By Chris Onuoha
Culture is the way of life of a people. But a people’s culture can be ruptured or diluted as a result of foreign influence, redundant use of mother tongue, lack of appreciation of cultural values and non-teaching of heritage through history studies in school. And if measures are not taken by custodians of culture and institutions to correct the anomaly, it becomes a festering problem.
It was in line with this philosophy that Neander International Schools, Epe, Lagos celebrated the School’s Cultural Day last Wednesday in the school hall, exhibiting Nigeria’s cultural diversity in tune with the institution’s foundational vision aimed at inculcating cultural education into the youths.
Students adorned in various traditional attires regardless of states of origins thrilled the audience made up of students and staff of the school to a masterly display of how traditional marriages are conducted in their nativities. There was a North Central drama, South East, South South and South West traditional marriages. Also showcased were cultural dances from each zone. However, group from South West presented a newscaster in Yoruba language ‘Iroyin’ that attracted applause from the audience. Another interesting display was a wrestling contest by two suitors from Igbo extract as one of the criteria to measure how a man can protect and take care of a woman.
The school principal, Mr. Idris Agbaje, in his remarks said that knowledge of peoples’ culture is vital and cannot be left to go extinct. “We need to let the young people understand that first and foremost, they are Nigerians. They need to understand the culture of their country and one way we are doing that is by exposing them to know our culture. You must understand that this country is one with people from different background. We believe in instilling this in the mind of the young ones so that when they grow up, tribalism, nepotism and ethnic strife will not be found among them. There will be inter-tribal marriages. All in all, it will help build the unity of this country. In doing this, everybody should be involved – parents, teachers and every adult who understands the need to inculcate in the youths their cultural values. Some of the children too can speak their language, but because they don’t want to appear local, they hide it and speak only English. But with a programme like this, they can see that it is even a thing of pride for them to be able to speak their local dialect.”