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Celebrating World Heritage Day

Heritage

Have you ever wondered why you feel an outflow of happiness when you see the Eyo masquerades parading and cascading in their white festive garments or when we all gather in the village square beneath the moonlight to listen to interesting folktales and fable-like stories, or when you can tell from the wide smiles and grin on people’s faces as they eagerly anticipate the New yam festival? I dare say it is because it takes us back in time to our home, our culture, our values and norms.

As the Yorubas would say “ranti omo eni ti iwo nse” which means “remember the child of whom you are”.

However, in recent times our values, cultures, and tradition have been overshadowed by the constant interference of civilization, globalization, and cocacolonization. This generation is of a view that our cultural values are primitive and that is why an average child would say that speaking his mother tongue or dialect is old-fashioned.

Let me not blah you with unnecessary rhetoric and small talks, on the contrary, let’s take a plunge into a more academic semantic for the word “heritage”.

Heritage according dictionary.com, means something handed down from the past, as a tradition; a national heritage of honor, pride and courage. It is also something that comes upon or belongs to a person by reason of birth. It can be an inherited lot of portion, a language or a craft etc.

World heritage day is the shared wealth of human kind. Therefore protecting, preserving, and celebrating these valuable assets demands the combined efforts of the international community; and of course, local collaboration. It is a special day that offers humongous opportunity to raise public awareness about the diversities in our cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it as well as draw attention to its vulnerability. The theme for this year’s world heritage day is “Sustainable Tourism”.

In Conclusion, Nigeria is not just called the giant of Africa for no reason. She is highly respected for being a country with beautiful and diversified cultural values, and also very rich in cultural heritage.

From Argungun festival in Sokoto north, to the Ibibio’s and the Benue’s, the Gelede’s and Eyo in the south-west amongst others, we see and appreciate the potpourri of our diversity. Nigeria is regarded as the giant of Africa, but an overweight giant becomes a burden to itself; the more reason why we need to begin to raise the consciousness of the people to the fierce urgency of the now, and the need to begin to take advantage of the plethora benefits of our patrimonial existence.

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