Cultural Ceremonies and artistry date back to the origins of most societies and it remains one of the major means of sustaining and transmitting the traditions of a society from one generation to the next. Accordingly, the importance of cultural ceremonies and artistic performances in the society can not be overemphasized.
In this era of migration from the African homeland to the West and other parts of the world, it is easy to forget or lose the values and tenets of African culture in the bid to "be like," "sound like," "act like," and "live like" those in the society the African immigrants have come to sojourn. Sometimes due to the pressures of survival and the attempt to fit into such foreign societies, the tendency has been for these immigrants to adopt such foreign cultures to the neglect of the cultures of the original society from which such immigrants have migrated. While one should not fault the immigrant for adapting to the norms, accent, or culture of the foreign country in order to survive, much praise should be given to those immigrants who continue to propagate their cultures even while dealing with the challenges posed by such foreign situation and conflict of cultures.
Africans have a rich line of cultural artistry and entertainment such as singing, dancing, poetry, acting, wrestling, fishing, sculpting, carving, acting, stitching, and so on. These are sometimes woven into annual or seasonal festivals and/or ceremonies of various magnitudes. Many African immigrants grew up performing or enjoying one form of these cultural artistry or another, and the memory lingers. Many of these immigrants would want to once more engage or revel in such festivities and celebrations but for one reason or the other, many are not able to make the trip back to Africa or as regularly as they would want. They therefore appreciate every opportunity to witness any African cultural performances while in the Diaspora.
Yet, more important is the fact that the future generation of Africans - those now being born in Diaspora - are being given the opportunity to know about their artistic and cultural heritage. This is because a people or generation without an identifiable artistic heritage or cultural orientation will inevitably suffer from a strange emptiness that could drastically impede the psyche of not only that generation but the ones to follow.
Accordingly, due commendation should be given to all those who sacrifice time, effort, and resources to make African cultural and artistic presence available to fellow Africans in Diaspora. It is the effort of the Mbano Community Inc to spend thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles to Africa to bring the AKUNESI masquerade to the USA that inspired this piece. The association under the leadership of Chief Eddie Iwuagwu and Mr. Richard Ukwuozo deserve special mention. For more on the AKUNESI masquerade or how to engage them for performances at your African events call 347-229-6615 or visit: AKUNESI Masquerade in America.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oliver Oscar Mbamara is an Admin Judge, an award-winning filmmaker, actor, poet, and a published writer. For more on Oliver Mbamara, visit www.OliverMbamara.com