June 14, 2024
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Day Dupwal Montessori School celebrated Nigerian culture, languages

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  • April 6, 2024
  • 5 min read
Day Dupwal Montessori School celebrated Nigerian culture, languages

By Foluke Falayi

WHILE modernity as handed down to Africans by European colonisers has become so ingrained in African and Nigerian societies, it was refreshing to see young ones effortlessly displaying core African values through a colourful cultural day fiesta in Lagos. Western modernity has ensured Africans are addicted to alien lifestyles like the clothes and hairstyles worn, the food and drinks consumed, and other aspects that negate essential African lifestyles, habits and values. Although many have campaigned against this wholesale copying of Western values, old habits certainly die hard. But this is not to give up, especially in helping our young ones form early habits that portray authentic African culture and lifestyles that reflect positively on us as a people. Experts argue that this true and certain identity should be promoted for others to also emulate and patronise so as to help grow our cultural industries and economy generally.

So it was at Dupwal Montessori School, Abule Egba, Lagos on March 22, when it held 2024 Culture Day Celebration. It was a day to celebrate Nigeria’s colourful culture and many languages. The keynote speaker and presenter Radio Lagos, Fatai Bantale and the author of over 20 books and guest, Foluke Sijuwola Falayi emphasized the importance of greeting in Nigerian languages like Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw, Efik, Isoko, Edo, and many others depending on where a child hails from. They also admonished the children not only to speak English but also their indigenous languages, appropriately called ‘Mother Tongues’. The pupils acted and demonstrated local vocations like fishing, boat riding and soon on. The speakers also commended Dupwal Montessori School for being mindful of Nigeria culture and celebrating it as part of its annual calendar of celebrations. They charged other schools to emulate Dupwal Montessori School, so as to inculcate true Nigerian values on their pupils as well.

The keynote speaker Bantale emphasised the promotion of Nigeria’s traditional and cultural heritage that includes speaking in mother tongues and patronising local products instead of imported ones that harm our economy. He demonstrated this by speaking Yoruba all through his speech. Bantale also encouraged parents to speak their mother tongues to their children at home and elaborated on its numerous benefits that include getting their children grounded in their ethnic heritage, making better pupils and students out of their children, as they grasp difficult concepts better with the felicity that mother tongue knowledge grants them. Bantale also spoke on the importance of dressing well, saying it’s a measure of a person’s good personality and a radiation of acceptable and pleasing aura.

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Pupils of Dupwal Montessori School, Lagos displaying traditional attires on Culture Day Celebration PHOTO: FOLUKE FALAYI

The children played ayo game as a way of relaxation and sustaining one of Nigeria’s indigenously developed games. One of the things that captured audience’s attention was a playlet the children performed in Yoruba. In it they displayed how weddings were held in the olden days and the meaning of baale (a community’s traditional ruler), and what it means when a groom meets his bride at ‘home’, as a virgin, thus celebrating the pride it brings both the parents and the groom’s family and all the positive things that it connotes. It was fun, as the little ones (pupils) acted, danced and spoke many other indigenous languages other than Yoruba.

Parents were advised to speak their mother tongues to their children at home always, noting that children are capable of learning and speaking many languages at the same, and that parents and teachers should not restrict children to speaking only English at home. Teachers were particularly warned not to refer to Nigerian languages as ‘vernacular’ and victimise pupils who speak them thereby, but they should be regarded as mother tongues that have equal status as English, French or German. The children also demonstrated this when they made presentations in many Nigerian languages. The children were brightly arrayed in different Nigerian indigenous dresses like Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and traditional dresses from other parts of Nigeria; they also acted and sang while donning these attires to the admiration of other pupils, parents, teachers and guests.

Parents who were present expressed happiness and learned valuable lessons from the experience and from one another during Nigerian and African cuisine presentations. The children demonstrated and taught guests how to prepare different foods and drinks like ewedu and gbegiri, lafun and gbure, okpa, edikang ikong, sobo, kunnu and many others. They also gave out the recipes for those who wish to try them at home after which the audience was served the delicious African dishes on display.

Also present was the chairman of the school board, Pastor Adewale Aganano. The Proprietress of Dupwal Montessori School, Mrs. Modupeoluwa Aganano, expressed the school’s passion in promoting African culture and heritage among its pupils as well as maintaining excellence in teaching and a friendly school environment that is conducive for learning and pupils-teacher interactions.

* Falayi has written over 20 books mainly for children such as Sam Goes to College, The Slaves in the Palace, The Little Prince and the Sluggish Servant, and The Rainy Day, among others

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