2022 BSC Cultural Festival Exhibits Rich Igbo Culture, Unique Qualities
By Chukwuemerie Anyene
British Spring College (BSC), Awka, had last Saturday, during this Year’s Cultural Festival, celebrated the rich culture, craft, art, and unique qualities of Igbo society.
The school had gathered at the open arena, under canopies decorated with palm fronds, and other local colour that depicted the refined local settings. Music of high-profiled Igbo Artists was playing. Minds were lifted, interests were equally aroused, and mood – that of thanksgiving for sustenance, it was an oral tradition.
The school saw the culture of their host community as well-organized with religious and socio-political functions. The event, which lasted for one week, showed that Igbo was almost a nation of dancers, musicians and poets. The school sought to extricate this generation from the cultural slumber and dogmatic, unreflective, passive existence to active participation and asserting truth about their world. BSC leadership had since set up a cultural committee and grouped their artists, experts and students into four houses, namely Nnamdi Azikiwe House, Herbert Macaulay House, Mary Slessor House and Lord Lugard House, to make the event historic.
These houses were identified by blue, green, red and yellow colours respectively.The dramatic display in the early morning assemblies between Monday to Friday, heralded the festival. The houses took turn to reenact Igbo belief system such as breaking of kolanut, prayer, division of labour, justice, respect for elders, New Yam Festival and thanksgiving. The basic values of Igbo society restored were aimed at reconciling the past with the present culture, creating understanding and a sense of balance.
Speaking to a gathering of the BSC Community at the school open arena, the Principal and Representative of the Director of the College (Lady Uju Dike), Mr K. Cent Obi, said the essence of the BSC Cultural Festival in the school was to exhibit the rich Igbo culture such as how to greet, dress and behave. According to him, it was of utmost importance for students to imbibe native sense, in addition to writing and calculation.
He recounted how the school had mapped out daily assembly, to herald the cultural event. The School Centre Administrator also praised the Igbo race, saying that Igbo people were known all over the world for wisdom, skills, courage, progress, development, and being at the forefront of whatever project they embarked on. Mr K. Cent, who dressed in ‘isi agu’ Igbo attire, on red cap, was seated with other Senior Management Team of the institution – Freedom Iwara, PhD (Head of Administration); Chike Nnamdi, Mr (Head of Pastoral); and Kenneth Nwoye, Mr (Academic Supervisor of Junior School). He finally urged everyone at the festival to stay calm and learn the Igbo ways of life.
Remember Igbo people all over the world and everyone living in Igbo land. Prosper our students, as they grow to uphold our culture. Strengthen our Director, Lady Uju Dike, in ensuring the welfare of BSC staff, and providing a conducive learning environment for BSC. Give our Principal the wisdom of Solomon to steer the affairs of this school. Accept our kola,” he prayed. “I see,” the school chorus.
The principal of BSC was also in consonance with the kola nut prayer. “Ofo soro be ya lee oh!” he also prayed.
The kola nut ceremony later turned out to be a sort of competition among Igwe and Lolo of the four houses. It was keenly contested. Hundreds of students formed their entourage in the Cultural Parade.
They walked round the scene, in a grand style, ‘isi agu’ and other elevated Igbo attire – cameramen taking their pictures now and then. The climax of the 2022 BSC Igbo Festival came with the native doctor concept of drama in the procession, which went with both rhythmic movements and acrobatic displays. In what played out, the cultural actors were seen carrying clay pots in their hands, with other totemic symbols, before a supposedly chief priest. Smoke coming out of the pot and the pot bearers created a scene.
The king then stepped out on the stage, with staff in his hand, said to represent justice and truth – ‘ofo na ogu’ in local parlance. He moved around the stage in the company of cabinet chiefs.
Towards the end of the festival, Mary Slessor’s House broke into joy, being the overall winner of the 2022 BSC Cultural Festival. Herbert Macaulay and Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Houses both emerged as first runner-ups, Lord Lugard’s House was trailing them.
There were also a fashion parade, and dance and drama contests featuring this event of great value. The performance of each house, made available to the BSC information desk, was 20 points.
Mary Slessor hit 5, 10, 20, 20 and 15 points, in the parade, drama, dance, Igwe and Lolo respectively, which placed them at 70 points. Herbert Macaulay bagged 15, 20, 10, 10 and 10, with a total of 65 points. Nnamdi Azikiwe garnered 20, 5, 5, 15 and 20, totalling 65 points; Lord Lugard had 10, 15, 10, 5, and 5, and their total score dropped to 45 points. As an agent of socialization, the school also went beyond the house-based contests, to get everyone to fit in as art lovers. Other things to remember at the festival were the local delicacies served during refreshments. They included tapioca, palm wine, ‘anara,’ fish and vegetables.
Recall that BSC, as a school, had okayed Wednesday as a cultural reaffirmation day, by way of traditional dressing. BSC students had also been making inroads into arts and crafts. In the last academic session, a Year 9 Emerald student of the school (now in Year 10 Emerald) presented an artwork to the Director of the College.
Her Fine Art Subject Teacher, Mr Emmanuel Orlu, was also there to make the presentation. Indeed, BSC is becoming a place of Art and Culture.