A lot of Igbo individuals and organizations in the United States have made quiet efforts to instill Igbo culture in their children.
These efforts have been as diverse as
- Speaking Igbo to their kids at home,
- Telling their children Igbo stories,
- Bringing their children to Igbo Land, Nigeria once a year (expensive),
- Sending their children to Igbo Land, Nigeria to attend secondary school,
- Organizing Igbo events where breaking of the kolanut (Iwa Oji) is observed.
- Organizing Iri Ji festivals (kudos to the Mbaise cultural association in Texas, which has done an inspiring job)
- Organizing Igba Nku (Igbo traditional wedding) for their kids.
This is heartwarming to hear. But still disturbing is the fact that practicing the Igbo language in such multicultural environment where Igbo is not a major language is a challenging task for the kids.
But this is a battle we cannot afford to lose. I challenge Igbos to fund more Igbo language programs in the US.
I call on Igbos to fund the study of Igbo language in at least one US university.
The truth is that the economic practicalities might stop many children from frequently coming down to Igbo Land, Nigeria, where they can easily get immersed in Igbo language.
The Bonny Igbo Example
But, we should learn from the Bonny people of Igbo descent.
During the Transatlantic Slave Genocide era, when many Igbos were captured and taken to Bonny for possible trading to the Americas, they soon formed an Igbo dialect called Bonny Igbo.
Bonny Igbo was so advanced that the first Igbo Bible was actually written in it. Yes Sir.
That Igbo Language May Flourish In The US
To succeed, Igbos in the US need to do more to fund Igbo organizations.
Igbo websites and blogs have to create more Igbo language content and courses. Igbo philanthropists have to push this forward.
Our language must not die. It must be passed unto the next 10 generations. Amen! Issee!