Linus Aleke, Abuja:
Determined to ensure the preservation and transmission of African rich cultural heritage and values from one generation to the other, an astute cultural advocate and the President, African Art and Cultural Heritage Association, Arts and Craft Village Abuja, Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie has expressed his determination to ensure the preservation of the nation’s cultural identity.
Nze Chukwumezie who expressed this determination at his 2015 New Yam Festival/ Golden Jubilee Celebration also used the opportunity to thank the diplomats, friends and well-wishers who spared time out of their busy schedule to felicitate and fraternize with him.
He also berated the common practice by Igbo in Diaspora who brandish their native attire on certain special occasions while their children does not understand anything about their culture particularly the language, describing such practice as cosmetics.
“I am a man of culture, actually every year for the past 20 years, I have been celebrating new yam festival. I usually celebrate the festival on any Sunday closest to 15th of August either before or after. Before I eat new yam every year, I will kill a life animal and use it to cook the first yam and thank God for making me eat the new yam. I will also pray to God to preserve my life to witness and eat the next year new yam.
“I decided to combine the new yam festival and my golden jubilee because 50th birthday is a special occasion, it is a mile stone and that is why I decided to use it to celebrate the cultural heritage of our people. My birthday is actually on July 16 but I deliberately shifted it forward to coincide with the new yam festival. So that, I will use the occasion to thank God and celebrate culture because I have always preached that culture is life. Once our cultures die, we are dead as a people. If you lose your identity, you have automatically lost your life.” He explained.
On her part, the elder sister of the celebrant, Lady Pat Igwe described him as a traditionalist and lover of culture.
“Growing up as a child, Nze Chimazie was known in the house for his humility, respect for elders, love for tradition and culture, kind hearted, hardworking and above all faith and believe in God. So we are happy to be part of his golden jubilee celebration. I and my entire family flew in from Enugu this morning to be part of this epoch celebration. He is one of those few Nigerians who studied abroad, who still hold their culture in a very high esteem. So I will want the younger generation in the country to emulate this aspect of his life. He is a traditionalist and an advocate of cultural rejuvenation.”
Also extolling the qualities of the celebrant is the Chairman Ukpor Improvement Union, Abuja branch, Chief Onwuzuluike Omeri Emeka. He explained that there is no dull moment with Nze Kanayo even as he described him as a role model.
According to him, “The celebrant is a great gift to humanity; he is a dynamic leader, a humanitarian, philanthropist, very nice person and a man of the people. I wish him prosperous and more fruitful years.
“As a creative person, he decided to combine his birthday and New Yam festival. The two celebrations are similar in the sense that the latter is a day set aside to thank God for keeping you alive to harvest and eat the new yam you planted a year before while the former is a day you thank God for keeping you healthy and alive to commemorate the day you were born into mother earth. So he is quite an innovative person.” He concluded.