2021 Cultural Day: BMGS Challenges UNESCO Prediction of Igbo Language Extinction

…Launches ‘OBU-ECHINA’, an Igbo Language Magazine

By Chioma Ndife

It was a total display of Igbo Cultural heritage geared at promoting the indigenous language and the way of life of Ndigbo at the podium of Bubendorf Memorial Grammar School, BMGS, Adazi-Nnukwu, as the school reintroduced cultural day celebration last held in the school in the 80s.

The cultural day celebration which witnessed the launch of ‘Obu Echina’ a magazine with all articles written in the Igbo Language, commenced with a concelebrated Eucharistic Mass presided over by the Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, on Sunday, July 4.

Fides gathered that the cultural day was organized in a bid to challenge the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO’s prediction of the Igbo Language’s extinction between 2025 and 2030, by putting together activities that would project the cultural heritage of Ndigbo.

The cultural day featured many cultural activities,  which included musical performances, cultural dances, drama and coronation of Igwe BMGS in the person of Igwe Chigozie Akalaugo and launch of a magazine.

Speaking on the essence of the event, the School Manager/Principal, Rev. Fr. Theodore Ekwem, stated the need for the revival of Igbo culture and cultural heritage.

He regretted the level of decline of Igbo Language and called on all the stakeholders to join forces in bringing to life the dying Igbo Language and culture which UNESCO had forecast its extinction.

He disclosed that the Holy Mass which kick-started other activities was fully cultural in the sense of language, musicals and liturgy.

He explained that the School Management, through the Music and Art Center Project, hoped to project the indigenous art and music of the Igbo people to the entire world and expressed optimism that the students could develop their talents in the area of Indigenous music, art and literary writing, as such would help in reviving the dying Igbo cultural heritage.

The School Manager maintained that the school had great interest in projecting the Igbo Language and revealed that the School had published a magazine titled, ”OBU ECHINA” with articles all written in the Igbo Language. He stated that the launch of the magazine would challenge every other lover of the Igbo Nation to come up with activities and ideas on what to  be done in order to preserve the rich cultural heritage.

‘We have great interest in Igbo culture and we have begun by putting up an Igbo magazine and it is a challenge that UNESCO has thrown to every lover of the Igbo Nation that the Igbo Language will go into extinction between the year 2025 and 2030.

‘Today we have gathered to challenge that prediction and ensure that it does not come to life. So one of the things we did today is to see the good sides of Igbo cultural heritage and challenge people to begin to appreciate that,’ he concluded.

Earlier in his homily at the Eucharistic celebration, Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye emphasized the great importance of the Igbo Language in the liturgical celebrations and encouraged the students on the need of appreciating their language as it gave identity to any individual, saying that one without a language had no identity.

He revealed that Igbo cultural values played an integral part of harnessing an individual’s way of life and making such a person conform to the accepted norms and ways of life.  He disclosed that culture had a lot of role to play in assisting society to maintain order and enhance peaceful co-existence among people.

Fr Ekwem, regretted that some young Igbo people tended to be ashamed of speaking the Igbo Language as a result of the cliché attached to the language and expressed the hope that If Italy could use their language as the official language, then Igbos could also do the same.

The cultural day celebration and exhibition of arts attracted notable schools in Anambra State, as well as individuals, who came to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Ndigbo.

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