Afonja The Rise: Enthusiasts Call for Yoruba Cultural Rebirth
They also appealed to parents not to allow western culture to undermine African culture in their respective homes.
The experts who spoke in Lagos on Sunday at the unveiling of the book -Afonja: The Rise- written by Tunde Leye, also expressed their displeasure over the gradual extinction of African culture in the Nigerian society particularly the total disregard for the history of the Yorubas before the coming of the white men.
Speaking during a panel discussion moderated by Oladimeji Ojo -a poet and a lawyer with Aluko and Oyebode chambers-, Kelani asserted that history is never developed in the classroom, it starts from homes.
He stated categorically that the government alone shouldn’t be blamed for the nonchalant attitude of this generation towards Yoruba history and culture, that parents shared the biggest portion of the blame as they have technically indoctrinated their children into the erroneous belief that the Western ways are better than theirs.
“I feel bad when people ascribe all the blame to the government. The government undoubtedly played a role but the larger part of the blame should be put on parents who discourage their wards from speaking their languages or learn about their history. In today’s Nigeria, some parents believe that their children’s ability to succeed depends on their proficiency in the English Language, this inconsequentially belittling our local languages and it will take us nowhere”, he further added.
Ajayi, who dropped the hint that History, was back in school curriculum pointed out that anybody without history has no identity and that the earlier Nigerians believe this the better. She called on women, who are the mothers and chief influencers in various homes to work on their children and encourage them to learn their history.
“The argument of whether History should be restored in school was on for years but we are glad that the committee set up to look into it has finally reasoned with those of us who are making a case for it. It was initially erroneously believed that students could learn History in their Civic and Government classes but we gave them a superior argument that methodology of teaching history cannot be compared with teaching other subjects, hence the need to bring it back. Thank God it has been restored.”
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 citizens because we speak our language, then we are not prepared to grow.
All the nations of the world that are developed grow with their language as a basis for development.
Unanimously, the experts including the former Arts and Culture Editor of Next Newspaper Molara Wood who reviewed the book commended the author of Afonja: The Rise, Mr. Tunde Leye, for the style and presentation of the book which they all agreed would make it easy to read for every lover of Yoruba history. They also called on leaders in various institutions in the country to read the book and learn from the lessons therein especially the story of the two characters -Afonja and Alaafin Aole.
While appreciating the position of the various experts, Leye said after years of studying Western Literature and History, he took a break recently to dwell on African literature and history, which informed his decision to research the stories around Afonja, a one time Aare Ona Kakanfo of the Oyo Empire, who clashed with the then Alaafin of Oyo – Aole Arogangan.
With the book, he said he hopes to change the attitude of people of his generation towards Yoruba history, culture, and nuances.