It is no longer news that the younger generation of Africans are losing grip of their culture to alien way of life due to the effect of globalization or what African communication scholars described as media imperialism of the western powers on third world nations.
However, what constitute news as far as culture is concern in Nigeria are pockets of effort been made by government, critical stakeholders in the cultural sector and custom enthusiast to revive the dying cultural values of Africans.
To better appreciate the benefit of culture and cultural values to any giving society; it is important for us to attempt a definition of the terms or concept ‘culture’ before delving into its imperatives.
In the words of Gustav Klamn culture could best be defined as “The customs, information and skill, domestic and public life in peace and war, religion, science and art, manifest in the transition of past experience to the new generation.”
To the Polish-American educationist and anthropologist, Professor Bronislaw Malinowski, “Culture is a vast apparatus, partly material and partly human, by which human societies are organized into permanent and recognizable groupings”
According to Vincenso Cappalleti as captured in UNESCO publication on cultural policy in Italy in 1971 culture is seen as “The awareness possessed by human community of its own historical evolution by reference of which it tends to assert continuity of its own being, and to ensure its development.”
To Hunter and Whitten, “Culture is the patterned behavior learned by each individual from the day of birth as he or she is educated (socialized and enculturated) by parents and peers to become, and remain a member of the particular group into which he or she was born or joined.”
While the cultural policy for Nigeria 1988, defines culture as “The totality of the way life evolved by a people in their attempts to meet the challenges of living in their environment, which gives order and meaning to their social, political, economic, aesthetic and religious norms and modes of organization thus distinguishing a people from their neighbors.”
Having explored multiple of these definitions, it is pertinent nonetheless to note that the important of culture to any giving society cannot be overemphasized and it is in line with that conviction that a group of young Nigerians under the aegis of Eagle Nest Naija Cultural Heritage Reality Show has vowed to revive African cultural values amongst the younger generation in the country.
This desire to rejuvenate the dying cultural values of Africans particularly among younger generation of Nigerians had mid-wifed a reality show aimed at reversing the ugly trend where 21 centaury African youngsters are thinking, behaving and dressing like European thereby alienating their own culture in the name of modernity.
Speaking exclusively to our correspondent, the National coordinator of Eagle Nest Naija Cultural Heritage Reality Show Mr. Christian Ekolibor noted that arrangement to unveil the reality show which is aimed at rejuvenating cultural norms among youths of this country are at advanced stage.
He also explained the rationale behind the show when he noted that it is aimed at showcasing in an exciting and exhilarating manner, the diverse, colourful cultures and dynamic traditions of Nigeria.
The national coordinator also said that in addition to cultural reorientation, the reality show will equally generate employment for youths as well as serve as a vehicle for national integration.
His words, “The reality show is all about reviving our cultural heritage. We are team of young Nigerians who saw the need to harness our cultural heritage that is almost going extinct due to exposure to western culture by the youth of our generation and we decided to come together to organize a reality show that have to reflect our culture and tradition. To showcase those norms that distinguishes Nigeria and the entire African continent from the rest of the world. We are partnering with ministry of culture, tourism and national orientation and also in support of Abuja carnival because we discovered that the Abuja national carnival has so much cultural input compare to a lot of others, that is why we have to identify directly with the carnival and the ministry of culture because you know the government, if you allow them alone, a lot of thing will not happen so we decided to come in to assist government to save our culture from total collapse because as you can see the youth of this generation are going the way of the white man and that portend a lot of dander to the continuing survival of our culture.
“Nigeria as a nation is blessed with diverse cultures, traditions, festivals, talents, historical and beautiful tourism sites. These endowments when properly harnessed, will reposition and preserve Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and uniqueness; thereby strengthening the bond of unity amongst us, as well as creating employment and wealth for our people, thus reducing poverty in the country. The show is targeted at millions of young, vibrant Nigerians who are proud of their heritage and want to showcase to the world, knowing that they will be fully appreciated by a global audience. They will also be lured by the opportunity of winning the star prize and enhance of global celebrity status, fame and fortune. This event intends to take the deviant child out of the street by providing them with a future.”
