See How Igbos And Whites In Diaspora Built Mud Houses To Celebrate Igbo Culture
Initial topic: Igbos In Diaspora: The 21st Century Most Devoted Promoters Of Igbo Culture And Language
I must confess without reservation that the most current promoters of Igbo culture are those in diaspora, mostly United States of America. How do I mean?
Check their names one after the other, you hardly see them adding their English name. Not that it is bad to have English name, but they have seen that white men take no glory in taking African names. Again, their culture could be lost. Name is culture. Culture is identity. When you mention Ebuka as your name, people think of Igbo; Gbenga goes for Yoruba; Adamu goes for Hausa; Archibong goes for Calabar/Akwa Ibom, etc. But when an Igbo person bears Gentle James, his identity is lost. Only his language could be use to trace his identity. Worst still, if he doesn't know how to speak.
Igbo parents in diaspora endeavors to give their children Igbo names. I applaud that..highly commendable. Even when they have English names, they endeavor to add their native names. All my Igbo-American born and bred in my friend list here are doing great regarding this unlike most Igbo youths in Nigeria who have not cross River Niger like me. The young girls opt for change of name against their parents wish. Nneka Okwueze will now turn to Celine Dion Anderson Kings. Speak Igbo, problem. Speak English, problem. They coil their tongues backward towards their uvular to speak English and end up fooling themselves. If you touch their mouth: "I cannot speak Igbo. There is no need speaking Igbo. Where will Igbo take you". If those ones happen to be writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who despite her world achievements represent her Igbo culture through her name and works, they will change their name to Amanda Wannabe Dick Linda.
Those in diaspora are ever ready to learn. They are humble enough to ask questions. Even those young ones born there are striving to recollect with their language more than those aforementioned "Ndị-ọcha-nna-ha-dị-oji" living in Igbo land who do not know neither good English nor pidgin. I called such ones ụsụ. They neither belong to the flying creature nor earthly animals.
The young Igbos in diaspora have created a lot of groups amounting to 25k members, 14k, etc for connection of Ndị Igbo wherever they are to discuss not politics but language, people and culture. Such groups include: Umu Igbo United (UIU), Igbo People Connect (IPC), etc. Igbo youths are participating fully and contributing quotas to the sustainability of Igbo language and preservation of culture. I admire this young ones.
The Igbos in diaspora saw the need to preserve their culture for posterity, they bought lands in Virginia, USA and build an Igbo Museum. It was not done by a single person, but collectively. There is unity and all hands on the deck in preservation of our culture and self-consciousness for the generations unborn. If you ask why didn't they build it in Igboland as you are used to questioning every action, what have you done by yourself to restore and preserve the Igbo culture? Oh stopping your kids from speaking Igbo?
Have you seen that those in diaspora took along with them their family members, all participated in pudding of sands and other works. The participants came from different States in America to ensure this work is done. From the pictures below, I am spotting the mighty friends of mine on Facebook and others: Prof Emeritus Ichie Akuma-Kalu Njoku (Ọhamadike Ndiigbo), Aghadi Vic Nwọra, one of the greatest journalists, Africa ever produced; Prof. Chimah Korieh, Dr. Kanayo K.Odeluga, Dr. Chinyere Ogeluga, Nneka Obasi, Dr. Ejike Obasi, Dr. Amara Enyia and her twin, Dr. Onyinye Enyia- Daniels, Nnabuenyi Chukwuemeka Chinemelu Anigbogu, Uju Ezenwa (Uju Bekee) and Dr. Nkuzi nnam.They worked tirelessly to ensure that this dream came to reality.
Each year, Festivals are held here. Masquerade will run. Children, adults, neighbours, blacks and whites attend to watch Igbo culture in display. Drums are beaten, dancers, Igbo young ladies appear in display, wriggling their beautiful waists to the rhythm of the drumbeats. Children are made to participate in Igbo reading. Now tell me, where in Igboland is this taking shape presently?
I am highly commending Igbos in diaspora for their keen supports for the advancement of Igbo language and preservation of our culture. It is because of encouragements I am getting from Igbos abroad that wired in me more zeal to be creative in preservation of our identity through writing. If I should mention their names here, my battery will go flat.
Igbos in diaspora, I love and appreciate your self-sacrificing spirits. Keep the good work. I am really working on things to nurture and make you and your offsprings feel at home wherever you are. We are together. One-day-one-day, I go sail through River Niger come join the Igbo Festival Event in Virginia. Ọ bụrụ ma ọ ga-eme, ọ ga-eme.
Written by Okoro Mark Ogbonnaya (Maazi Ogbonnaya)