By Felicia Imohimi
The Nigerian Folklore Society (NFS) has called on media practitioners to promote and preserve Nigerian culture by airing cartoons, video games and movies, among others.
Dr Bukar Usman, the President of the society, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Usman decried the over promotion of foreign culture by some media organisations in the country at the expense of our local folklores.
According to him, the media has a great role to play in the promotion and preservation of our culture, noting that through such measures “we will be able to bequeath our cultural values on the children”.
He described the rate of airing of foreign cartoons, video games and others in the new media as inimical to the development and preservation of the Nigerian culture.
“To sustain and preserve the Nigerian culture our reliance is on the media to carry the message across board not only to citizens but even to the entire world that there is something we are promoting in Nigeria.
“Media practitioners are the people who can best spread it. I appeal that they should not relent in ensuring video games and materials which will promote the character formation of a child is based on our own local tales and culture and not on foreign ideas.
“History is the same as folklore and they are the bases of which our totality of experiences of our society will be carried forward from one generation to the other,” Usman noted.
NAN reports that folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people which encompasses the traditions common to that culture.
It includes tales, chants, legends, proverbs, oral poetry and myths.
Usman emphasised that priority should be on the production of dramas, motion cartoons and animation to educate the children on our local culture aimed at character building as well as instilling in them diverse cultural heritages.
He however frowned at the trend and presentation of foreign cartoons, animations among other tales like Tom and Jerry, Disney Junior in the media that attracted the attention of children all through the day undermining other activities, including food and academic work.
The president of the society reaffirmed that majority of these cartoons portray western or foreign culture at the detriment of the indigenous ones.
According to him, by using animation to illustrate what transpired in the past since no parents have time to tell children tales about tortoise and others as applicable in the past we will be able to sustain our culture.
Usman specifically described children as crucial in transmitting and preserving culture and history of any society.
He noted that in the past parents often sat with their children under the moonlight or whatever to tell tales, which served as a means of education for character formation but there were no such opportunity for the children.
According to him, presently most parents can no longer sit with their children to tell them stories of the past due to their busy schedule.
He emphasised that the only way to bridge such gap was for the media to encapsulate video games and cartoons, among others, based on Nigerian cultures and tradition in their daily programmes and presentations.
He also urged all and sundry to rise up to their responsibilities of bequeathing our culture to upcoming generations through folklore, video games and cartoons.
“Before formal education our parents are the first teachers and they devote time to sit with their children to tell them stories about animals by using animals to represent human characters.
“So moral lessons or messages from such are `do not steal’, `don’t tell lies’, and `be intelligent’, among others, that is the only form in which they convey moral messages to their children but not recorded.
“But now technology has improved on how to keep records. We must use the medium of preservation of our culture like animation and cartoons so that our children will be familiar with the environment and other things we are acquainted with rather than relying on foreign culture productions,” he advised.