7 Effective Ways to Encourage Cultural Heritage Preservation in Modern Nigeria

by Oyinade Afe

In modern Nigeria, understanding and preserving cultural heritage holds immense significance. According to UNESCO, cultural heritage includes a range of elements like buildings and institutions, carrying varied aspects such as artistry, symbolism, history, and significance. 

This heritage is both tangible and intangible. The former involves movable, immobile, and underwater items, while the latter encapsulates the ways of life. Nigeria, with its rich tapestry of ethnic communities, possesses a wealth of cultural heritage.

Preserving this heritage is crucial, due to challenges spanning from mismanagement of resources to religious beliefs conflicting with certain cultural practices. Guarding against Western influences driven by social status is essential to prevent overshadowing our cultural heritage with Western culture.

In light of these factors, let us explore the several ways through which we can effectively preserve Nigeria’s cultural heritage.

7 Effective Ways to Encourage Cultural Heritage Preservation in Modern Nigeria

  1. Education

Education plays a pivotal role in the promotion of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. It stands as the foundational step toward its preservation. Beyond the responsibility of parents, it requires a collective effort to integrate cultural education systematically, particularly within academic spheres. 

Essential subjects, languages and courses should be mandated, reflecting the richness of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Accessibility is important, ensuring that resources and materials are not only affordable but also readily available. 

This inclusive approach cultivates a generation well-versed in the nuances of their culture, fostering a deep connection that transcends generations. Through education, the vibrancy and significance of the Nigerian cultural heritage can be perpetuated. A collective sense of pride and identity can also be nurtured.  

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  1. Proper management of historical artefact

Effective management and preservation of historical artefacts play a significant role in reinforcing the promotion of our cultural heritage. Unfortunately, neglect and inadequate care of monuments and artefacts have hindered the flourishing of Nigeria’s heritage. Even our museums, which serve as custodians of our culture, often suffer from inadequate management. 

To amplify the promotion of our cultural heritage, a concentrated effort must be directed towards diligently caring for these invaluable treasures. We must prioritize top-tier care for the places and items that symbolize Nigeria’s cultural depth. It’s crucial to hold individuals accountable for these responsibilities. 

By safeguarding and showcasing our cultural heritage with precision, we create an inviting environment that entices both citizens and tourists to explore and appreciate the essence of our history and traditions. This proactive approach nurtures a profound sense of pride and ownership, compelling people to engage with and learn about our diverse cultural tapestry. 

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  1. Fostering artistic contributions and exhibitions

This method entails supporting artists across a spectrum that encompasses fine art, theatre, and music, whose creative outputs contribute tangibly to the preservation and celebration of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. This also extends to the significant role of art curators. 

By implementing measures such as tax incentives for their creations, we can provide a conducive environment that encourages these creators to sustain their valuable efforts in cultural heritage preservation. This strategy not only empowers artists to showcase their talent but also ensures that their endeavours play a key role in safeguarding Nigeria’s cultural legacy for generations to come.

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  1. Child naming

The practice of naming children in alignment with traditional languages rather than solely adopting Western names holds significant potential for promoting Nigeria’s cultural heritage. By encouraging parents to choose indigenous names, particularly first names, we can reinforce a sense of cultural identity from an early age. 

This simple yet profound act serves as a direct link to our heritage, conveying a deep connection to our roots that resonates throughout a person’s lifetime. Embracing child naming as a means of cultural heritage preservation celebrates our unique linguistic and cultural diversity while fostering a strong and lasting appreciation for Nigeria’s rich heritage. 

  1. Traditional ceremonies

Traditional ceremonies like time-honoured rituals, characterized by vibrant dances, symbolic attire, and ancestral practices, serve as a powerful conduit for transmitting indigenous knowledge, values, and customs to successive generations. These ceremonies foster a sense of community unity and strengthen intergenerational bonds, as younger members learn about their roots and ancestors. 

By actively engaging in these ceremonies, communities not only honour their past but also ensure that their unique traditions endure. This in turn contributes to the vibrant tapestry of Nigeria’s diverse cultural landscape.

  1. Promoting tourism

Tourism serves as a potent avenue to foster the preservation of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. By inviting visitors to immerse themselves in our diverse traditions, historical landmarks, and local customs, we create an environment where appreciation and understanding of our cultural legacy flourish. 

As tourists engage with local communities, explore heritage sites, and participate in traditional activities, they contribute to the maintenance and conservation of these treasures. The revenue generated from tourism can fund preservation efforts, ensuring that our cultural heritage remains alive and cherished for current and future generations. 

Through the lens of tourism, Nigeria’s cultural heritage gains renewed relevance, respect, and preservation.

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  1. Traditional food

Promoting traditional Nigerian foods effectively preserves Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Authentic culinary delights, rooted in regional flavours and age-old recipes, provide a tangible link to Nigeria’s diverse ethnic tapestry and past. 

By celebrating and sharing these dishes, communities not only sustain their culinary legacy but also foster cultural identity and unity. As generations savour these time-honoured flavours, they bridge the gap between past and present, ensuring that Nigeria’s unique gastronomic heritage remains cherished and integral to its cultural narrative.

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Conclusion

The preservation of Nigeria’s cultural heritage is a shared responsibility, requiring collaboration between the government and citizens. High-ranking government officials can play a vital role by creating conducive environments for the thriving art and culture sector. 

Citizens can equally participate actively by engaging thoughtfully in places like museums and art galleries. The commitment to promote Nigeria’s cultural heritage extends beyond these examples. What truly matters is our collective consciousness in celebrating our invaluable heritage. 

Together, we can ensure that the vibrancy of our traditions and history continues to enrich our nation’s identity.

Edited by Priscilla Ajayi.

About Author

Avatar of Oyinade Afe
Oyinade Afe
Oyinade Afe is a versatile writer, designer, and filmmaker with a passion for telling stories. With more than 3 years of experience in content writing, she excels in crafting compelling narratives, visually stunning designs, and producing engaging films. Oyinade is dedicated to authenticity, creativity, and inspiring others through her work.

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1 comment

Avatar of Raphael Godwin
Raphael Godwin September 7, 2023 - 4:26 pm

Very insightful. I enjoyed reading the piece.

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