Africa! A land of passion and creativity is (in my opinion) the most amazing continent on the earth. It’s culture, music, art, literature, and traditions have provoked interest and respect throughout the world. How have we, the citizens of Africa payed due this respect? Have we forgotten the essence of our culture and its style whilst getting ultimately used to this modern (or a more western) lifestyle?
Our generation has become accustomed to a new type of fashion and, perhaps unwittingly, we have forgotten and pushed aside our very own to some extent. At times its seems that we only recall our cultural attires at family functions, when we are told to buy ‘Aso Ebi’s’ for a traditional marriage ceremony, or a Calabar costume for the Calabar Carnival. Handmade beads have never been pushed aside or not admired, neither has our art and fashion been looked down on in times of exhibitions, so why should we Africans deny them ordinarily?
Just like the ‘Green Scarf’ in the movie ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic ‘, a touch of what we represent in the form of beads, bags or other accessories added to our wears can add a unique touch to the clothes we wear everyday. The last Calabar Carnival held in 2013, was tagged “Pornival”. This was as a result of the massacre of the original carnival costumes. Women especially, wore attires that barely depicted the African style of the Calabar people, because they preferred to wear their very short skirts, with cleavage maximising tops. One could hardly find the time to breathe in those costumes. The Calabar Carnival used to be a sort of event where all participants were very proud to represent their culture with dignity.
It is not that we do not love our culture and what we represent. However the lifestyle of this modern era we live in has expanded our everything, including our type of fashion. The impact it has on the younger generation of Africa is concerning. If we do not teach this generation to love their own culture, there will be very little of it left to preserve. Change and modernisation is good, especially in fashion. But rather than abandoning our own culture to make room for one alien to our own let’s find a way to combine the new with the traditional.
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AUTHOR: Aniebue Linda Nwakaego