Preserving Our Cultural Identity
By ISABEMOEH JAMES ROY.
CULTURE is the totality of a way of life of any people. It embraces the
mode of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
Culture is also exemplified in the form of language, music, dressing,
eating habits, shelter, norms, values and the ethos upon which a
particular society is built.
In Africa and indeed Nigeria, hospitality for strangers, care for the
extended family and other members of the community are rich aspects of
our culture. However, with increased scientific and technological
advancement, culture has been a subject of dynamism. Thus obsolete
technologies and archaic ideas are daily being discarded.
But a radical departure from the very fabric upon which a society
depends and a complete substitution of its culture with aliens culture,
has resounding repercussion on the dignity and pride of any people. The
people of Nigeria have been deceived to believe that anything African
is evil and uncivilised and have come to accept western and to some
extent oriental culture as the best standards.
Indeed, we have seen how our local languages are being neglected. Some
of our children cannot communicate in their mother tongues today and
the only language some understand is English.
Thus, these types of children are aliens in their own land. Besides,
African names, proverbs and music always have an underlying20meaning
which has a bearing on the life of the people. We are gradually
witnessing a decline in African names, music and literature. We have
also seen how our decent mode of dressing has been giving way to the
culture which recognises public nudity as part of a growing
Now, we are left to face the problems arising from the kind of music,
pictures, films and immoral alien cultures, passed to our youths
through the cable networks and internet. This has led to disrespect for
elders, upsurge in various crimes such as prostitution, armed robbery,
kidnapping, drug abuse and trafficking. Thus, the nation is caught up
in the web of cultural imperialism of the West.
In order to free ourselves therefore, some measures have to be adopted.
First, the government should introduce the teaching of history and
culture and make same compulsory at least up to secondary school level.
This will make our youths to understand our glorious past and the need
to preserve it. Such countries like the United States have similar
programmes for all her citizens.
Secondly, there should be a deliberate policy like that of the Indians
to promote the positive aspects of our culture – language, mode of
dressing, music, works of arts, hospitality and high moral standards
both in our schools, institutions of higher learning and every other
segment of the society.
Thirdly, the Ministry of Culture, N
ational Orientation and Tourism and
the media should adopt collaborative approach to educate the Nigerian
people on the need to preserve our cultural identity. Our re-branding
and nationalism begins from our national identity-namely culture.
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