Definitely, if a hand that has pepper touches the face, it is bound to cause
discomfort. The moral learned here is that people should be careful.
Secondly, it drives home a message that anyone who seeks justice should
himself be free of guilt.
In her stud
homogenous art form. (Literature Among 37)
Again, Okoh supports this claim by asserting that poetry is sung.
In the same vein, the dramatic genre can not be seen as an entity
divorced from the poetic. This is becau
has participating communities and groups ranged in permanent rivalry
pairs of opposition, a phenomenon known as omesuo, where each group
is expected to sing its rival to a fall on the battle ground, by attaining
a level of theatrical intensity capable of
of dance, festival and masquerade displays. There are different types of
dance in Urhobo oral literature. These dance performances are carried out
mainly at festivals, feasts and rituals by masquerade dancers. Thus a
festival is incomplete when there are
(qtd in Okoh Preface 146).
From this scholars point of view our traditional festivals make up our
drama in Africa. He receives support from Emmanuel Obiechina who
wonders why the Greek notion of drama should be used as a standard for
drama in the first pl
or experience through action or through words (qtd in Akporobaro 62).
From Aristotles point of view, therefore, theatre is to be separated
from real life, from drama which seeks to portray real life through real
incidents. In other words, drama should ent
Various types of songs that make up Urhobo oral literature range from
play songs to work songs, birth songs to funeral songs, praise songs to
war songs and title-taking songs. In the rendition of these songs, there is
usually a leader who raises the song
composition. The tales are usually didactic. To this end various human
vices and virtues are presented. Human tales sometimes move from the
human to spiritual realm. Audience participation usually makes the telling
Myths (Osia) and legends
performed, or from which they derive (Preface
In her Oral Poetry, Finnegan notes that: one of the qualities of
literature is that it is in some way set apart from common speech or
writing. This applies, above all, to poetry where style and structure
other form of descriptive phrase (Naming 468). What makes the
exchange interesting is the ability of the addressor to exploit the meaning
and sound of an existing word or descriptive tag, not in coining a new
one. This makes the comment of the addressor e
remains: where can it be possibly situated? Like namecoining, odovan
has an addressor and an addressee. But unlike namecoining the method
of performance is different. In odovan the bearer tells the philosophical
meaning of the name when called. From this
2.1 Content of Odovan
By content, we mean the intrinsic makeup of the oral literary form
known as odovan. Odovan employs such literary devices as simile,
metaphor, irony, humour, repetition, and sound devices such as assonance,
when he most needed them.
In certain cases, the odovan that an individual bears tells something about
the character, beliefs or perceptions of the individual in the Urhobo
society. The bearer of the odovan:
Oko ve emu
ememerha o bie
Elizabeth pronounced as Enizabeti. Occasionally, women who have
these aliases are given opportunities to use their odovan. But when in the
presence of their husbands, they automatically are addressed by the
odovan of their men.
A third relevance of odovan
well as a useful pointer for preserving information. Not only that, they
also are relevant to the Urhobo and their world view.
Odovan, as earlier stated, is an alias picked up by an individual
after proper contemplation. Most of them are taken up by indiv
Odovan: Its Social Relevance
In discussing the social relevance of odovan let us begin by
pointing out that African orature is important for the important reason
that it is the incontestable reservoir of the values, sensibilities, aesthetics
Functions and Uses of odovan:
Among the Urhobo, odovan plays a very important role in every
social gathering. As such it is relevant in the Urhobo society and
performs certain functions. These all important roles that is, the social
social gatherings. In their culture and tradition, the Urhobo people always
have the presentation and acceptance of kola-nuts and drinks especially at
formal gatherings. Before addressing a gathering therefore, an appointed
spokesman is mandated to call t
The person appointed could be a family member or a professional otota
hired for a specific purpose at the marriage ceremony. Most times it is
restricted to the male folk. The performer calls out the odovan and its
bearer responds. Audience reaction depend
contradictions of society (79).
2.2 Context of Odovan
Odovan, unlike other prose narratives such as the tale, myth and
legend, which are known for specific contexts of performance, has no
specific context where of performance. It can be performed or enact
for assonance. Another example is:
Urhobo: avwubuara mie ubuara
English: he used ubuara to get ubuara
In the example:
Urhobo: onoge na groogbigbi gro
English: the palm tree grows any how
Palm tree is here used to allude to human beings. What this tongue
that features in serious discourse.
Eta echahen erevwe (words that twist the tongue) is the most
suitable for describing the tongue twister.
While in the field, this
researcher posed the question of what the Urhobo equivalent for tonguetwister is. Only a
almost bite his or her tongue. However speed and accuracy form the very
heart of rendering a tongue twister and failure to successfully recite when
asked to may lead to taunting from other participants.
Like proverbs, tongue twisters have a striking figur
A total of twelve villages cutting across six local Government areas
are visited. The total number odovan texts collected for the study is
a hundred and eleven.
The Agbarho and Udu dialects are used in the translation of the
collected odovan t
other words, it is acceptable to the bearer. It therefore should not be confused
with nicknames that are often imposed by others and may or may not be
acceptable to the bearer.
The practice of odovan dates as far back as those days when villages and
The Urhobo people boast a rich source of oral traditions. Their values are
reflected in the names they bear, their songs, and proverbs to mention a few.
According to Bruce Onobrakpeya, these values are the results of careful
formal gathering, the odovan of every adult present must be called. On hearing
the name, the bearer makes a brief remark explaining the deeper meaning of the
odovan. What then is odovan? Two words: nickname, on the one hand, and
alias on the other, are th
gatherings such as traditional marriage ceremonies and funerals. Various
individuals cutting across different ages were interviewed in the field.
These interviews were also carried out at different times of the day and
night. The aim of such an exercise w
family of warriors, or is himself a warrior. This illustration goes to show
that odovan actually originated as a means of recognizing people with
great achievements. To this end, a son may decide to take the odovan of
his late father when he comes of age.
This piece of research attempts to illustrate the literary qualities found in
ODOVAN, a form of oral literature of the Urhobo people. The work is carried
out in five chapters.
Chapter One provides some background information on the geography