By John Tega
I00 level students of Delta State University, Abraka, in the Department of Theatre Arts, recently presented a drama titled: ‘Old Wines are Tasty’, one of the plays written by Zulu Sofola, a foremost Nigerian playwright at Atscan Hall, Site II.
Zulu Sofola’s ‘Old Wines are Tasty’, dramatizes the travails of Okebuno who came home to Olona in pursuit of his political ambition, but due to his ignorance of the mindset of the local people and their tradition, he met a brick wall.
Speaking to Oasis Magazine (OM) during an exclusive chat, the Director of the production, Dr. Odiri Ejeke, a lecturer in the said department disclosed that the choice of the play was their way of emphasizing the need for Nigerians to embrace their culture which is gradually been replaced by Western values and priorities.
He said: “A lot of Nigerian youths do not know their roots, but know so much about America’s music and slangs and that of Britain too. Our fathers had their own philosophies but they lived very well. Today, people die anyhow, as killings are rampant since its one of the ways to deal with an enemy.
“Our traditions are sacrosanct; we must keep them and know them. There are good ethics in our traditions. It is the ignorance of our tradition that has led to many social iniquities and now you see guys wearing earrings and ladies wearing nose rings.”
Continuing, he said: “The play mourns the loss of our tradition, adding that “we should reconsider our old ways.”
He noted that most of the present political leaders do not derive their power from the people but force themselves on the electorates, saying this is one reason why things are out of place because “some of the present crop of leaders do not have regard for the people and traditional institutions and thus do what they like.”
When asked what Africa would have looked like without colonization, he said the situation would not have been bad, but Africa and Nigeria in particular would have developed at their own pace without the white man’s civilization.
“They imposed their own culture on us,” he added.
On his part, the Associate Director, Mr. Tunde Oliogu, said one of the reasons why cultures are fading away was because many of the traditional stools derive their authority from the state because kingship in many cases goes from quarter to quarter and can easily be politicised, stressing that only Benin Kingdom is exempted because kingship is by birth.
He continued: “Once a king starts playing politics he loses his respect. Look at what happened in Kano and even here in Umukwata Kingdom in Delta State.”
Speaking further, he said: “Modernity has done more harm than good. See a lot of vices like smoking, drinking and cultism. The so-called society celebrates rogues and criminals.
“If care is not taken, our culture will go into extinction in 20 years time. We must be connected to our routes no matter our educational degrees. We need a cultural re-orientation.”
According to him, the family, Ministry of Information and Culture and National Orientation Agency (NOA) should be involved in propagating and teaching our different cultures.
He stressed: “Lionel Messi speaks his mother’s tongue and needs an interpreter in English when he speaks. In China they speak Chinese. Here in Nigeria, if you cannot speak English they see you as inferior person.”