Welcome to WENEFF 2020!
I’m delighted you appreciate WENEFF 2020 and thank you for stopping by to see what this festival has to teach us about those old philosophies, principles, practices we should not only restore but also should pass on to our children.
Many of you are realizing how wise our ancestors were. For those who share my ethnicity, “Igbo”, you would agree with me that the signs of time are seriously beginning to tilt to the danger zone and the manifestations are not looking good at all. For me, I feel a great sence of urgency to advance the legacy of great men and women before me, this includes those of my parents, Dr. & Mrs Inyang Mecha.
Dr. Inyang Mecha hardly received credit nor recognition for all his years of hardwork in teaching, research study, and consultancy. Not only did it seem like all he labored for was in vain, but also, it is frustrating to see others claim credit for his work like those years of hard work didn’t matter.
I, Dr. Ezi Mecha, stand on the shoulders of my father, mother, and many parents in the university community where I grew up … These were Prof. Ilogu, Prof. Achufusi, Prof. Achebe, Mrs. Ntukogu, Dr. Ogbuehi, Prof. Ifemesia, Prof. Awa, to name but a few. These were men and women of integrity. They did so much work and were renowned in their areas of discipline. However, I struggle to find any museums or platforms that told and continue to tell of their hard work to the younger generations in places like schools, churches, cultural associations, etc. In fact, there appears to be a disconnect between generations and each time any of them passed on or fell on hard times, they were quickly forgotten and some tell of them as if they failed. In fact I remember the popular saying “He died poor”. What has this got to do with the tea in China? I often ask myself.
This is constant reminder of how much the pursuit of money or other cultural practices in lieu of ours has become the thief of cultural preservations among descendants of African ancestry. It’s like a mirage with a grime of hope for recovery.
Should we then say that the center of the African heritage’s fabric is caving in for failure of letting certain things that matter disintegrate to the point of falling apart? How then do we fix this? Where do we start? How worse is it? Do we have time?
What broke the camel’s back for me was when a dear friend asked me if the small micro animals, the Nigerian dwarf goats originated from America. Initially I brushed the question off thinking my friend was joking. However, when I was led to the website of an American 4H-Club where the information was written in bold letters, that the Nigerian dwarf goats originated in America, I startled in disbelief, wondering what impetus the site owner had to make such a claim. How can they say “Nigerian Dwarf Goats” originated from America? Well the answer’s simple. That information was not archived. Is it my dad’s fault or the fault of the university leaders that were once cajoled, almost against their will, by a United States visiting professor, into sponsoring a grant so that he, my father, can continue his novel approach of taking students to the farmers? My father literarily came up with the “Take The classroom to the farmers concept in animal husbandry”. I have, in my house, piles of manuscripts of his works, which should be historic exhibits. They should be displayed in the institution he thought in and museums around the country as a novel work, as rightly stated by the foreign examiner. However, there’s no museum, no repository, managed, and maintained with that information. In response to my inquiry when I was old enough to understand the magnitude of his work, one of his students who once occupied a high position in the ministry of Agriculture in Nigeria told me that his work is old wasn’t needed today. The nerve of him, I thought.
How is it then that western children are more knowledgeable about these goats than children of African descendants? Why are Americans appreciative of these goats and use them as pets and Africans in America know nothing about them, not even African Americans?
It is a documented fact that there were less than a 100 of these goats in number in America roughly 3 decades ago but now they are used as pets in America, to the point of claiming America origin. As a child growing up, I watched my father spend years investigating, classifying, analyzing, and identifying these goats (their origin, colorization, size, characteristics, etc.). I remembered how many western researchers showed up at the doorsteps of my childhood house inquiring about these goats. With all the manuscripts about his research in my possession, unpublished, uncredited for his work, and starring at a wrongful claim on the origin of these goats, I know that many social groups have lost their stories to those with the loudest voice. The saying that “If you don’t tell your story others will tell it” has never been so true. Many stories have lost their significance, origin, etc., just because the original owners had no ways of telling their stories. Well, thanks to folklore festivals like this and WEN-mULTI-CULTURE magazine platform, WEN CAN HELP TELL FOLK STORIES.
It is sincerely my hope that this folklore festival and our magazine will help connect the past to the present for the future and serve as a platform of inquiry, research, and education on diverse heritages, especially those of African ancestry.
Dr. Ezi Mecha
Founder & CEO
World Ebony Network