Oral traditions refers to the history handed down by word of mouth from one generation to another. It is usually done by talking and listening usually to elders who are believed to be more knowledgeable about past events. It is also the study of our past as revealed by what has been handed down by word of mouth from one generation to another. Its manner of transmission differs from written sources thus making it a historical source of a special nature. Oral traditions are widely used in areas where people did not practice the art of writing. The following are the Advantages of oral traditions:-
(1) Can easily be understood by everyone, oral traditions does not segregate; it can be understood by everyone. It is therefore convenient for both the educated and the uneducated as it only requires one to listen as long as it is in a language that everyone can understand.
(2) It is accessible as in every area narrators are present,; here the historian is in better position to assess the value and his reliability source because he is working with the living people. At any time and place the historians or the person who is searching material can easily access the information as the information are available.
(3) It is cheap or costs less.Generally, elderly people are are willing to provide information free of charge, this makes the source cheap. One does not need to pay his/her grandfather/mother in order for them to tell one a story. In many societies people used to sit beside a fire and the elders will tell them about whathappened in the past and this was passed over from one generation to the other.
(4) Helps in the reconstruction of history, it does require several sources in order to tell a story, oral traditions bridge the gap as it is provides evidence to written sources or primary source. Many historical sources including the most ancient ones were based on oral traditions.
(5) It is two way traffic form of communication. This means that when someone does not understand questioning is possible, this therefore makes it a live and interactive source and interesting source of historical information.
(6) Avails us with unwritten or un documented history. Through oral tradition it is easy to reveal information which is not documented or recorded. In African history the major source of information is passed through oral traditions simply because much of what was taking place was not written down.
(7) Bridges the gap left by other sources of history. As artifacts cannot talk it is oral tradition that does the talking there by filling in the gaps that might have been left by other sources.
(8) First handinformation. Many people who tell stories through different oral tradition are the primary source or the people who were present at the scene of the matter. This therefore means that the historian will be in a position of getting firsthand information from the respondent.