Ekolibor further noted that the show will serve as a vehicle of national integration as participant in the TV reality show will be drawn from all the geopolitical zones to represent the different ethnic interest that make up the country.
According to him, “contestant from across the six geo-political zones in the country would be taken to a remote novelty village, build in a rural community within Federal Capital Territory FCT and will reflect the original architectural designs of Nigeria. There, they will interact with the indigenes and learn the cultures of the host community. Contestants will be given task based on what they have learnt from the host community concerning their cultures and traditions. A contestant will also have to show how well he or she can get the viewing public and judges to appreciate their own cultures and traditions.”
The cultural enthusiast also enumerated the grand benefits of the TV reality show to include among other things serve as an employment avenue for the various participating youths in the field of film acting, music, dance, comedy, fashion, etc.
“To provide an enabling environment for the host community, FCT and the nation to encourage peer group learning and cross fertilization of idea thus promoting the desired peace and unity within the country. Compliment the Abuja National Carnival by creating awareness of the country’s tourism potentials thereby boosting foreign investment as well as promotion of Nigeria’s unique cultural heritage for the benefits of Nigerians yet unborn. Encourage influx of tourists into the country in order to reduce the negative image of the country to the outside world and to play a positive role in increasing consumer commitment to sustainable economic development principles in Nigeria. And will enhance and preserve the different cultures and traditions of Nigerians, demonstrate our unity in diversity and promote the country’s rich tourism potentials as well as showcase to the world, the moral values inherent in our culture.”
On the entry requirement for contestant Ekolibor noted that contestants must be a Nigerian between 18 to 35 years of age, adding that registration shall be free while forms shall also be picked from designated centers across the country. He added that audition centers will be set up across the six geo-political zones of the country to accommodation all the divergent cultural heritage of Nigeria.
Supporting the idea of TV reality show as vehicle for revitalizing the value of culture and traditions to the younger generation, a cultural expert and media and management consultant Chief Lawrence Emeka argued that with the advent of modern media technologies like newspapers, magazines, books, radio, TV and internet, it becomes imperative to make the best use of the platform of these new technologies.
“A simple illustration is that these instruments enable entertainment to be received in the homes (thereby eliminating the need to go to the stadium or the village square) and make certain habits, dress styles, musical, culture and behavior available to the masses thereby changing the habits and behavior of the youths through the pop phenomenon. Therefore the reality show is a good initiative that will appeal to the taste of the youngsters. To this end I believe it will achieve the desired result.”
Giving credence to the above argument, a university dons Dr. sunny Udeze in his book “After the whirlwind: a discourse on international communication.” Also has this to say, “Cultural imperialism is subtle conditioning through the mass media of the minds of the people to make them imbibe values which will make their desire for certain goods, services or ideas to increase. In our country for instance, before the middle of 1970s, young maidens braid or plait their hair, today, intrusion of western values through television, films, international magazines, newspapers have made such things to be looked at as archaic. It is now perming, jerry curls or wig. If hairs are to be plaited at all, it must be ‘Bob Marley’ or any other stylish hair- do with attachment or weavoen and not the one done with thread. Where this cultural imperialism is more pronounced is in tertiary institutions, where youngsters after watching western movies try to dress in very weird manners to reflect their role models from such films. It is not unusual to see young girls wearing night gowns or see-through dresses, skimpy blouses that expose their navels, very skimpy skirt that expose their laps with terrible high heeled shoes even when they are terribly tall. This type of dressing which at times makes some of them look like masquerade is worn in the name of fashion.” He lamented.
On his part, a cultural fan Mr. Vitus Ugwu commended the initiative describing it as a right step in a right direction. He nonetheless appealed to government and other relevant stakeholders to accord the group the maximum support the required to succeed, adding that any effort aimed at reviving the dying culture of Nigerians must be supported.
He however advised the organizers of the reality show not to go the way of Big Brother Africa in order not to encourage and inculcate immorality in the psyche of participants and viewers of the programme.
It is heartwarming to discover the fact that Nigerians are unanimous on the need for authorities, corporate institutions and good spirited individuals to invest energy, resources and time in revitalizing the cultural heritage of Africans. It is however on the premise of the above that the writer wish to say that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well.