The high rate of illiteracy considerably affects the literary life of the country. Oral literature is vast and still alive: it includes legends, myths, tales and above all epics, faithfully transmitted by minstrels (griots), some of whom have achieved fame and a high artistic level. Their songs are recorded, translated and published. Poetry and theater in the national language remain active, and many French-speaking writers have converted to this. One can cite, by way of example, a bilingual work (songhay / French) by Fatimta Mounkaila, Le mythe et l’histoire dans la geste de Zabarkâne (1989) which includes four different texts, and the collection of Tuaregh poems gathered by Moussa Albaka and Dominique Casajus in Chants et poésies touareg de l’Ayr (1991). The theater, scarce in French, takes inspiration from oral literature. Among the successors of André Salifou, who still remains the greatest theatrical author, the playwrights Yazi Dogo, Joseph Keita, Mounoumi and Djibo Mayaki (the latter also author of short stories and short stories) stand out. Traditional theater includes various genres: historical (Wassan Kara), comic (Dankamanci), satirical (Gambara). There is also a modern theater in African languages which sometimes presents hints of social satire and is similar to the Commedia dell’Arte. The Fulbe populations had a written literature, in Arabic characters and strongly Islamized, including epics, hagiographic works, chronicles of the deeds of ancient leaders, dating back to the Middle Ages; and a rhymed and rhythmic poem, with archaic or rare lexical and grammatical structures, whose manuscripts included original works and others of Arabic origin but told in fulbe. There is also a traditional oral literature, which sees the epic in the forefront. The impact with the French language and civilization has not culturally eradicated the ancient traditions. The most important personality appears to be that of the writer, poet, historian and philosopher Boubou Hama (1906-1982), eminent politician, who undertook the recovery of manuscripts in Arabic by African authors. Author of historical, ethnological and sociological works on the peoples of Niger, Boubou Hama has acquired great notoriety for the autobiographical novel Kotia-Nima (1970 Black African Literary Award), as well as for his fiction and theatrical works. Among the narrators, Damouré Zika and Ibrahim Issa stand out, whose bizarre historical novel Grandes eaux noires (1959) combines a vivid fantasy with realistic pictures of African life in the past. In the theatrical field, we note the creation of various local companies, which represent a national repertoire. A well-known author is Dandoli Mahamane, whose comedy Aventure d’une chèvre (1955; Adventure of a goat) is a classic of African theater, while his Légende de Kabrin Kabra (1957) was a great success in Paris, at the Teatro delle Nations, in 1961. The most representative dramatic author, however, is André Salifou, with the historical comedy Tanimoune, a great success at the 1969 Algiers festival. After the coup d’etat of 1974, literature acquired a wider development. Current affairs dominate and narrative takes over poetry which, spontaneous but rather naive, presents authors of not a high level. In prose, a special place deserves Abdoulaye Mamani (1932-1993) and a group of young novelists to whom Abdouramane Soli (Le chemin du pélerin, 1988) and Mahamadou Halilou Sabbo (Gomma! Adorable Gomma, 1990) belong as well as the novelists Akrika Sangare (Une histoire inachevée, 1985), Djibo Alfari (Le Tarzan de ville, 1985) and Bana Abdoulaye (Yelìva, 1985). In the narrative field, Idé Oumarou (1937-2002) emerges with Le représentant (1984), A. Ousmane with Quinze ans, ça suffit! (1977) and Le nouveau juge (1981), Idé Adamou for La camisole de Paille (1987), and also MH Sabbo, Boureīma Ada, authors of realistic novels who denounce, now with violence, now with bitter irony or desperate pessimism, moral and political degradation of society. In poetry, alongside the Tuaregh Hawad, now a dominant figure and also known abroad (Froissevent, 1991; Sept frères et une lune, 1995; Buveurs de braises, 1995), some young people can be found, among which the most interesting seems to be Abdoulaye Houdou. The narrative is highly developed, a picture of everyday reality. The theater presents historical dramas and comedies of manners, which analyze the conflict between modern life and tradition, the drama of emigrants or the socio-political defects of the country. The essay is above all historical-ethnological, but also sociological.
According to aparentingblog, the artistic production of the main ethnic groups of Niger, haussa, germa, songhai, fulbe and tuaregh, did not reach positions of particular importance in the black continent. The Haussa have developed an important handicraft (leather, weaving, jewelery), the basis of a wide-ranging trade extended to the whole western area. The germa and songhai, joined by Islam with its iconoclastic doctrines, and fulbe, nomadic shepherds-knights, have not developed their own handicraft production, while the Tuaregh, although nomadic camel herders, are distinguished in the wood and leather industries. (in the latter women excel) and they use exquisitely crafted jewels, mainly of silver; very particular are the stylized crosses, which are believed to keep the evil eye away.