At NBA anniversary, speakers stress importance of story telling in preserving culture, history
With reactions still trailing the initial removal of history from Nigeria’s secondary education curriculum, as well as lack of proper knowledge of the country, the artist, Olola Olabode Ogunlana, has emphasised the need for story telling to fill the vacuum.
Ogunlana, who is a folklorist and storyteller, said story telling helps to document history, as well as preserve the culture of the people and the nation at large, as well as strengthening bonds.
The storyteller stated this at one of the activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian British Association, themed: ‘What the British brought to Nigeria and their leave Behinds.’
The event, solely organised in honour of the folklorist at the British Council, Ikoyi, Lagos, featured extracts of Nigerian history, NBA history and the author’s books such as, Out of the Black Pot, Selected Tales, Yoruba Love Stories and The Quest for the Rare Leaf.
Ogunlana maintained that stories about the country’s cultural heritage should be kept and transmitted to generations unborn so that they would be acquainted with their culture.
“Story does not only teach, instruct, amuse and entertain. It is a pity history has been removed from our curriculum. Bad leaders seem to think that by covering misdeeds, they are safe,” he stressed.
He continued: “It is important to write stories to call attention to what happened in the past, which is still affecting us today. We need to read and write stories; it is the thing that links the past, present and future. If we don’t know what happened in the past, it affects our future.”
The folklorist stressed that history would enable the people know what transpired between Nigeria and Britain and also correct the negative perception about the colonial rule.
He also stressed the need “to learn from what has happened in the past. It is all about the people’s life and telling it.”
In his remark, the President, Nigeria British Association, Shola Tinubu, said the association promotes friendship between Nigeria and Britain, as well as the exchange of cultures.
“Storytelling is an integral part of any cultures and an even peculiar one in Africa. It is the fine blend of history and the premonition of the future; all wrapped up in the aesthetics of words of vivid imagery,” he said.
He cited Peter L. Berger words, which says “human life is narratively rooted; human construct their lives and shape their world into homes in terms of these groundings and memories.”
For Tinubu, “stories are universal in that they can bridge cultural, linguistic and age-related divides globally; and can likewise be used as a method to teach ethics, values, cultural norms and differences. The very tool that we need in the world to remind us of why we are here on this earth, to connect us all, regardless of our differences and to inspire us to be better individuals, and of course to build friendship.”
He, however, urged the two countries to retain their bond and strengthen relationships between their people.