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MANY international schools of thought and researchers have said that Nigerian languages are on the verge of going into extinction because of rap interest in western culture and this trend, if steps are not taken would disenfranchise the younger generation and unborn, the identity, value and richness of their culture.
Moreover, it is truism that people without culture or tradition are lost generation. And Nigeria is one of the nations which this reality stare in the eyes as the Yoruba Language amongst others are seriously threatened by the lost of virtues and values, but a renowned scholar and culturist, Professor Akinwunmi Ishola said there are ways to revive, preserve and promote the Yoruba culture ditto language.
Bearing it all at the Odu’a Museum and Hall of Fame at the Cocoa House, Ibadan recently, the writer of the Yoruba epic film, Oleku said Yoruba Language and culture are pride and symbolism of a people’s genuine history, heritage and significant folklore that radiate the richness of their cultural norms and values globally.
Prof Ishola who spoke with candour spared no one in the whip, which he said the family, school, government have their share of the blame as they have in one time or the other faltered in putting a good structure on ground for preserving and promoting the Yoruba Language among their wards.
For Prof. Ishola, “it is not too late to rebuild, but while putting up a structure, not just an ordinary one but a modest one, we have to be consistent and implore every area of human endeavour to sustain it, like the French, Chinese among others.”
However, the epic film writer has called relevant authorities saddled with the responsibility of disseminating, educating and entertaining the public through different mediums to continue to make the Yoruba Language brand content in the delivery of their message(s).
Advocating for the onward translation of Yoruba comic play and folktales into cartoons on national televisions, Prof. Ishola said with strong conviction that the move would be a stepping-stone to promoting Yoruba Language at the right track among the youthful, which eventually are the target in this instance.
“The intangible aspect of our culture which has to do with language is very important because it starts from when we are born and learning the language includes learning the culture of the values (omoluabi) the standards of rights and wrongs are all embedded in the language.
“If you want to teach a child to live well, that child must learn the acceptable standard of right and wrong, which makes a culture vibrant and we have it in the Yoruba Language, culture, and that is what we call the omoluabi value system.
“The intangible objects on display at the Odu’a museum is a rallying point to this discuss as it will stimulate and facilitate learning process for children on excursion to Cocoa House and as well preserve and promote heritage of the Yoruba.”
Prof Ishola noted that what would help to preserve ones culture is to sustain the language of a people.
“Look at what you watch every time on television, cartoons, we call it ere ‘mo de in Yoruba Language, we have a million and one cartoons showing on cartoons network daily and the children love them, you cannot stop them from watching such.
“So, why can’t we do it in Yoruba? We have good Yoruba stories, so why then are they not translated into cartoons?
“We have good writers who can write short stories, folktale (alo ijapa) among others and get them into cartoons and the children will like to watch what the tortoise did the other time, by this, they would not forget their language, which is also a way of teaching the younger ones the Yoruba Language.
“We need to start teaching the children at the formative ages and they can learn fast by using those things that are in vogue, things that captivate them and we know children of nowadays devote more time to games, cartoons and comics. So we can key into these areas of interest to achieve these goals.
“We can start re-animating ere ‘mo de, by that I mean cartoon in Yoruba Language. The time is now, the change must start forthwith.”
“It is high time we faced the fact of promotion of core culture, not only by lip services alone, but also by redesigning a structure that would promptly re-orientate, re-educate and remodel the future of our children by having a rendition of Yoruba stories and fictions in cartoon to capture the attention of the children.”