Our culture...Our heritage
By Charles Obunike .C.
I take preference to writing this in Igbo but due to un-avoidable reasons, I bounced back to the use of English Language. The major thing that prompted my decision to write on this topic, is the rate at which our language and culture is going astray. And it is not a taboo if I say that everyone of us is contributing to it, even our so-called Igbo teachers and traditional rulers. Why I refer to them is that they ought to be the pace-setters for others to emulate. The other day, I was in a commercial bus, plying Umunze to Awka, beside me were two young ladies chatting in English language. All the passengers, including myself, pretended not disturbed with the two ladies noisy conversation, until we nearly got to Awgbu Junction, an old man's voice echoed from the back seat in anger, laying curse on the two ladies for not speaking Igbo in an Igbo environment. Immediately, almost all the passengers, chorused to support the man. But while all these were going on, I observed that even the old man and the other passengers were mixing Igbo and English Languages while cautioning the two ladies for non-speaking of Igbo Language. Then, I asked myself, does it mean that Igbo people cannot speak their language without inviting English Language to it? This is a question we all should answer ourselves.
Similarly, I had attended a traditional marriage ceremony in Igbo land, where a traditional Prime Minister (Onowu) of a town was asked by the M.C (Master of Ceremony) to bless the Kola-nut and shockingly to me the Onowu held the Kola-nut on his hand and began to prayer with the use of English Language ... What a generation! I wondered, when has the Kolanut become an English mans' custom?
Examples of the areas we have failed to show our Igbo identity are too many, if not uncountable. I suggest we should look into it also, as we make move on the actualization of our dream "Biafra Republic". The other day I was watching a television show of the Igbo youths. To my outmost disappointment, None bowed to show respect to the dignitaries present and nobody cared to notice that. What a culture!
And if I am to suggest, the first class graduates of Igbo Language should be compensated with Igwe-ship in our communities. They can do better in promoting our dear culture and language - believe it or not. If you look into the definition of culture, then you don't need one to tell you that the Igbo's are much far away in promoting our culture. Remember that culture and language are symbol of identity.
The Igbos’ are the indigenous occupants of the south-eastern and some south-southern parts of Nigeria. They speak one language known as "the central Igbo", (Igbo Izugbe) though some areas speak their dialect, what we call olu ndi . It is a known fact that the Igbos have a mode of dressing and a way by which they display or carry-out their culture, which originated from our ancient fore-fathers. But on that effect, I wonder what the present Igbo generation is turning into. Little wonder, you will hardly see an Igbo indigene that dresses in complete Igbo attire and speaks Igbo fluently.
Most of our nowadays traditional rulers are not helping matters at all. Nobody wants to take the blame. Is it our Igbo teachers who teach Igbo with English? Our parents (mostly in urban areas) who speak only English to their children? Our youths who emulates the foreigners’ way of life? Or some governments of Igbo States that do not encourage, empower, promote and value Igbo Language andCulture?
Our Movie industries are not also helping issues. The Igbo costume has now been changed to that of the foreigners. They no longer promote our mother tongue; instead they prefer to speak the borrowed language. It is in Igbo traditional films that you will see the Igwe mixing Igbo and English in other to pass information to his subordinate. Is it to talk about our make up and make over, we have chosen the path of modernization neglecting the natural things our fore fathers used, the 'uli'. Ichi Ozo has become a thing of politics and greed. Pronouncing Igbo names properly has also become a problem. In fact, we need revival.
The Igbo Language and Culture, had already gone into extinction. Therefore, all hands should be on deck to avert the trend. Our culture is our heritage!