Bazimaziki Gabriell Bisamaza Emilien Ndayishimiye Jean Leonard Nsabumuremyi Leonce
Literature is an art, a product of society which produces and mirrors society as it looks at human beings at various levels, social and cultural sides out weighing the rest. Through its generic forms, literature depicts the human beings and how they cope with life. It is a mirror through which people perceive their behaviours, ape and correct where necessary and reject what is not benefitting them. With this regard, this study explores the social and didactic functions of oral literary genres with particular interest in proverbs from four languages used and taught in Rwanda viz Kinyarwanda, English, French and Swahili. The choice of the four languages goes with the researchers’ domains as language teachers in higher education in particular. The study is qualitative and bears literary analysis. Using paremiological perspectivism, the researchers throw light on proverbs as the tools for learning and teaching society; source of knowledge and ethical values for people to cope with life issues. It was demonstrated that most of the proverbs discussed are ethically and socially didactic as they warn, caution and teach about wisdom, respect, and various human values. Those oral literary genres are source of knowledge and wisdom which are pedagogical materials for human lives from generation to generation.