An introduction to folktales in Nkoranza traditional area

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This case study of Nkoranza folktales, is an attempt by the author to present these oral artifacts. The study covers oral tales from a particular region of Ghana. The author has chosen Nkoranza for two reasons: first, it is his hometown; and secondly he has become extremely familiar with the functions of these tales. Folktales are in abundance there and the activities associated with them are regular and well patronized by both professional and nonprofessional narrators and by royalty as well as ordinary people. The author’s interest is further supported by the fact that folktales in this part of the world are a very valuable repository of historical, cultural, moral and social values which have supported that society from the earliest times. To collect the tales directly, in the very act, I have interviewed the narrators separately and collectively about their knowledge of the tales, their sources of the tales and how they have acquired these skills. I have also concerned myself with how and why the narrators make adaptations especially of the stories they have inherited or created. I have transcribed these tales into Asante Twi which is a more standard dialect and better known; very importantly, it is more intimately related to its lesser known Brong in which the tales were told. It has then been translated from Asante Twi into English Language to afford the reader easy access to the appreciation of these tales. In the main body of this essay, I have attempted to analyse the literary qualities of these tales and the artistic skills which the narrators/performers use in the performance of these tales. An attempt has also been made to connect these qualities and skills on the part of the narrators and the literary devices used to similar types of literature in other parts of the world in a bid to confirm the ‘literariness’ of these tales from hitherto small group of seemingly unlettered and ‘unliterary’ creative artists of Nkoranza area.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumaasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature, 2000