Culture is important for our liberation. The following two articles by supporters of Socialist Labour consider two aspects of our common culture.  The first considers the importance of music, especially Reggae and Afrobeat, and their links to African liberation. The second considers the historic loss of artistic skills with the example of the Benin bronzes (many of which still hang on a wall in the British Museum).

All our varied cultures, both historic and those of certain sections, like the youth, are important for our sense of worth. We need to preserve the historic skills of our craft people, our varied musical cultures and also, for example, our local languages

Reggae Music, African Liberation and Good Governance

By Usman Binji

Reggae music has played a significant role in promoting Pan-Africanism, patriotism and good leadership in Africa. The music of Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, and other African musicians has inspired many Africans to fight for their rights and demand good governance.

Reggae music has also been instrumental in promoting African liberation and decolonization. The songs of Bob Marley, in particular, were powerful messages of hope and resistance for many African youths during the struggle for independence.

The lyrics and rhythms of their music spoke to the experiences and struggles of African people, and helped to create a sense of solidarity and unity among them. The music also provided a source of hope and motivation for those who were fighting for their freedom.

In addition to its political and social impact, music can also have a positive effect on mental health and well-being. Listening to music can reduce stress, improve mood, and promote relaxation and mindfulness. Playing music or singing can also be a form of self-expression and a way to connect with others.

Certainly, Fela Kuti was another African musician who used his music to promote social and political change. He was a pioneer of the Afrobeat genre and his music was known for its political commentary and criticism of the Nigerian government.

Fela’s music was a powerful tool for activism and he was known for his outspoken criticism of corruption and oppression in Nigeria. His song “Zombie” was a scathing critique of the military and its brutal tactics against civilians.

In recent years, there have been a number of Nigerian musicians who have continued Fela’s legacy of using music as a tool for social and political change. Artists like Burna Boy, Falz, and Naira Marley have all used their music to address issues like police brutality, corruption, and inequality.

For example, Burna Boy’s song “Monsters You Made” addresses the legacy of colonialism and the impact it has had on African nations. Falz’s song “This is Nigeria” is a powerful critique of the Nigerian government and its failure to address pressing social issues.

 These musicians are part of a larger movement of young Nigerians who are using their creativity and activism to demand a better future for their country. Through their music, they are raising awareness about important issues and inspiring others to take action.

It is important to note that not all present-day African musicians are glorifying love and social vices. Many contemporary African musicians are using their music to address social issues such as corruption, poverty, and inequality.

It is up to all Africans, including musicians, to work towards a better future for the continent. By promoting positive values and speaking out against injustice, we can all contribute to building a brighter future for Africa and contribute to building a brighter future for all.

The Ride Through Benin With Culture

By Ipogah Michael Irobodu

It was some months ago. We had finished from an education summit in Benin City, a city known for its depth in culture. We were four of us. We decided it was going to be cool to witness the cultural past of the ancient Bini kingdom.

Our first point of call was the Palace of the Oba, where the present King-Oba Ewuare 11 –  rules from. We were taken through a rich cultural past. The lectures on Benin history were nostalgic. The glorious past was recalled with chills .We were told how past Obas founded places like Dahomey and Lagos. The influence of the Bini Kingdom was inspiring. We left the palace of the Oba with a deep sense of awe and reverence.

Our next place of interest on this cultural tour was was Igun, a place known for its craftsmanship in  bronze casting. We were able to shop for the authentic crafts men. We met an elderly person in this wise. He painstakingly took us through another phase of the richness in Benin culture.

The Binis in distant past could give shape to metals in artistic forms. The historical documentaries of the kingdom was found in its rich bronze at Igun. The Oba, we were told , commissions the bronze casters for historical purposes. The bronze culture was a library of sorts. Every important date and event was documented through bronze casting for the palace. Then there were no commercial interests. Ironically, and painful too, these were some of the loots carted away by the British soldiers during the invation of 1897.

We listened to the narration of how the bronze is cast with mud. The use of honey wax to help create shapes for the molten bronze. We were shown the heat section where the bronze is cooked. The finishing stage too that gives the final aesthetics

It was indeed great to learn about the historic culture of our land.

However, there was the obvious and palpable near extinction of this craft staring at us as we listened with rapt attention to the narration.

Our narrator lamented the gradual death of the trade. There was the evidence of a forlorn shop. Fire has not been lit for years to cast bronze. When we probed as to the reason why this is so, we were told that the children that ought to have carried on with this craft have been lured to other more lucrative professions.

Our narrator told us his sons, that would have taken over from him, are now lecturers in the universities. He said other interests have taken his children away from the family tradition of bronze casting. l think this is the gradual erosion of our concrete past found in the bronze. Urgent action needs to be taken to address this situation immediately. If this is not done, we are at the peril of losing whatever remains of our culture.


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