The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates (470-399 B.C.) used to urge his disciples to know themselves. To many people whose history has been characterized by oral tradition, colonization and slavery, the Socratic advice becomes a categorical imperative. Oral tradition is - or used to be - of utmost importance to the African people. It is a part of their source of self-knowledge. To many Africans, the death of their griots or story-tellers and old ones is comparable to burning libraries.