Secure culture, insure future

In Australia, cultural security is employed while discussing how modernisation is threatening to change the way of life of the aborigines. In China, it is used by politicians to warn against the ‘negative’ influence of foreign pop culture. In much of Africa, the term is evoked to raise concerns on the impact of modernity and development on local traditions. In Nigeria especially, cultural security appertains to the need to protect our values and heritage from being totally submerged by the dominant and powerful influence of Westernisation or foreign systems as a whole.

How culturally secure are Nigerians? The stark truth is that we are highly culturally insecure and one index of that is our attitude to our languages. For many young Nigerians, our languages are thrash or rubbish, a heritage that is not worth bequeathing to their children. To others, our languages are mere vernaculars. Many educated people today cannot read fluently in their languages. Our sense of development is so skewed, and that is putting it mildly, that we assume that being Westernised in everything is what guarantees our progress, including the Yoruba eating amala and abula with cutlery, an unsightly anachronism. Little wonder that we are perpetually developing.