African Folklore: An Encyclopedia by Philip M. Peek, Kwesi Yankah

By Philip M. Peek, Kwesi Yankah

Written by way of a global crew of specialists, the three hundred entries offer perception into many features of African tradition and folklore.

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Algeria remained a province of France until the liberation movement arose in the 1950s. Independence was finally granted in 1962. Within several years, there was another revolution led by the Algerian military, which ruled for ten years until elections in 1976. Then, Colonel Houari Boumedienne, who had led the military government, was formally elected president. With his death in 1978, the Revolutionary Council took over once again until the 1990 elections, when the gains made by the Islamic fundamentalist movement were nullified by the military, which seized power in 1992.

The ancestral traditions of land use also affect economic life. The legitimacy African folklore 4 of political authority is also vested in the ancestors. In most West African communities those who hold political authority do so in proxy for the ancestors. They are responsible to the latter and regularly function in priestly roles, communicating and maintaining communion with the ancestors on behalf of themselves and those whom they lead. The ultimate role of the ancestors is to serve as symbols of an ideal after-life, and of the possibility of salvation for those still living (Dovlo 1993).

Political use of such a phrase is obvious: the most powerful people may be benign most of the time, but all should beware their ruthlessness as they clandestinely pursue their own interests. African rural peoples, such as the Nuer of the Sudan (Evans-Pritchard 1977) may live so interdependently with their cattle and other livestock that the relationship bears the intimacy of psychological identification. Nuer take their own names from the colors and patterns, horn shape and size, and other attributes of favorite cows and oxen.

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