Return to the basics; experts make case for history, culture rebirth
African culture and history enthusiasts, including the ace filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, and a former Attorney General of Lagos State, Dapo Sasore (SAN), have commended the government for bringing back history into school curriculum. They also appealed to parents and other stakeholders in Yoruba nation not to allow western culture to undermine Africa’s in their respective homes.
While speaking at Afonja: The Rise’s unveiling, they expressed their displeasure at the gradual extinction of African culture and total disregard for the history of the Yoruba race before the coming of white men.
Tunde Leye wrote the book.
Speaking during a panel discussion moderated by Oladimeji Ojo, a poet and a lawyer with Aluko and Oyebode Chambers, Kelani disagreed with the notion that government alone should be blamed for the nonchalant attitude children of this generation exhibit when it comes to Yoruba history and culture, stating categorically that parents share the biggest blame as they have technically indoctrinated their children with the erroneous impression that Western ways are better than theirs.
“History is never developed in the classroom, it starts from homes,” Kelani said. “No doubts, government has its blames, but the larger part of it should be put on parents, who discourage their wards from speaking or learning history. In today’s Nigeria, some parents believe that their children’s ability to perform well in school or in the future depends on speaking English Language all the time. This is belittling of local languages and it will take us nowhere,” he said.
A former lecturer in department of history at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ottor-Ijanikin, Lagos, Mrs. Elizabeth Ajayi, who dropped the hint that history was back in school curriculum, pointed out that anybody without history has no identity. She called on women, who were not just mothers, but chief influencers in homes, to work on their children and encourage them to learn their history.
To this end, the history teacher charged students, teachers and parents to play their own part by encouraging thelanguage and culture’s growth. Sasore, who is the author of A Platter of Gold, was quick to add that all the developed countries in the world, like China and India, developed because they believed in themselves, their language and their culture.
The former commissioner, who was represented at the book launch by another literary giant and author, Mr. Kunle Kasumu, said, “if we still believe we are second class citizen, because we speak our language, then we have not prepared to grow. Check it; all the nations of the world that developed grow with their language as basis for development,”.The arts and culture editor of the now rested Next Newspaper, Molara Wood, who reviewed the book, commended the author for his style and presentation, which makes it an easy read for every lover of Yoruba history.
The author said after years of studying western literature and history, he took a break recently to dwell on African literature and history. This, he said informed his decision to research the stories around Afonja, a onetime Aare Ona Kakanfo of the Oyo Empire, who clashed with the then Alaafin of Oyo – Aole Arogangan.