imagining a new africa

How traditional Nigerian cultures continue to thrive in the modern world. - Article

Victoria Olajide

Abstract: This article is widening our ideas and thought process, towards the opinion that modern day civilization/trends has presented a form of challenge towards the continuation and development of the Nigerian Cultural & traditional society. It works to expose our minds to the insecurities surrounding our culture in this contemporary society and also tries to look at various aspects of our lives, family and society in attempt to seek out its roles, and recommendations if very well adapted to, can create an envisioned well thriven cultural society.

Keyword: Modern, Culture, Persistence, Civilization, Colonialism, Future and Development.

I love my Culture; I love it so very much. I like the hazy, dusty air that slaps my face on the way to my Town, I love the symphonies and words reflecting in my mind every time I see a brown rusted roof, I love the steep slow turns, and the bragging bus driver and the little white cars flaunting their presence from left to right. I love all this things very much, and it brings some sort of ethnicity to my veins. I can literally feel at home.

I also like the “top of the world” feeling I get when reading a 1968 Journal, or how the sculptures and stories of Oduduwa, Moremi & all my Heroic Ancestral deities amaze, they seemed more real to me than the Avengers or Power Rangers. The heroism hidden behind their mysteriousness always baffled me. Pious adventures these deities went through seemed more real, logical, spontaneous to me than any other teenage Superhero. But this sort of “mystic ideas”, won’t be the same for every teenage mind wandering everywhere, not the same for those nescient souls that cannot identify with their origin, an origin that identifies with their Culture, the culture that defines their Societal representation & values, that wraps them in the palm leaf of identity security & the identity that places them on the footstool of reason, etiquette & vivid instilled morals.

Persistence: not a thing of change, it’s an unwavering and a stern resolution towards something. This word can be fixated on living things, or an action verb which can be more inclined to a breathing identity, but cultures are breathing, and we can identify with them, so can we call them persistent in the contemporary world we live now? Ask yourself; ask me; I’ll give you my answer.

I’ll try to define the concept Culture under the notion persistence, broadening them to a point well enough for understanding,. According to J. G Herger, each culture is different and has its own system of meaning & value and cannot be ranked on any universal scale. Culture informs the thought & activities of its members in oodles. It is a myriad of human activity that is socially rather than mentally transmitted. Systems of “meaning & value”, and cannot be ranked on any universal scale, not even civilization or colonialism. It is simply a way of life

While Khalil(2004: 137) began his beautiful definition of culture with a visual & positive assumption that I can assume we all have an idea about, his words were “devoid of any definition of western scholars & sociologists, everyone agrees that culture is a way of life of any group of people, including the beliefs, morals, language political organization & economic activity as well as their equipment, technique, art form & literature”. This culture is encompassing, covering the entirety of people’s existence. It covers every societal organization or preference.

But this Culture has been subjected to slow terrestrial vanity & tranquility; subtle relationships made to console the loss of its beauty. “Civilization” has deprived ecology of crude, original knowledge, ideas, transferred from our ancestral understanding down to a generation repugnant, with very few dilettante souls.

Now on colonialism, I must warn you my ideas are contaminated with truth, neoliberalism, hope, renewal and revival. There’s a sparse but vivid line between Ancient, crude, norm and Modern, refined and a Habit, Culture can be defined as either of these characteristics. On a visual & archaeological thought scale, there’s evidence that societies have been living in Nigeria for more than 23 hundred years ago, but the borders of the modern Nigeria was not created until the British consolidated their power over the area in 1914.Yes colonialism opened doors to broader horizon and parted way to development birthed upon the solid soul, but like Herger said “cannot be ranked on any universal scale”. Societal humanism cannot be seen as a threat to modern civilization.

Yes modern tradition paved ways to a society, but our culture; the way we greet, think, marry, dress, even our upbringing, even the way we die and buried can be negatively impacted If there’s an intrusion on the above. So yes, Modernity conquers the idealism of a noble ethnicity. Languages and costumes constitutes significant proportion of any culture, thus caution should be taken on how they are handled or introduced to the people, else in the future, our cultural patrimony may be floating away.

Typically, in the past, in an African society, a erring child would be reprimanded, vacuous youth rewarded, reprimanded or corrected according to whatever comeuppance the “elder” deemed fit , No one defended a wrong act because a relative was in malady/chaos, he/she was reprimanded in accordance to the societal constitution tying them together. Looking at our culture in the form of human sustainability and “persistence”, we could come to a conclusion that she hasn’t thrived so well. Perceptions and conclusions have been drawn from the innovative nature of change, but in as much as we have conserved our culture, change would not come as a way of displacing this well sought values and traditions.

We seem to think our mode of dressing, hairstyles, language can be westernized & exemplified, but a sincere opinion would be to thrive in the crudity of Africa, Nigeria itself. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, be the holder. Hold your Heritage firm!

Originally Printed in the Mint Gallery Magazine April2018.

Check my blog post on Writing tips for Beginners, you’d glance at every unit I used for this article last year.

Thanks for your attention

TheVictoriaO.

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