WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR FOLKTALES? (VIDEO) - Welcome to Lumenar's blog


Sunday, 31 May 2020


By Chinecherem Ubaka

"When we were young, our fathers told us tales under the trees in the evenings after we are done with the days chores."

"I usually rush my evening meal so that I can get to Mama Nnekwu's spot early for the evening ilo."

These and many more do we grow up hearing from our parents and elder ones. In those days, folk tales and folklores were amongst the prominent tools for teaching the younger generation native wisdom and wise nuggets for life. 'Ilo' time was also used to strengthen family bonding. Parents and grandparents had the opportunity to bond with their children and grandchildren respectively. Children and youths  had the opportunity to learn about the culture of their people as well as the 'Why' of many customs from reliable sources. Stories had a way of making children feel good. Furthermore, it affects moral judgement in a subtle manner.

So What happened to our folklores and folktales?

1. Migration: The children who listened and learned from these folklores and folktales sought greener pastures in the city and urban areas. Gradually, they began to loose touch with native tales and consequently couldn't pass same to their own kids.

2. Career: The direct beneficiaries of the tales had jobs and careers that demanded most of their time and energy. "Family time" became almost non-existent due to economic pressure, job expectations and physical health of mind and body.

3. Village People turned Evil people: The children who migrated to the cities and urban areas settled there and refused to return back to their hometowns. Suddenly, the village is no longer safe and so there is no need travelling back. When they do, it is each family to themselves. Every person have become suspicious of their fellow extended family members. 

4. Television Came, Cartoons and Video Games landed: Due to the fact that "family time" in most families are non-existent. Parents use the television, cartoons and video games to keep their children busy and entertained. Consequently, gathering around an elderly person for native stories became outdated and archaic. "Who still does that?" have become a cliche.

5. Children have lost touch of their Mother Tongues : City and urban parents fail or neglect to teach their kids their native languages. Thus, even where the elder ones are willing to tell the tales, the kids cannot grasp because they do not understand the local language. Folklores and folktales are better expressed in local languages.

6. We now have the adulterated version: The efforts of media organizations towards bringing back out folklores and folktales are laudable. However, tales are taught in local languages and not in English. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that the adulterated tales are impactful. However, we want our local tales in local languages back. We want our 'Ilo' time back.

N.B: The above 'ilo' session is delivered in Igbo language. This language is prominent amongst the South Easterners in Nigeria.

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