THE rate at which Nigerians copy culture is alarming. Over the years, Nigeia’s culture have almost been taken ove by that of the western world. The youth of this generation are crazy about the western culture because they believe its the best. This is commonly known as cultural subjugation. According to Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, subjugation is the forced submission to control by others. This is typified in the way we dress, speak, in our manners and the food we eat etc. This has grown to the extent that ven the educated persons and those in authority in our great country that are supposed to preserve our rich cultural heitage are also guilty of cultural distortion ad they copy foreign culture to show that they are on top.
Cultural subjugation has led to the collapse of our rich African culture, this is unacceptable. It is imperative to state that as African, we should be proud of our culture and uphold the values anywhere we find ourselves. Our culture is our identity, it is what distinguishes us as Africans from others.
According to Advanced Learner’s dictionary, culture is the attitudes and behaviour that are characteristic of a particular social group or organisation. Culture is the patterns of behaviour and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share. Culture distinguishes one human group from others; it also distinguishes humans from other animals. Culture includes the people’s beliefs, rules of behaviours, language, rituals, art, technology, styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking their food, religion, political and economic systems.
Presently, in Nigeia, so many children don’t know how to speak their mother-tongue, but they tend to speak like the western people because of what they see on foreign television stations and the internet. This is the beginning of cultural distortion in our country.
In a attempt to find how Nigerian culture can be preserved especially the Edo culture, a vox pop was conducted in Benin City. A group of respondents said that Edo culture can be preserve if the governmet is interested in arts and culture in the state and the people that are appointed to occupy cultural positions are those that are very vast in arts and culture. Another group of respondents said that the parents have a huge role to play in the preservation of our African culture i.e. they should endeavour to always speak their native languages to their children.
Furthermore, another group of respondents whose opinions were sampled on the issue believed that the religious institutions and the educational institutions respectively could contribute to the preservation of African culture ad values by teaching their members, African cultural values and encouraging them in these institutions to be proud of their clture because it is their identity.
It is upon this background that I wish to call on the government, parents, religious institutions, educational institutions and all stakeholders to as a matter of priority and urgency contribute their quota in the preservation and development of African cultural values.
People in the same society share common behaviours and ways of thinking through culture. While people biologically inherit many physical traits ad behavioural instincts, culture is socially inherited. People use culture to flexibly and quickly adjust to changes in the world around them. People have culture primarily because they can communicate with one another and understand symbols. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and to exchange those thoughts with others.
Language and other forms of symbolic communications such as art, enable people to create, explain, and record new ideas and information.For instance, in Nigeria most persons constantly invent new symbols to pass messages e.g. mathematical formulas. In addition, people may,use one symbol like a single word,to represent different ideas, feelings, or values. Thus, symbols provide a flexible way for people to communicate even very complex thoughts with each other. For example, only through symbols can architects, engineers and construction workers communicate the information necessary to construct a skyscraper or bridge.People have the capacity at birth to construct, understand, and communicate through symbols if they have been thought by their parents and those around them, primarily by using language. Research has shown that, infants have a basic structure of Ianguage structure of universal grammar built into their minds. Infants are thus predisposed to learn the language spoken by the people around them.
Language provides a means to store, process and communicate amounts of information that vastly exceed the capabilities of non-humans e.g. lower animals. People are not born with culture but they have to learn it. For instance, people must learn to speak and understand a language and to abide by the rules of a society. In all society children learn culture from adults. Anthropologists call this process-enculturation or cultural transmission. Enculturation is a long process of just learning the intricacies of human language, a major part of enculturation takes many years. People also continue to learn throughout their life times. Thus, most societies respect their elders, who have learned for an entire lifetime.
The people of Nigeria should collectively maintain African cultural values; societies preserve culture for much longer than the life of any one person. They preserve it in the form of knowledge, such as scientific discoveries; objects, such as works of art; and traditions, such as the observance of holidays. Self -identity usually depends on culture to such a great extent that immersion in a very different culture with which a person does not share common ways of life or beliefs can cause a feeling of confusion and disorientation. Anthropologists refer to this phenomenon as cultural shock. In multicural societies such as Nigeria into which people come from a diversity of cultures—unshared forms of culture can also lead to tension.
Members of a society who share culture often also share some feelings of ethnocentrism, the notion that one’s culture is more sensible than or superior to that of other societies. Ethnocentrism contributes to the integrity of culture because it affirms people’s right to share beliefs and values in the face of the contradictory beliefs and values held by people of other cultural backgrounds. Cultural adaptafion has made humans one of the most successful species on the planet. Through history, major developments in technology, medicine, and nutrition have allowed the people to reproduce and survive in ever-increasing numbers. The global population has risen from 8 million to almost 6 billion today;however, the successes of culture can also create problems in the long run.