Continuing this month’s VSM(Voice & Soul of Millennials) series on culture, I was particularly interested in finding out how millennials currently identify with their traditional culture. I explore this concept in an enlightening interview with well known Nigerian model and blogger Cassie Daves.
It’s no news that Nigeria, Lagos in particular, which was once the capital city is very westernized. In this current phase where the world is indeed a global village, just how much of our culture do we maintain? Are most societies slowly becoming homogeneous? In a climate of change where nationals in the diaspora are quick to call out on appropriation, just how much of our cultures and mother tongue are we really holding on to?
Here’s one millennial’s view. Enjoy!
S: Please introduce yourself.
C: My name is Cassandra Ikegbune, I’m a Medical Doctor, a model and a fashion & lifestyle blogger.
S: What does culture mean to you?
C: Culture is the way of life of a certain group of people. Or isn’t that what we were taught? (laughs). I believe it’s our way of life, how we think, the food we eat, the things we do, what we wear, things that just encompasses everything.
S: Do you identify with firstly, being a Nigerian or of a particular ethnic tribe?
C: I’m a Nigerian first; and I’m Igbo from Anambra state.
S: Do you speak your ethnic language?
C: A bit, I’m getting there.
S: Do you understand it when spoken?
C: Yes, very well.
S: Do you not speak it fluently because you weren’t taught as a child?
C: No, my mum and dad actually still speak Igbo to me now, but I reply in English. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Lagos.
S: Was it ever enforced that you learn?
C: No, it wasn’t.
S: Were you taught other cultural things in regards to your tribe?
C: Food I guess. But the main cultural things, not really… like marriage rights, and some other things I don’t know about.
S: Do you think Nigerian culture is dying?
C: I think so because I’ve spoken to some of my classmates, mostly Igbos(I think Yorubas still try to hold on to their language) who can’t speak their language and are not interested in teaching their children. Our generation is actually not interested, that’s how bad it is.
S: Why do you think that’s the case?
C: I’m not sure, but probably it’s because the parents aren’t enforcing it. And when you don’t grow up learning it…
S: How do you think we can go about preserving our culture?
C: I think it starts from the family- the mom and dad enforcing it, speaking it and teaching you about things. Also visiting your hometown as frequently as possible if you don’t reside there. Visiting definitely helps.
S: Do you think there’s also a Western influence causing the decline?
C: Yes, obviously it is. Especially these days with media and the likes.
S: Do you think it has more to do with things evolving and the world now being more technologically advance and that we’re getting more homogeneous or is it just because we want to live a Western lifestyle?
C: Things are definitely evolving, also seeing through social media how things work. Especially for the younger ones.
S: What do you think about future generations and the sustenance of our culture?
C: I think it’s going to be terrible. I’m not sure how it would work because I can’t really speak Igbo, so I don’t know how I’m going to teach my children. And if they don’t know, how then can they teach theirs?
S: As a Nigerian blogger, what do you think about digital influencers and how does social media affect it?
C: I think blogging in Nigeria is getting there. This year especially, there has been a growth of digital influencers. Social media, especially Instagram which I use a lot helps as a platform because people are able to see you and what you’re doing and can embrace the idea of blogging.
S: As a millennial immersed in the digital world, do you think it’s important to try to preserve your culture?
C: Yes, I believe it’s important.
Having these type of conversations with enlightened people was the inspiration behind the VSM( Voice & Soul of Millennials). It’s great that thanks to the internet, we can now all share ideas and experiences across geographical borders and landscapes. So if you ever feel alone in your thoughts or beliefs, know that there’s someone else like you out there. The mission of this series is to bridge that gap, connect like minded people and inspire others.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview on culture and it’s allowed you to think more about your own culture.
Let’s hear your views! Is culture in a decline? Are we all getting homogeneous, and is that a good or bad thing?
Please do share 🙂
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In terms of language, I feel at a time it was seen as “local” to speak your local language. We wanted to speak English. I think culture is being revived though, through music- where you can hear Yoruba, Igbo and pidgin English. Our local dressing and food remains very prominent in people’s lives.
You’re def right! Once upon a time as is still the case too, speaking our language was frowned upon. Thanks to artists as you’ve mentioned and a new thinking generation, our love for ours is growing and evolving. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
Talking about our local language, most parents failed to encourage their kids to speaks their local language, most especially those who live overseas.They failed to understand the fact that their kids will be taught English at school,they will communicate in school with their teachers,peer groups in English Language. The only place they get to learn about their culture is home,from their parents. We embrace other peoples culture and forget about our own heritage, this i find irritating. Great interview tho.
I totally agree with your sentiments. We must take more pride in our culture and heritage.
I actually feel so terrible that I am not as fluent in Igbo as I am in English. I envy those who are and sometimes I am angry that my parents did not enforce speaking Igbo at home. Many of my cousins do and whenever we gather I try my best to join the conversations in Igbo. It’s quite sad honestly. It makes me very sad to see how quick we are to dismiss our own culture to pursue another. We are killing our identity! Now, I tell my parents to speak to me in our language. the only time we speak English is when we’re texting. I also ask my grandmother to tell my some of the traditions she remembers.
Yh it’s sad the decline of our interest in our culture especially something as important as language. Shows the continued effects of colonialism. It’s def killing our identity as you said. Thanks for contributing to the discussion. I hope our generation can do better for ourselves, family and country.