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Preserving Nigeria cultural heritage

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By Mercy Kelani

Its national identity is embellished with the unique flavors of ethnic groups.

Nigeria is a country endowed with vibrant traditions and history through which it testifies to the diversity and richness of African culture. The country is multilingual, with more than 250 languages and ethnic groups. The Nigerian cultural heritage is a fascinating tapestry and a mixture of tales of history, music, beliefs, art, and dance. As the nation dives into the modern world and progresses in it, there arises a need to emphasize the significance of the presentation of its invaluable heritage.

Popularly known as the Giant of Africa, Nigeria has an intriguing cultural landscape which was developed by many years of external influences and interactions among local communities. The national identity is embellished with the unique flavors of the Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa — the three major ethnic groups — and other ethnic groups in the country. The uniqueness in individual culture is apparent in attire, rituals, cuisine, and social norms. The artistic nature of Nigeria thrives within this ethnic diversity.

Indigenous music genres and craftsmanship in Nigeria.

The artistic heritage of the nation is collection of treasure, with its terracotta sculptures of Nok and intricate bronze castings of the ancient Benin Kingdom. From generation to generation, the mastery of craftsmanship has been passed down, making the African country renowned for beadwork, elaborate carvings, and textile designs. In the architectural aspect, the historical evolution of Nigeria is well reflected through the combination of traditional and colonial styles. Its unique rhythm also makes it stand out.

Also worthy of acknowledgment is the resonating rhythms of Nigerian music which are famous all over the country and even across borders, captivating audiences across the globe. Nigerian musicians have become global celebrities through the indigenous music genres of juju, fuji, highlife, and Afrobeats. Most times, these music genres serve the purpose of entertainment and a medium of communication as it conveys emotions and stories across language barriers. There is also the existence of cultural dances.

Challenges face these heritage in this modern era.

Dance in Nigeria is valued beyond ordinary movement as it is cultural. It is a means through which the essence of culture is communicated. There is the energetic acrobatics of the “Agaba” dance — peculiar to the Igbo tribe, and the agile “Bata” dance — peculiar to the Yoruba tribe. These dance performances done by different tribes in the country reflect the history, spirituality, and social bonds that Nigerian communities are made of. Despite these mesmerizing traditions, the cultural heritage of Nigeria encounters various challenges in the modern world.

Traditional practices in the country are threatened by rapid urbanization, the influence of Western culture, and globalization. Poor conservation efforts and lack of proper documentation has made historical artefacts at risk of disappearance it deterioration. However, efforts are being made to ensure preservation of cultural heritage. Establishment of museums, educational programs, and cultural centers are being put in place for promotion of awareness and appreciation. Also, collaborations between scholars, communities and governments are working towards protection of historical sites and traditions for coming generations.

This heritage represents the beauty that accompanies diversity.

Preservation of the cultural heritage of Nigeria goes beyond conserving the past as it also brings into the world to do with the nourishment of the roots on which national identity lies. It is concerned with the recognition of the national heritage as a prideful asset that can enhance tourism and economic growth. As the world embraces homogeneity, this heritage represents the beauty that accompanies diversity. By honoring and safeguarding the past, Nigeria is building a future that is deeply rooted in its colorful and rich tapestry of traditions.

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