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Aderemi Raji-Oyelade: To Each Proverb Its Prosthesis: the (De)Composition of a Traditional African Verbal Art at the Present Time

February 2, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

This presentation draws attention to the phenomenon of retorts, out of ignorance or jest, which have been exuberant responses to the proverb medium despite its sacrosanctity and anonymity as a verbal art. From proverbs to postproverbials, the intention is to highlight the narrative of transformations and transgressions, hitherto taken for granted or ignored in traditional paremiology, but which have become present fixtures of contemporary cultural productions in African societies. What is a postproverbial? It is understood as a radical alternate or parallel saying derived from the convention, content, and sense of the traditional proverb. The nature of the postproverbial agency indicates a specific dynamic order, to be precise, an iconoclastic practice that brings the cultural philosophy of the original proverbial text to question, play, or blasphemy. Thus, postproverbiality is the evidence of inscriptions of urbanization and signs of (post)modernity in African societies. The postproverbial text is all about decomposition, dismantling, suturing, and (re)composition in radical paremiology. The variety of forms and categorizations reflects the multiple possibilities of the postproverbial text as prosthesis and presence in the proverb text. Using the Yoruba social space as an example in this presentation, I will point at the significance and value of the practice of postproverbiality in literature, media, and other communicative interactions. No doubt, the verbal activity of transgressions and transformations is an instructive feature of the phenomenon of postproverbials in Yoruba and other language communities on the African continent.

Hosted by Adeola Agoke, African Cultural Studies

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February 2, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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