While reading Chapter 20, The Mwindo Epic, something that stood out for me is the fact that this epic is an oral tale and it is still an oral tale to this day. Many people in Africa still present this epic orally, as it was made for this type of performance. In this chapter it explains how such an epic would be presented, outlining the roles of the audience and performer. The performer was expected to act out the epic, incorporating songs, noises, and chants that the audience can participate in. Also the performer was able to shape the story ever so slightly so it became their own. They could add in their own opinions and experiences to make the story more detailed. This also made the performer seem intelligent as they brought in and recited many of the beliefs and aspects of their culture. This type of performance caused the Mwindo epic to have many different versions, as no version was exactly the same, each performer would add their own twist. The role of the audience was just as important as the performers’. The audience was expected and needed to participate for the success of the performance. The audience would sing along with the songs and chants, encourage the main character, and even give shouts of disapproval when the main character was doing something that displeased them. The role of the audience would bring the myth to life just as much as the performers’ performance would.
To me, this type of oral performance of myth is not seen in many societies today. Many societies read literary versions of myth and do not ever have the chance to see the myth be performed as it was by the original society it came from. I feel as if this performance would make myth much more meaningful to the society and make them feel as if it was a part of them. By participating in myth, I believe the audience would get a much better picture and understanding of the myth, and overall have it be more meaningful to their culture.