Just few hours ago, we had Halloween, the world knew about it ! that is Western culture .Culture essence of people and what identifies, defines and explain a set of people , all over the world, people are packaging their culture to attract the much needed tourism and the attendant development that comes with it, but back home, the new found religions will look down on our culture calling it fetish and diabolical and focusing on the foreign religion or culture. What these set of pundits are missing is the concept of packaging. Like everything in life, packaging matters and culture isn’t an exception. We must package ours to the world just like Halloween is packages to the world .
What is wrong with us is packaging. Oyibo go wear clothes like a ghost and celebrate Halloween with joy but African man no go fit celebrate ordinary new yam festival with ikeli-ụdọ without being accused of worshipping idols.
Oyibo go wear a man custome and call him Santa Claus or Barney, telling children that it came from outer space or something. Parents and even pastors go take their children to play with Santa Claus or Barney and collect gifts from outer world from them. But our people go dress up a man and call him Ajọ-ọfịa or even Ada-mma or Ekpo-ori-mai-mai and claim that it came through an ant hole, even though we can see the two legs and hands and voice that show that it is a human being that is inside. But anybody who goes near it to play with it or even watch it is called an idol worshipper playing with evil spirits.
It is time to watch the Western world, learn a few tricks from them, and repackage our mmọnwụ as entertainment, drop all funny stories about them coming from the land of the dead, stop barring children and women from getting close to them, stop them from using canes to chase people away, stop all the stories about them having charms that can make a man pregnant or not defecate for a month, etc.
Let us demystify our mmọnwụ and turn it to pure entertainment like the Western world has done.
I wanted to laugh recently when I heard the music of Ajọ Ọfịa Nnewi speaking English and quoting the words of different writers and philosophers. It sounded like an abomination for Ajọ Ọfịa to be singing in English. But when analysed, one would see that Angus the man behind it is thinking ahead. Angus is a fan of Achebe and copied one of his songs from the words of Ogbuefi Nwaka in Arrow of God. Everybody knows that it is not a spirit that is behind Ajọ Ọfịa but Angus. So why can’t Ajọ Ọfịa speak English once in a while?
Christianinty is strong in Africa and Nigeria. If we want our cultural troops to be accepted by the majority, we must demystify them, repackage them, remove all the restrictions, remove all links and stories about them coming from the land of the dead or being spirits from the underworld, make it possible for women to have their own mmonwu, etc.
Agunze Azuka Onwuka