The rich African culture, mostly that of Nigeria was reawakened to the fullest few days ago when the children of Home Science Association Secondary school, Alakuko, Lagos, organised their Founders Day cum cultural re-birth celebrations.
It was a cheer display of rich Nigerian cuisines from more than 85 tribes, dance steps from each geographical region and also a few selected African countries like, Benin, South Africa ,Ghana and Kenya to mention but few.
Not deterred by the cloudy weather that suggested it might rain. The students whose ages range from 10 to 18 years were eager to rekindle the lost cultural heritage in a dwindling culturally oriented economy.
In her welcome address, the president of the Home Science Association, Mrs. Adunni Bakare, who wore a native attire as a sign of respect for the children’s initiatives, opined that the need to see how Nigerian cultural heritage can help out mostly in this recession time has made the school authority under her leadership to accept the proposal in the first place.
“There is no need to hide the fact that the country is going through recession, but I am dead sure that we can train our children about our cuisines, handicrafts, and the language in order to make money; even translations into other languages. I believe that we cannot do without our culture because it is a bond that binds us together.
This is why the issue of joint sharing is common in Africa. We share both joys and burdens together. I‘m calling on parents to please speak our native language to all our children at home. They need it. I am not saying English Language, which is a lingua franca should be discarded, but what I am saying is that the children will learn English in the school. Let them cherish and value the native language,” Adunni said.
Bakare went further to greet in more than 16 languages to which the audience applauded.
The Tutor General and Permanent Secretary, Education Districts V, Mrs. Lola Ade-Adegbite, who represented the Lagos State deputy governor, in her welcome address, revealed that promotion of ‘our cultural value’ is one of the vital points of governor Ambode’s projects.
“Recently, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode expressed the resolve of his administration to continue to preserve cultural and historical sites across the State and develop them to international standard to boost tourism, employment generation and relaxation because according to him, there was no better time for progressive governments to begin to look towards the arts and entertainment sector to create jobs for the teeming youths, which according to him can go a long way to reflate the economy.
“Gov. Ambode also believe that if we are going to beat recession, the real future of Lagos and Nigeria is to promote arts and culture. In view of this, I am happy that Home Science Association Secondary School, Alakuko, has taken the bull by the horn with this beautiful activities.”
Wearing native attire with abeti-aja cap, Mr. Kehinde John Olokose, who is the principal of the school, said that the time has come for parents to allow their children know their roots. “You will see many children that do not even know their states of origin not to talk of their native homes. Now that the new American president is sending people home, I wonder what will happen to those who do not know their homes again. I am sure, wise parents will look into this scenario to let their children know their roots.
“Asides from this, the works of arts done by these students indicates that majority of them will not be hunting for jobs after the completion of their studies because they will have something to fall back upon graduation from whatever level they deem fit. I am in same boat with those campaigning to end white collar jobs. Teaching our youths about creative works will put many goodies on their tables in future,” Olokose who was basking in the euphoria of the successful outing revealed.
Zainab Bolarinwa, the social prefect (girl), who initiated the 2017 cultural programme, said she did so out if her desire to allow other students cherish what they have here at home. “Coming from a Yoruba background, where my parents imbibed the rich cultural values in us right the ffrom the cradle, I have come to realise that whenever I go out, masses appreciate such values in me. I also learnt that natural food provides more immunities more than junk foods. I have also realised that majority of our Nollywood stars who have made it, did so because they can speak and act in native languages. So, what do we want that God has not provided for us? These are what I saw before calling on the school authority to allow me spearhead this programe along sides my colleagues.”
Her mother, Alhaja Bolarinwa who sponsored the programme revealed that the willingness to carry other children along in what she felt could make a positive impacts in their lives prompted her to invest in the vent.
“I remember that when we were growing up, your next of kin was automatically your neighbour; but reversed is the case nowadays. How many children can speak native language fluently? How many local dishes do they know not to talk of preparing it? What of our music and dance steps. What of the norms and endurance? I am happy that the students are falling over themselves to partake in this programme” Mrs. Bolarin who came
with her husband and friend said, while going up and down to make sure all had to eat and drink.
The local delicacies served including: amala with gbegiri; ewedu and eba; luuru soup and tuwo; ofada rice with sauce; yam porridge with vegetable; ofe onugbu, ofe owerri, oha soup; edika ekong; moninmoin; mosa; abari; iyan and isapa soup; egbo and beans; etc.
The height of the programme was the dancing time. Contemporay dance steps met indigenous ones. Ondo, Ekiti and Osun which shared same attributes were paired together during the match past where each local; songs and drum beats were displayed. Kwara, Kogi; Niger, Kano, Abuja; etc were fully represented. Lagos as usual, had her Eyo on the field with the white cloth regalia.
Parents and teachers joined in the ceremony. The sight of many drew laughter from the major audience.
Assorted local; drinks such as zobo, kunu, oprange juice and palmwine (which was majorly drank by adults were on display. No table was without food. All had more to eat and wine.
Available information revealed that many art works displayed were done by the students. Hair weaving, textile making, bead making, painting and colouring were not left out.
The Chairman of the occasion. Mr. Toyin Ayinde, who is a former Commissioner for Planning said that he gladly accepted to chair the event, because he too, believes that the children must be abreast of their rich cultural values. “We grew up learning how to respect each other; be it others’ religion or tribe. Fighting over religion, personal gain; amazing wealth with no regards for personal prestige or respect for family honour were foreign to our culture. In fact, it was total alien to us. The missing link must be found now so that the society can be in peace. We need to do this through our children, and the best way is to revive our lost cultural values,” Ayinde concluded