In Africa the past and the present live very much side by side. African thinkers and intellectuals see their people's culture as rooted in time-honoured oral traditions and many African writers today use symbols, images and motifs from these traditions in their works. In this innovative study Dr Okpewho explores what he considers the essence of these traditions - myth - and examines its place in African life, literature and thought. Focusing on a number of tales from a selection of African countries, he shows myth to be the basic imaginative resource from which the larger cultural values derive. An established novelist as well as critic, Dr Okpewho discusses the narrative traditions of Africa - of which he continues to be a part - with balanced sympathy and objectivity. In this work he not only reasserts the pride in African traditions but also gives students of myth a fresh look at an old problem.