The Sins of Modernity

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By Sotubo Olajide (HND, AATWA)                                                                                       email: jydey2k4real@gmail.com

Since the advent of technology and the internet, businesses have improved, the kind of communication gap that was experienced in ‘ancient times’ has been enclosed and this has added more colour to our social lives. However, the irony of this development is the negative modification it has given to our culture, traditions and norms.

On a fateful day,  while I was having a chat with a big uncle whose generation definitely had a first-hand experience of technological revolution on our cultures, resulting in the declining and sharp downturn in the cultures of the Nigerian people: Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Ibibio, etc., I discovered that improper documentation of history and preservation of cultural values by extinct generations only through the words of mouth contributed greatly to this cause. Another and the most killing is the preference of foreign cultures over ours.  To this end, there is limitation to the passion and knowledge of younger generations about our cultural backgrounds, norms and values and weird preference of foreign cultures over ours.

Modernization has changed our dressing and our way of life in general. Despite its positive influences on our corporate, commercial and social world, it has caused lots of immorality and moral deficiency among young people. It is necessary to have a beautiful look but very unnecessary to patronize nudity, however subtle. Traditional attires used to look very ‘local’ or unattractive but many thanks to the creative minds that have put to good use the ankara, lace and Aso-Oke fabrics to stand shoulder-high with modern trends. Now, gele goes perfectly on jeans while the ankara fabrics has been creatively used to make turbans, bags etc.

Music entertains no doubt but it could be the bank where cultural values are stored. The likes of King Sunny Ade, Oliver de Coque, Ebenezer Obey, etc used music to preserve our culture(s). They sang in our local languages and did traditional dances alongside. History has it that the ‘almighty’ Fela Anikulapo never had any breakthrough until he started doing music in local languages: Yoruba and Pidgin. It was then people could relate to his songs. But as time went by, the diversification of music embraced immoralities and the quest for quick money took the centre stage.

 

Of course there are so many good values that have been imported into our cultures and so many bad ones that have been stopped, just like Chinua Achebe viewed and  ‘prophesied’ in THE ARROW OF GOD –that I would say is the spice of life– nevertheless, it is sacrilegious to completely abandon ours and consider it inferior. Susan Wenger was not born in Nigeria neither was she an African. She was a European who developed so much love for Yoruba culture. She relocated to Osun State, got married to a local drummer, lived there for years and died doing what she loved to do most– ‘preserving our own cultural values’, what an irony!

The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Groove that, according to UNESCO,  is a world heritage site today was developed by Susan Wenger popularly known as Adunni Olosa. Before her arrival, it had long been forgotten and had become a place where all prohibited activities like fishing and felling of trees, etc.were carried out.With the HELP of the Alaoja of Osogbo and the support of the local people, Wenger formed the New Sacred Art Movement to challenge land speculators, repel poachers, protect shrines and began the process of bringing it to life.

Tourism can be one of the best ways to preserve our cultural values. Tourism should not be limited to historical sites alone but also cultural activities and festivals like the Osun-Osogbo festival, Ereke day in Ikenne etc. which can be partly funded by the government. It will also encourage sponsorship from private firms and individuals. With this, the preservation of cultural values occurs and people can always look forward to the next edition of such events.

Media outfits have also abandoned the role they have to play in the preservation of these values. With technological revolution, they need to understand that they are the first point of call for new generations.Children of these days are always glued to their phones, laptops and televisions.I must give credits to Google. They are really setting a good example by having their search engine in our local languages i.e.Yoruba,Igbo, Hausa and Pidgin.

As it appears, several efforts are on course for the revival of cultures, norms and traditions and the funniest part is that most of these campaign programmes are inEnglish language. We really need to note that language holds the core centre of culture; loss of language, automatically is the loss of customs, norms and traditions. Therefore, the dying cultures can only be revived and encouraged everywhere by enforcing the use of local languages in official circles.

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