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American group supports Osun movie on traditional religion


Black Panther. Photo credit: Longreads

A United States- based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), DuniaFore Foundation, yesterday screened the popular blacks-oriented movie, Black Panther, to children of traditionalists in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

The screening of the movie was part of the finale celebration of the NGO’s yearly month-long programme tagged Asalaye Academy, an initiative that enriches traditionalists’ children with academics with the aim of deepening pan-African awareness and pride in African culture.

The Founder of the NGO, Dr. Nzinga Olabisi Metzger, who is an African-American anthropologist said her passion for the emancipation of the African Traditional Religion (ATR) made her set up the academy, which holds in two classrooms provided by the Araba Awo of Osogboland, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon.

The “Asalaye Academy” project, according to Nzinga, seeks to bridge the gap between children of traditional worshippers and those who embrace Western education in Islam and Christianity.

The academy, which took off four weeks ago with 125 children, aged between seven and 17 in Osogbo, was also geared towards re-awakening the consciousness of traditionalists to the values embedded in the religion and motivate their children to pursue their dreams without minding the social stigma on them.

Olabisi said: “There is a kind of societal coloration to being a traditionalist. We have discovered that the normal school curriculum in Nigeria does not create a space for the traditional religion to be learnt as we have in the two religions brought by missionaries to Nigeria.”

“We are also trying to establish the pan-Africanism in the values of the traditional religion on them in a bid to change the idea of backwardness and illiteracy associated with the traditional religion and its worshippers.

The curriculum also opens the children’s minds to the history of their continent fusing it with the current trends in the Global space.”

“So far, some of the students have the full knowledge of the African continent, the countries, cultures and tradition.

They have also been taught how to become self-reliant pan-Africanists. What has excited me more is the ability of those participants, who were able to learn more and become better traditionalists and contributors to their society.”

Metzger has expressed her readiness to cover the South West region in Nigeria and plans to expand Asalaye Academy to Sierra Leone and bring cultural -focused programmes to other places in the Diaspora.

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