HOME Why we should in­cul­cate our indige­nous cul­tures in chil­dren

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT - By John­son Fri­day

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.

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