Promoting Cultural Heritage: Imbibe the habit of speaking Ijaw dialect – Engr. Pondi

•Our cultural festivals not barbaric – Hon. George Ekpemupolo

A call has gone to all Ijaw sons and daughters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, and the Ijaw Nation at large to embrace Ijaw cultural festivals as that remains the best way of promoting and protecting the Ijaw cultural heritage.

Engr. Kestin Ebimobowei Pondi stated this on Friday 22nd December, 2017, while in a chat with GbaramatuVoice correspondent at the venue of the just concluded Amapinade annual festival celebrated at Okerenkoko town in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

He explained that Ijaw cultural festivals are important because they are unique to the Ijaw people as they are not what other people are familiar with, hence they should be imbibed by all Ijaw sons and daughters.

Adding context, he explained that the reason for inviting people to the town to celebrate with them is to expose the Ijaw rich cultural heritage to them.

Engr. Pondi also lamented the challenges facing the Ijaw language as well as the influence of religion, in what he referred to as a tool that was left by the oppressors which are unconsciously being used today by the people to enslave themselves.

In his words, “As I am talking to you, we have children that cannot speak Ijaw language; do you know why? Because we were colonized by English imperialists and they taught us how to speak their language.


“They even took our people into slavery. They even taught them their religion, their way of life as better than ours. So, today our children are imbibing their ways of life. We unconsciously are also making our children to speak the language of our oppressors,” he alleged.

He then asked rhetorically, “Must we oppress ourselves? The oppressors have gone but they left behind a tool called religion, for us to oppress ourselves. Must we use it to oppress our languages and our cultural heritage?”

He observed that the annual masquerade festivals are branded fetish here but queried that such festivals in places like Lagos, “Don’t Christians attend it? Why are the Ijaw Christians so primitive that they refused to know that there is a difference between culture and religion?”

Proffering solution to this impasse, Pondi insisted that the solution is for all to imbibe the habit of speaking their dialect with their children in the home consistently in order to encourage the young ones.

Pondi opined that people should try as much as possible to avoid speaking the foreign language to their kids when they are at home, even though the foreign language has become the mode of communication both in school and at home.

“Let us speak our dialect to our children in the house and allow them to speak whatever language they grow up around them with their peers and learn English in school. It is going to do us a lot of good and it is going to not enslave us more,” he added.

On his part, the immediate past Chairman of Warri South West Local Government Area, Hon. George Ekpemupolo said the purpose of the Amapinade festival is to bring together all sons and daughters of Okerenkoko community.

The former council boss finally reiterated the need for the Ijaws to be proud of their cultural heritage and not see it as fetish, a misconception that has dominated most peoples’ mindset.


Support Quality Journalism in the Niger Delta Region

Join us in our mission to bring development journalism, cultural preservation, and environmental awareness to the forefront. Your contribution makes a difference in the lives of the people of the Niger Delta. Donate today and be a part of the change!

Leave feedback about this