By David Adejuwon
A U.S Based Non-Governmental Organization, DuniaFore Foundation recently screened the popular Afro-centric movie, Black Panther to children of Traditionalists in Osogbo, capital of the State of Osun.
Screening of the movie was part of grand finale of the NGOs annual month-long summer class tagged Asalaye Academy; an initiative that, enriches traditionalists children with academics while emphasing pan-African awareness and pride in African culture.
The Founder of the NGO, Dr Nzinga Olabisi Metzger, who is an African-America Anthropologist with Sierra Leonean origin, told reporters that her passion for the emancipation of African Traditional Religion made her setup the annual academy which held in classrooms provided by the Araba Awo of Osogboland, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon.
The “Asalaye Academy” project according to Dr Nzinga seeks to bridge the gap by giving a sense of belonging to Children of Traditional Worshipers who are condemned in the curriculum of western education which centers only on Islam and Christianity.
The academy for the past four weeks trained 125 children of ages 7 -17 in Osogbo, capital of the State of Osun, feeding them, providing instructional materials and tutoring them in courses geared towards re-awakening the consciousness of traditionalists values embedded in the religion and also motivate the children to pursue their futuristic dreams without minding the social stigma on them.
Olabisi said “There is a kind of societal colouration to being a traditionalist. We have discovered that the normal school curriculum in Nigeria does not create a space for the Traditional religion to be learnt as we have in the two religions brought by missionaries to Nigeria.”
“We are also trying to establish the Pan-Africanism in the values of the traditional religion on them in a bid to change the idea of backwardness and illiteracy associated with the traditional religion and its worshipers. The curriculum also opens the children’s minds to the history of their continent fusing it with the current trends in the Global space.”
“So far, some of the students have the full knowledge of the African continent, the countries, cultures and tradition. They have also been taught how to become self-reliant and pan Africanists. What has excited me more in all of these is the ability of those participants who have been able to learn more and become better traditionalists and contributors to their society.”
With 2 years running, Metzger expressed her readiness to cover the South West States in Nigeria with efforts to expand Asalaye Academy to Sierra Leone and bring cultural focused programming to other places in the diaspora.