By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
The Charter for African Cultural Renaissance 2006 regard culture as the set of distinctive linguistic, spiritual, material, intellectual and encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, cultural beliefs, and traditions. In summary, culture is the way of life of the people!
Nigeria as a nation with over 750 ethnic groups is a very cultural, religious and conservative country. However, for decades and since the grand embrace of civilization, there has been a sharp decline in our cultural values. That many Nigerians are concerned about our cultural heritage. The reasons for this are not far-fetched.
At Jumia Travel, we share these sentiments. In line with this, we identify some pertinent signs that Nigeria needs a cultural renaissance, rebirth, or reawakening with the hope that the government and stakeholders will take action.
Some Nigerians are ashamed to communicate in their local dialect while others cannot even speak at all! In fact, some parents order their children not to speak their mother tongue. Rather, they must speak English. Other words, they are admonishing their wards not to be proud of their heritage. It is unsurprising, therefore, that some of these languages are in different stages of extinction! Parents should communicate more in their local languages.
Society has grown individualistic
The mind your business syndrome has eaten deep into our cultural toga that we barely care for one another unlike in the past. Then, society was closely knitted. You knew and visited your neighbours. You could scold a child for anti-social behaviour and even report him to his parents. But, this sparsely happens today when even elders are culprits.
Everything cultural is ‘evil’
Because of religion (Christianity and Islam), many Nigerians now brand our cultural practices evil. Culture is dynamic especially in a fast changing society. But that doesn’t necessarily make the practice evil. There is the good, the bad and the ugly. Let’s promote the good, reform the bad and abdicate the ugly. We can’t throw away the baby with the birth water!
Neglect of historical/cultural Assets
Recently, the Lagos State government demolished the Olaiya house (formerly known as Casa do Fernandez) which was 161 years old. It was built as a bar and restaurant in 1855. That is history gone! The status of the National Theatre is unknown whether it has been sold or not, the museums across the country require attention. The truth is Nigeria is not preserving its heritage. We wonder what will be handed over to the coming generations.
Nigeria has no dress culture. We simply dress to please ourselves not minding whether it is decent or not. Dress the way you want to be addressed is a forgotten mantra. Thus, we need a renaissance.
Absence of history in Nigeria school curriculum
Many Nigerians don’t know the history of the country. If you are a science student in secondary, it is worse! This is why patriotism is in the dictionary of very few Nigerians. History should be restored in primary and secondary schools curriculum!
Adeniyi Ogunfowoke is a PR Associate at Jumia Travel.