Based on an account of a meeting between a young Western researcher and a Zarma jasare (a griot of history and genealogy) of Niger, this article explores the problems connected with the collection, preservation, and diffusion of oral literature. This is, obviously, a peculiar case, but it is illustrative enough to be invoked. Indeed, with the evolution of Zarma society, the training of the jasare has gradually declined so that today there is barely one left who knows the story of the ancestors: Jibo Baje, alias "Jeliba." Aware that he is the last depository of the oral literature of the jasare and that none of his sons would replace him, he has entrusted the author with the mission of preserving and passing on his repertory to other cultures.


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pp. 148-154
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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