How AAPOLY students are bridging the gap between cultural differences in Africa

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AAPOLY students

The colorful display, choreography, and drama engulfed the hall atmosphere at the Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic Student Union Award Day held on the 10th of August. The dance drama with different cultural artefacts and attire brought everyone together and revealed some cultures that have not been consistently pronounced, all these tailored towards bridging the gap between cultural differences in Africa.

Africans are diverse in terms of physical appearance, languages, dialects, and cultures. There are in the region of 1,500 different languages and dialects spoken in Africa, however, with the world of competing cultures, African tradition and culture are gradually going extinct. In a 2022 report published by The Guardian, the founder of Idoma International Carnival, Chief Edwin Ochai, noted that Nigeria and Africa at large have beautiful cultural heritages but they are gradually fading away.

The students representing Akwa Ibom culture

With this reality, mass communication students of Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic (AAPOLY) are gradually bridging the gap between cultural differences in Africa and exploring the beauty of different African cultures.

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“Through the Traditional African Communication (TAC) day, students have been able to explore different cultures and the traditional ways of communication”, said Adeoye Saidat, the lecturer in charge.

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TAC Day is a yearly traditional project drawn from the Traditional African Communication (TAC) course in the Department of Mass Communication.

Adeoye noted that the 2023 edition of the TAC day, was held on July 27th, 2023, with the realization that many students have lost their cultural sense and the majority find it difficult to identify with their cultural heritage.

Cultures of Ijeegba (Ijeegba), Egypt, Akwa Ibom, Kanuri, Benue, and South Africa, were all displayed during this period.

“What brought about this is that many students have lost their cultural sense. The majority don’t know what their cultural heritage is or the culture they belong to. Even the foreigners have taken over the richness of the African culture and that is why it was decided at the department that the program will take place yearly.” Adeoye said.

How The TAC Day Is Organized

Students are being peered into groups with different cultures. They do research, and undergo training, with a major focus on the food, mode of communication, attire, languages, and colors of those cultures.

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AAPoly students representing South Africa Culture

“We give them various cultures across African countries and peer them in groups. After being worried about how to go about them, we had traditional sponsors that stepped in. He trained the students through the singing, dancing, and demonstration aspects.

“Some students chose different cultures and on TAC day 2023, we saw different exhibitions, different meals, attires, etc. I realized there is something about this program that I need to take to another level and that served as an eye-opener.

For 2022 day, the students were divided after taking the theoretical aspect into 5 groups and the groups were Ghana, Edo, Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba.

“The reason we had to do that is, we have embraced the Hausa culture during 2021 and it came to my notice that in northern parts, it is not only Hausa culture that we have. We found that the Fulani culture is different from that of the Hausa culture. We decided to embrace the Fulani culture to see how it works.” Adeoye said

How TAC Promotes Diversity

AAPoly students representing Ijegba culture

Students are able to identify different cultures, learn them, and demonstrate their uniqueness. TAC has been enhanced to inform students who form a part of the grassroots society about the beauty of African culture and the need to embrace its diversity.

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Adeoye noted that the majority of students from different backgrounds fell in love with different cultures and “we were able to achieve the point that every culture is beautiful in their way”.

“They were also able to realize that there is richness and uniqueness in every culture. They also discovered some foreign delicacies are traditionally made, especially shawarma. We discovered that shawarma is an Egyptian snack and that is one of the cultural diversity we are talking about.” Adeoye said

Adeoye while commenting on the continuity of the project said plans are already ongoing to ensure TAC 2024 is archived. She also called for support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and also traditional rulers and organisations.

“We have planned that some of the gifts gotten from 2023 TAC day will be used in getting traditional instruments for TAC 2024 so that when we have some of these items on ground, it’ll enhance our program. We will also be needing the support of traditional rulers and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism” she said.

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