Tabitha Harriet Deh


Tragedy as a form has always been professed with Eurocentric worldview. Juxtaposing this uniqueness directly with an Afro-centric understanding to reflect the form is challenging. Tragedy has evolved over the years, from the classical heroic model to the modern; tragedy of the common man. In order to have a blueprint closest to the tragic genre, many playwrights infuse certain indigenous elements into their plays just to make them look similar or run parallel to the original form. In seeking to connect traditional culture to performance, major playwrights in Ghana and Nigeria have utilized traditional indigenous elements; religious rites, myths and rituals as material for structure and form. It is often whispered, however, that 'Africans often laugh at tragedy’. Although the myth surrounding this conjecture is yet to be unraveled, the questions remain as: Do Africans and for that matter Ghanaians, have their own form of tragedy and can this form be suitably called tragedy or would a different name be applied? Do Ghanaians have their own kind if occurrences, disasters and catastrophes that attract more empathy and purge their emotions other than the Aristotelian form? I hope to interpret these complexities and the cultural politics involved in these creative workings.


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