By JAPHET ALAKAM
Culture they say is a way of life, that is why every society has its own and strive to maintain it. But one ugly incident is that since the so called colonisation by the foreign powers that super imposed their culture on Africa, the continent lost most of its culture.
A recent survey conducted shows that most of the young generation of Africans do not know how to speak their mother tongue, not to talk about some of the moonlight plays, folktales , dances, story telling after evening meals etc .In Nigeria, especially the eastern part that speak Igbo language, there are strong indications that the language may go into extinction , if nothing is done to stem the tide.
It is in the light of these crises of counter culture and tongue anomalies undoing modernity that one man, Mazi Okwu Okwu who witnessed the good old days when such was the order of the day came up with a new book on the study of Ilu art and science titled, Ilulogy: A Universe of African Thoughts. The project which started in 1990 will be officially presented to the public in the first quarter of this year.
According to the Ukpo, Anambra State born writer who is presently, the president Centre for African Renaisance, the project which started in 1990 is about Ilu, what the whites call proverbs though it has no foreign lexicology and it is more than proverbs. “It is a template of our theory of values, thoughts and scientific paradigm and economic interest so it speaks more than a wise saying.”
The project according to Okwu seeks to rescue the highly threatened Igbo tongue and African voice. It is a compilation of Seven thousand (7000) Ilus (proverbs) and the scholarly and intellectual angle about it that attempts to reconstruct the African mind by interpreting African universe with its realities.
While many writers are into novels, inspirational and motivational books, biographies and autobiographies, why is Okwu into this project. The man who is also the secretary board of trustees, Ohaneze youths council disclosed that he embarked on the project in order to rediscover what is left of African nature and consciousness for the sake of continuity and re-garmeting of all that are Igbos, Africans and humans by extension.
“Most people have compiled theirs for monetary benefits but I am doing it to save the intellectual work of our people, not only Igbo but Africa. Ilu is seen all over Africa. Is a question of the language, many Africans have theirs and that is why I call it Ilulogy, a universe of African thought. It is beyond African culture, it tells the beautiful stories of oral tradition.”
Continuing, he said that, “Ilulogy- Ilu and logos means Ilu discussed and it is about building a scholarly and intellectual bedrock around the concept of Ilulogy. It highlights the theorisation of what I meant by Ilulogy, definition of Ilu, what it does and Igbo understanding of it. Ilulogy is reassembled and projected to meet both scholarship and scientific demands and intents, making a paradigm shift and advancing grounds for cultural renaissance. For example we use it to learn, breed and relearning of oral traditions, scholarship processes, adventures in science and other exposures.”
Okwu who also carried a research on its scholarly position, theory and values is of the view that, the concept if accepted could be a course that can be studied in the Universities. Contending that “if we leave it in the surface, it will go into extinction.”
“Ilu is all about oral tradition, so there is need to bring back our ancient memories, our taught pattern, oral traditions and also reconstruct our mind. This age is a transition age between the old and new Africa, what we are able to preserve is what the society will take from us. If we fail to do it our children will not have access to what our fathers handed over to us.” He stated
The project is all about rekindling the consciousness of our people in their language. One other good thing about the book is that everything in it is belingual, that is, it is in Igbo and English for easy readership.