein Boodskappertjie]

Article excerpt

Abstract

The unwritten textbook of the folktale: A case study of "Morongwa le Morongwanyana" [The Messenger and the Small messenger]

This article explores the unwritten textbook of the folktale in the case of "Morongwa le Morongwanyana" [The Messenger and the Small messenger], a South African folktale recorded and published by A. T. Malepe. Against the background of current problems with the folktale tradition, it is argued that the unwritten textbook can help improve three educational practices, namely the practice of educating children at home, the practice of teaching and learning at school, and the practice of educational mass media. The nature and content of the unwritten textbook of the Batswana culture as defined by Ong (1982) and other scholars on orality are examined in a case study of the selected folktale. Lastly, the implications of the case study and of the unwritten textbook for the three practices are spelled out.

Key concepts:

Tswana folktales unwritten textbook use of oral literature and folktales in education

Opsomming

Die ongeskrewe teksboek van die volksverhaal: 'n gevallestudie van "Morongwa le Morongwanyana" [Die Boodskapper en die Klein boodskappertjie]

Hierdie artikel is 'n verkenning van die ongeskrewe teksboek van die volksverhaal in die geval van "Morongwa le Morongwanyana" [Die Boodskapper en die Klein boodskappertjie], 'n Suid-Afrikaanse volksverhaal opgeteken en gepubliseer deur A.T. Malepe. Teen die agtergrond van probleme met die volksverhaaltradisie is die argument dat die ongeskrewe teksboek kan bydra tot die verbetering van drie opvoedingspraktyke, naamlik voorskoolse tuisonderrig, onderrig-en-leer op skool en opvoedkundige programme in die massamedia. Die aard en inhoud van die ongeskrewe teksboek, soos omskryf deur Ong (1982) en andere, word ondersoek in die geval van die gekose volksverhaal. Laastens word die implikasies van die gevallestudie vir die drie opvoedingspraktyke uitgespel.

Kernbegrippe:

gebruik van mondelinge literatuur en volksverhale in opvoeding ongeskrewe teksboek Tswana-volksverhale

1. Introduction

According to Shole (1983:169) the oral and traditional literature of Setswana is a memento of an indefinite past that was handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. It was most alive in its oral state and in the bookless world of the old people, it was never printed. It was a literature of repeated re-telling, with individual variations here and there, that established confidence in the rightness of what was said and how it was said. Most of these stories' authors are anonymous and they belong to everybody. As the tales do not have fixed texts, they can change easily as the result of distortion or simply failure of memory (Van Jaarsveld, 1990:22). As tales of a traditional community they often convey a moral.

Canonici (1990:137) points out that folktales have constituted the unwritten textbook of African education, as is often summarised in the proverbs which derive from them. They have been used both as a means of entertainment and as an attractive channel to pass on traditions and beliefs, customs, ideas and ideals. Foley (1990:5) emphasises the noetic function of oral literature, since folktales do not only reflect life but also "encode culturally approved behavior patterns, attitudes, beliefs". Although folktales do not present an organised system of philosophy and of morality, they constitute an effective way of teaching and learning for they are, among other things, close to the human life and are emphatic and participatory (Ong, 1982:42, 46). They can produce the emotional involvement through which a child learns.

In this article the use of the unwritten textbook in education in the case of one folktale will be investigated. It will be consider how the unwritten textbook should inform the form and content for the practice of educating children at home, the practice of teaching and learning at school and the practice of the mass media in the domain of children's literature. …

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