HOME Why we should inculcate our indigenous cultures in children
World over, people are identified with the way they dress, the language they speak and even the kind of food they eat. Africa among other continents of the world is known and identified by its own unique forms of culture. Hence, the joy behind culture is its continuity.
Before the coming of Europeans into the shores of Africa, Africans had their rich cultural heritage and were no doubt civilized in their own ways. We had our ways of worship, mode of dressing, languages, kinds of foods, among others before being colonised. Before this era, our cultural heritage was a thing of pride and was jealously guarded to ensure continuity from generation to generation.
Fortunately and unfortunately, colonisation brought in certain sunshine into Africa such as Western education, modern health care practice, technology, modern communication system, transportation to mention a few which to a very large extent eased the sufferings of Africans.
But outside this, the negative impact of the activities of these foreigners in Africa are still much felt today and has altered the original Africa’s ways of life. For example, new languages were introduced (English and French), modes of dressing, music, dance which they consider as being superior to that of Africans (cultural imperialism), and on the parts of Africans (acculturation) because we began to copy the foreign culture.
However, these has raised important questions; what has really gone wrong with the Africa’s culture? Why are the young folks less passionate about the Africa’s culture?
Although it is true that change is the only constant thing in life and that is why human beings tend to adapt to new trends, nevertheless Africans are always too quick to copy foreign ideas, principles and styles without reservation, and not having a second thought about what we copy.
It has therefore caused us to see things in the wrong direction and this has continued to affect the African societies negatively because we are unconsciously throwing away what is ours in pursuit of practising what is western.
One wonders if the African child would be identified with African culture in future. In the course of pursuing this foreign ways of life, we have gradually continued to lose great values because we want to live a style of life that is not ours.
But all hope is not lost as the African culture can still be revived and revamped if only the family unit which is the first agent of socialization begins to portray the rich cultural heritage of Africa to the African child at early stages of life , by living it themselves for the younger folks to emulate. This is owned to the belief that, whatever that is instilled into the life of a child at tender stage has a lasting impact in the child’s latter life.
It is therefore expedient that, parents should begin to see to it that the Africa culture is inculcated into the African child. For instance, it is very rare these days to find parents communicate with their children in our mothers’ tongue or local dialects but rather converse with their wards in English or even French language.
Some parents cannot even speak good English to their children, hence speak what is known in the local parlance as ‘pidgin English’.
We are in the web of confusion because we are neither Africans nor Europeans in the way we live and conduct ourselves as a people. This alone is an abuse on Africa’s culture by the Africans and this simply implies that, we are not proud of our various African local languages.
Is it not also worrisome that some Africans are known and called with foreign names such as Fredrick Festus, Lewis John, Philips Janet, and Leonard Maxwell ? When there are numerous African names such as Oko, Nnamdi, Awolowo, Ahmadu, Kufour, Chioke, Bako, Nagya, among others to choose from.
Indeed, it is a pitiable trend today in African societies when people are called with their African names and they feel ashamed or reluctant to respond because we have been brain-washed not to see anything good in African culture.
People from Africa would not have been able to copy anything from the ‘ whites’ man culture if they had not jealously treasured what is their’s. I am yet to see a typical ‘white man’ who bears a complete African name and yet we are still not conscious of these abuses.
What about the African dress? Gone are the days when an African man is quick to be identified not just because of the dark colour of his skin but with the rich African dress or costume that he puts on.
Today the reverse is the case as we have little or nothing to offer to the African child in terms of dressing, who then will fly the flag of the African culture in future to come?
The effects of the neglect of dressing in our local attires has not only caused our local fabrics to suffer low patronage but has also promoted the act of indecent dressing among the African youths in attempt to dress in foreign styles.
Putting on African dress today is seen by most Africans as an archaic practice. In fact, people who dress in it are rather termed as being local or uncivilised.
Our children only eat African foods today when noodles, spaghetti, are not available because he/ she is left with no choice than to believe that these foods are better .
Some acclaimed civilised Africans even see people who eat food such as akpu, amala, and tuwo as poverty stricken. What a pity. Measures must be put in place to save the African culture from being relegated in the name of civilization.
The effect of all these has directly or indirectly led to moral decadence, lost of values, customs and traditions as well as lost of African brotherhood. With all these negative effects, should we then continue to fold our hands and loose all that is African? The answer is definitely No.
As parents and teachers, it is high time we live up to our responsibilities at home and in schools by ensuring that African values, customs and traditions are protected and inculcated into children thereby giving them the true identity of where they comes from.
More indigenous languages should be introduced in schools, Africa’s attire should be worn with pride, local delicacies should be well consumed in our homes, and finally the act of paying respect to elders in the society should be upheld . Together we can still celebrate the African culture.
Friday, is a HND II Student of the Department of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State.
Children of Beulah Academy during their Cultural Day in Abuja recently.