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Nigerian urges Africans to promote culture

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By Abraham Adekunle

Literary enthusiast laments total disregard for African people’s history.

Since the post-colonial era and the incursion of the English language, writers such as Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe had written books promoting the African culture in their own way. The former is known for many of his plays, which includes Death and the King’s Horseman, a play that chronicles the “abọ́bakú” culture. On the flip side of the same coin, Achebe is popularly known for his “Things Fall Apart”, a novel that captures the Igbo civilization before the coming of the white man.

Now, these works and many others served as a medium of promoting African cultures, history and identity. For instance, ‘Things Fall Apart’ serves as a reference for the stereotypical assumption that Africans were naked, savage and barbaric before the intervention of the white man and his Western civilization. Soyinka’s play was particularly useful in redefining the concept of tragedy in the African culture as opposed to what the Greco-Roman and English traditions define it as.

Dakahap hopes for a better African society as its cultures are promoted.

A renowned Nigerian enthusiast of Literature, Becky Pring’ar Dakahap, has called on Africans to promote their cultural values and historical identities. She made this call during a book launch titled, “Diversity N’ Complexity of the African Culture, History and Identity,” which was held at the Nigerian National Merit Award House in FCT, Abuja. The expert in English literature and history lamented, in her words, “the total disregard for the history of the African people” and hopes that there would be a better African society one day.

Speaking at the event, she said her inspirations are crafting evocative and thought-provoking verses, imbued with a keen sense of observation and a deep appreciation for the beauty of language. She added that her growing up was surrounded by creativity and she was encouraged to explore her own artistic impulse from a young age. “As a result, I began to write poetry at an early age, experimenting with different forms of style until I could find my own unique voice,” she said.

Perm. Sec at SGF said parents should lecture children about the African culture.

Pring’ar Dakahap, the author, revealed that her book is a compendium of poems on Africa’s beautiful cultural diversity, embodying the vibrant and diverse culture of Africa, celebrating its unique and complex nature, delving into topics that touch on everything from ancestry, heritage, spirituality and beliefs, love, relationship, resilience and strength, as well as others. This is an addition to the numerous books that have been written on African history and culture. On the Biafran war, Chinua Achebe has written ‘There Was a Country’ and Festsus Iyayi has written ‘Heroes’. These books, poems, and plays contribute to the discourse on culture, history and identity.

In is remark at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. James Sule, said, there is an inherent element in Nigeria that parents must lecture children about African culture. Nigeria is considered a communal or collectivist society. This means that every individual is committed to ensuring the well-being, pride and prosperity of the family unit or tribe. (Little wonder that Nigerians are first tribalistic before nationalistic).

Nigeria’s optimism can be linked to the drive for success of its citizens.

Mr. Sule said, “We are therefore highly incentivized to avoid shame linked to failure or recklessness.” Meanwhile, another speaker at the book launch, Mr. Olayinka Michael, said that the drive to be educationally and professionally successful may also be linked to Nigeria’s well-known optimism. “When your culture is preternaturally positive despite often brutal political, health and social conditions, optimism drives and inspires you to expect success in almost any circumstance,” he said. Notable figures such as academics and government officials attended the occasion.

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