Festivals: A borrowed culture will kill our heritage.

Filed under: National Issues |

For quite a long time, ever since Nigeria ventured into the act of FESTIVALS, i have followed with keen interest, every components of these festivals, from organisation to the implementations of it, and my observations as far as those festivals were concerned, is that they have successfully managed to sustain the wrong and negative applications of the real essence of festivals.

If i know nothing about festival, one thing i know for sure is that festivals ought to show your culture to the world, allowing them the opportunity to see that “one thing” that makes you and your people UNIQUE and outstanding. It is supposed to bring the entire world to you and not the other way round. What i see in most festivals organised down here is, a bunch of people, costumed in their different international attires, paraphernalia indicative of royalty (or other high international offices), some dressed as Indians, Scottish, Americans, Caribbeans etc. and you begin to ask, “where is the Nigerian style and culture they were supposed to be promoting?”. They play musics ranging from Shakira to Beyonce to Azonto to Alanta etc. and then they dance through out the rest of the day.

Take the Calabar festival, or the recently concluded Abuja festival for example, which by the way, was a total disaster, one that if captured by National Geographic Discovery Channels, watchers across the globe will laugh us away and declare Nigerians “a total losers”. The scene was a confused crowd of colour-fighting clowns, dressed like moonlighters from space, with some ridiculous out-of-place feather that winks down from their artificial tentrical antenas. I would have swore that they were all “Westerners” from afar if not that the colour of their skins gave them away. We copy virtually everything we see the “West” do, whether they are good for us or not. How then do we promote the local content that will drive tourism?

Go to far away Northern States like Adamawa, Borno, Sokoto etc., or the Eastern States like Imo, Anambra, Enugu etc., or even in some Western States like Ibadan, Oyo etc., you get to see picutres of, and hear stories of great men and women who never saw the four walls of education but whose prowess and dynamic application of nature, made them legends. You get to see great cultures that most young children of this generation know very little or not at all of, these are cultures they organisers of these festivals are supposed to portray and show to the world.

Every festival, be it cultural or generic, aims in achieving something great for the country and by extension, the various culture in participation. If we keep organising festivals only to promote the already well promoted Western cultures, what then do we think will happen to our own culture in decades to come?

If that trend continuous, we will end up losing our dialects, our cultures, and our heritage. Our children will have no identity language but a borrowed one, they will have no history but will only adopt and adapt to the one still in existence, the Western history, culture and practice. There root, our roots, will be gone and gone for ever.

This is Jeff Okoroafor, and that, is how i see it!