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‘How culture shapes children’s upbringing’

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Performance at the event

The Testimony Place, Oniru, Lekki, Lagos, recently, was agog with festivities, as the facility hosted the African child celebration. Themed African Culture Fit for Children, the event, which was organised by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), featured cultural dance/drama competition, African fashion parade competition, poetic renditions and inter-school debate titled: Is African culture Important in the Upbringing of the African Child?

It brought together scholars, arts and culture administrators, critics, artists and significantly, students of various participating schools led by their teachers.

For about three hours, the excited children thrilled the audience, including the panel of judges for the various categories of the competition, with colourful and inspiring cultural dance and drama presentations that speak to the theme of the event.

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The auditorium resonated with excitement and ovation as each of the participating schools mounted the stage and delivered their performances to the admiration of the audience. But it was not just about dance and drama alone, the inter-school debate also offered the students opportunity to interrogate the significance of African culture to their upbringing.

In her welcome address, the Director-General of CBAAC, Ms. Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao, said the event aimed at redirecting attention to the fast disappearing values which are important in moulding the character of our children, adding that that the choice of the theme was informed by the need to “redirect attention to the eroding cultural values being experienced in our society in recent times.”

She added that programme has been carefully packaged in a manner that will enable schools to compete in different events ranging from Cultural Dance / Drama to Debate, Poetry rendition and Fashion Parade.

“Regrettably, it is disheartening to note that those good aspects of our cultural values are being lost to the forces of so called civilisation. I recall with nostalgia how we were brought up through values that were rooted in our Culture and tradition such as those of respect for elders and constituted authorities, hard work and productivity, honesty and chastity, decency, good neighbourliness and the concepts of Omoluabi, amongst several others. Unfortunately these have all become very scarce commodities among our children.”

She lamented that there is almost a total collapse of cultural values and morality in our society today.

“It is lamentable that vices such as indecent dressing, get-rich-quick syndrome, yahoo-yahoo, lack of respect, kidnapping etc. have become the resultant effect of the lack of proper upbringing of our children. The advent of social media has also compounded issues. The family culture, which was obtained in the past, is gradually dying. In fact, most families are now closer to their phones and other internet gadgets at the expense of their families, thereby neglecting their children.”

Also, in her opening remark, the founder and Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, Dr. Olufemi Ogunsanya, who was the chairperson of the occasion, commended CBAAC DG for organising the event, noting that the choice of the theme is significant.

Highpoints of the event include presentation of prizes to the winners.

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In the debate competition, first position went to Chrisland Schools, while Christ Redeemers College and FSTC Yaba, got the second and third positions respectively; and the first position in Drama/Cultural Dance was won by Cannon James Pearce Anglican College, second position was won by Home Science Association School, while STC College emerged third.

It was also a keen contest in poetry competition, and at the end, Topgrade Secondary School came first, Cannon James Pearce Anglican College (second) and Chrisland Schools (third); Fashion Parade: Chrisland Schools came first, Home Science Association School (second position) and Dowen College (third).

It was indeed, Chrisland Schools Ltd day of glory as it also emerged Best Overall School, while Mafeng Gyang from Chrisland Schools, emerged Best Debator.

Dignitaries at the event include the founder, Liberation Alliance, Mr. Taiwo Otegbeye, who delivered a brief talk on culture; and members of Management and Staff of CBAAC among others.

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