Teaching school kids our culture: what schools can learn from Covenant Child Academy, Lagos
Covenant Child Academy, Ijesha, Surulere, Lagos, recently took culture to a new level when it hosted audience, comprising parents, teachers of its students, journalists and invited guests to its annual cultural day.
This year’s which marked the 10th in the annals of the school’s cultural day events came with galamour, panache and colourful display of our country’s rich cultural ensembles in a way that seemed to make the cultural showcasing of yesteryears a child’s play.
The event which featured well-choreographed traditional dances by students of the college also saw them turn out in fine, colourful traditional attires used to identify the ethnic groups they represent. They include Yoruba, Igbo, Edo/Bini, Tiv and Calabar/Efik.
One remarkable thing about this year’s event was the presentation of the music and dances in language spoken by each of the ethnic grouping that featured during the occasion. For example, while the Igbo students from both the junior and senior classes greeted their people in Igbo, the Yorubas were allowed to do the same in Yoruba, the Edos in Bini, the Efik in Efik and the Tivs in Tiv. This segment of the cultural activities elicited great excitement from the audience.
But when the student dancers, decked out in their various traditional costumes, cutting across tribes and tongues took over the stage and dished out, time and again, melodious and sometimes fast-tempo beats and tunes, accompanied by energetic acrobatic dancing, as seen in Yoruba, Igbo and Tiv dances, some members of the audience who could not contain their excitement, left their seats and joined their ‘kit-and-kin’ doing wonders on stage to savour the joy of the moment even as they threw at them crisp naira notes, to show their solidarity and appreciation.
The Igbo students also staged drama showing traditional presentation of kola nuts and marriage ceremony in Igboland. The high point of the occasion came when the audience was treated to a lavish buffet of traditional cuisines said to have been paid for and prepared by the women wing of the parents teachers association. There is no doubt, that this year’s Cultural Day of Covenant Child Academy, left a lot of lessons to be learnt by other schools, both public and private, seeking to promote our cultural values.
“Cultural Day ceremony is not merely a celebration of the pomp and pageantry of cultural backgrounds but an atmosphere to urge our parents and guardians to keep the obligation of protecting the cultural rights of the people of Nigeria as they pass them on to our Covenant children to keep them alive,” Dr. (Mrs.) Delight Olise, Project Director of the college noted in her welcome address.
At CCA, that protection was done in a unique, unifying and memorable way as its students were encouraged to put on traditional or native attires of other cultures, as a way of encouraging unity among our diverse people. To show example, Mrs. Olise and her husband, Rev. Divine Olise, the Admin. Director, both non-Yoruba, attended the occasion dressed in Yoruba traditional wears.
“Redefining culture in our outing this year calls for a reawakening and promotion of customs and values of not just a culture or custom of our local tribe in Nigeria but cutting across. This is the reason our children are not restricted to wearing their own cultural dressing alone, but given room to dress and learn from the diversity of the rich Nigeria culture and values,” Delight informed.
“So in CCA, cultural background is beyond this thinking as children are made to study and represent various other cultural values in Nigeria as a whole. By this, some of the eroding ideas and cultural heritage that has made us proud as a nation, need to be reawakened and sustained by our upcoming generations irrespective of tribe or race.”
“I am particularly thrilled that the leadership of this illustrious institution has continued to exercise profound responsibility at infusing culture into the academic and co-curricular activities of the training content of our children,” the chairman of the occasion, Chief Francis Obianwu, MD/CEO, Eyeview Inspection Ltd, said, in his address. “The theme of this year’s Cultural Day, ‘Redefining Culture,’ could not have come at a better time in the face of the rapid transformation of the social-political landscape of the world….As much as it is important to redefine culture for the peaceful co-existence of a multi-cultural society/world, it is regrettable that most modern societies have long lost their rich traditions and cultures. As a result, the culture of hard work, respect for elders, duties and obligations required of young people, rich languages and some other responsibilities that enhance quality lifestyles are fast eroding.”