Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Are we approaching the extinction of “Culture”?

A young boy, Sam Murray, while defining culture once said that "culture is one’s historical, spiritual, and ethnic backgrounds in which encompasses language and traditions. Culture is heritage and is commonly associated with race and religious ideologies. Personally, I feel that culture is merely a word that only exist to label and divide people by their differences. How is my culture form yours? Because I speak a different dialect and eat food in which you are not accustomed, are we so different that we must labels ourselves in such a way that invokes war? Culture is a fallacy held by individuals who wish to upset the order of equality, creating superiority and making bold the differences in our global race. We are all kin and are all kin and therefore are from the same origins, our culture is unanimous, well at leas this is my belief."

What language do you speak? What type of food do you have for breakfast? How do the women in your country dress? Answering some of these questions above is very easy. But coming from a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria, I always find myself thinking critically to ensure whatever I say clearly explain that my response is either unique to me as an individual, the environment I grew up or my State.

The other day, some of my colleagues wanted to know how we dance in Nigeria. What a huge responsibility it was to define the Nigerian dance culture. Luckily for me, we found variety of videos of different traditional dance in Nigeria on Youtube website. We spent time analyzing how each tribe’s dance style was different yet similar to the other. "In Nigeria, there are over 250 languages" I said, trying to drive home the point that they should not define the Nigerian culture by only watching the cultural dance video of Yoruba,Igbo, Hausa and of course Edo people.

But why do we really define ourselves by Culture, especially when this culture is so diverse and ever evolving?

It is a popular notion that Tunde Kelani’s films are rooted in the Yoruba culture. I asked him once what culture means to him, he said, "Your total being is your culture. The Yoruba culture is essentially a moralistic one. You can apply this to any other culture but what we know in our culture was the importance of a good name and a good character, "Omo Oluwa bi", you have to bring honor to the family…why we are having so many problems today is because there is a cultural vacuum. People are cut off from their culture, therefore resulting to short of moral."

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