The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo has again stressed the need for traditional institutions in the state to champion the cause of rekindling the interest of the youth in folklore culture.
The call is in a bid to preserve the intangible cultural heritage of the people in the face of globalization.
Speaking against the background of World Folklore Day 2022, with the theme, “Igniting the Interest of the Youth in Folklore for Sustainable Development”, in Yenagoa, Mr. Kiyaramo commended Governor Douye Diri for approving the recruitment and training of 270 indigenous language teachers and the teaching of indigenous dialects in both public and private primary schools as part of efforts towards rekindling folklore culture in the state.
He explained that “folklore”, which is part of the intangible cultural heritage, being transmitted from generation to generation, “is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and history, providing them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus, promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity”.
Kiyaramo maintained that intangible cultural heritage can effectively contribute to sustainable development, economically, socially and environmentally, with a view to meeting the requirements of peace and security, being the fundamental prerequisites for sustainable development.
The governor’s aide further noted that “folklore” being the authentic expression of a people, embraces the traditions, legends, customs, music and dances, among other expressions that distinguish one culture from another, pointing out that, though transmitted orally, intangible cultural heritage is broader than one individual’s own skills or knowledge.
Kiyaramo said the cultural heritage, passed down from our parents, must be preserved for the benefit of all, stating that in an era of globalization, sustenance of our rich cultural heritage will go a long way in helping the youth to acknowledge our cultural diversity, just as the proper understanding in harnessing intangible cultural heritage will enhance mutual respect and renewed peaceful dialogue amongst different cultures.
He emphasized that intangible cultural heritage refers to the “practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills, as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith, that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.
The SSA added that “the importance of intangible cultural heritage is not just the cultural manifestation itself, but rather, the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next.
According to him, the social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a state, saying that cultural heritage is important for developing states as well as for the developed ones.
According to UNESCO, “Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, defines intangible cultural heritage or living heritage, as the mainspring of humanity’s cultural diversity and that its maintenance is a guarantee for continuing creativity.
Recall that UNESCO proclaimed that World Folklore Day be celebrated every August 22 to commemorate the day the British scholar, William G. Thoms coined the word “folklore” in a letter to the journal Athenaeum.