The African Oral Narratives project will collect, digitize, and make available online oral and life histories, folklore, and songs from Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania.  The project will provide free web access to 20 collections of oral narratives in 16 African languages including in Akan (Twi), Wolof, Bamanakan (Mandinka), Igbo, Fula (Pulaar), Farefare, Amharic, Oromo, Swahili, Zigula, Chewa, Zulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Tswana, Afrikaans, and English.

Through sustainable, transparent, and equitable partnerships with Africanist scholars and organizations, the African Studies Center, MATRIX, and the Department of History at Michigan State University will provide access to valuable oral sources for conducting research on Africa’s past and studying many of the continent’s languages.

African Oral Narratives project partners include the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana; Department of History, Addis Ababa University; Department of History, University of Malawi; the South African History Archive (Johannesburg); United Nations Multimedia Research Unit (New York), as well as scholars at Indiana University and Oakland University (Detroit).

The project will also devise innovative means for scholars, teachers, and students to use these primary sources through a suite of web-based tools that allow users to select and use content in the digital repository and share or discuss findings with a community of users.  The project will provide a mechanism for other individuals and institutions to submit digital materials.


African Oral Narratives is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Title VI Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) Program and by Michigan State University.