Poetry, strong tool for preserving our cultural heritage – Chukwumerije

For more than three hours, celebrated poet, Dike Chukwumerije, held thousands of theatre goers and literary scholars spellbound when he hosted a show tagged “Evening of poetry for theatre production”.

Held last weekend at Oakland Event Centre, Enugu, the show which was done in collaboration with Radio Nigeria Enugu, covered 102 years of Nigeria’s history presented in different genres including poetry, songs, music, book reading and scintillating drama.

Dike, scion of late Abia senator, Uche Chukwumerije, described the event as “a made in Nigeria show” aimed at reviving the nation’s cultural values and re-establishing the nation’s history in art forms with a view to forging a common bond and unity among new generation Nigerians.

“It is possible to use poetry and literary works to sustain our values and history; yes you can use it both writing in English and talking about your culture and your situation or even writing in your own indigenous tongue, which is even stronger.

So poetry is a very strong tool for preserving our cultural heritage. “I wanted to use poetry to draw socio-political attention and pass cultural messages especially the history of Nigeria in a way that it will be interesting and engaging.

The theme is that in spite of our contradictions, in spite of our problems there are some benefits in staying together as a country.

“I see a lot of potentials in Nigeria as the greatest black nation on the face of the planet. I am just saying that yes I know things are difficult, yes I know that we have had a tortuous history, but the things that bind Nigeria together; the belief, the ideals; I think we should try to uphold that vision,” he said.

Chukwumerije promised to repeat the show in Enugu and the South East in general in order to sustain Enugu literary society and promote reading culture in the zone.

The Zonal Director of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu network centre, Mr. Ike Okere, described the show as “proof that poetry is life; that poetry is action; that poetry is not that dry academic exercise that we do in schools and universities.

And that with poetry you can actually create a change, you can actually get people thinking and that you can actually get people to take action”. According to him, Dike has proved again that the origins, the root of poetry lies in music, in dance and in song.

“Combining all these elements, he has created a wonderful, a show that has kept us for two hours, applauding on our feet, a show that beats any musical video you can think about or indeed any movie in any cinema house,” he added.

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