I travelled to Baltimore this past weekend as an invitee to an event sponsored by PILA. It is a dawn of new era in the Igbo Diaspora as PILA inaugurated Igbo Language School in Baltimore. This historic event took place on 25th June, 2016. Many people came to show their support for this noble initiative. Among the organizations that graced the event includes Igbo Council of Traditional Title Holders (ICOTTH-USA) led by their President Chief & Lolo Stanley Onyedum, and ICOTTH Founder, Chief Dr. Hyacinth Nwachukwu, other ICCOTTH USA members present includes Chief Alex Ike Okeke, Chief Francis Ogbankwa, Chief Kingsley Ngameduru and many others. Nze na Ozo USA Organization of Baltimore, represented by their President Nze Okey Okigweh and Anambra State Organization chapter ASA-USA were also present as well as CISA represented by Dr. Edward Nwachi President of CISA, along with Chief Emeka Nwosu, CISA Treasurer, and Dr. Ujunne Akpuaka. Many other influential leaders in Washington DC, Maryland, Baltimore City and Virginia too numerable to list were also present to support this event, including Nwanedinemba represented by able Ada Odibeze Nkiru Onyema, the Queen mother of Frances Udukwu, reigning Miss Africa USA, Ada Nkechi Alinta was there as well as the talented Gospel music singer Ada Ngozi Igwe. Ngozi in her traditional Igbo costume performed Egedege dance with PILA Children (Click on Photo for an enlarged image)
This event illustrated that Ndigbo are very interested in supporting Igbo Language and Culture initiatives. The Chairman of the event (name withheld) set the pace with a donation of $3, 000 and he spoke very passionately about the need for Ndigbo to protect their Igbo Language and culture. (Click on Photo for an enlarged image)PILA’s school children took the center stage with their Igbo cultural clothing beads and walking canes. What I saw in these children is a great interest and enthusiasm in Igbo culture and language. They were the loudest voices heard when ever Igbo Kwenu is proclaimed. These new generation of young Igbo children all born in the USA illustrated great hope for Ndigbo. They understand Igbo language and some indeed speak Igbo language.
The MC spoke Igbo to them urging every one to settle down, and all of a sudden there was quiet in the hall as each and everyone of the kids understood what he said in Igbo. But better still there was this child, perhaps about 11 months old sitting on a baby stroller near where I sat. When ever Igbo Kwenu was proclaimed, this baby kicked his two tiny legs forward and made some hand gestures and acknowledged with some voice response as well. I watched in amazement at first not sure what this baby was reacting to until repeated Igbo Kwenu was proclaimed and he repeated his previous actions. Later on I narrated this
PILA Founder Mrs Kanayo Ntukogu(Click on Photo for an enlarged image)
remarkable observation to PILA founder Mrs. Kanayo Ntukogu she told me that the baby is a member of the PILA school and is often brought to the PILA class by her mother. This is a heart warming story and indeed there is hope for Igbo language survival even in the Diaspora as Ndigbo continue to embrace our language and culture.
The Next Diaspora Igbo Initiative is coming up soon.(August 5-7th) Don’t wait for the story, be there to experience History. We the inheritors of the great Igbo Civilization have resolved to do whatever it takes to keep our great language and culture alive. We will win this fight, come and join us, as we seek for ways and strategies to achieve our goals and objectives to keep Igbo language and Culture thriving for Posterity!
Don’t miss the upcoming Igbo Language Preservation World Festival and Iri-Ji Festival scheduled at Prestigious Coppin State University in Baltimore Maryland. This is a festival with a purpose to find ways to preserve and propagate Igbo Language and Culture. Guests are coming from many countries including South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Europe and more.
Written by Mazi. Okechukwu Oranika (Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date of Event: August 5-7th
Venue: Coppin State University
Event Coordinators for Mbulite Asusu Igbo na Iri Ji Cultural Festival (Igbo Language Preservation and World Cultural Festival) Baltimore Maryland, August 5-7, 2016 can be reached at:
Chief Stanley Onyedum, National President, 443-983-3558
Chief Laur Onyekwere, Chairman of the Planning Committee, 410-241-1360
Chief Francis Ogbankwa, Director of Social. 202-568-5031
Chief Alex Ike Okeke, Communication Director/PRO. 443-845-0452
Chief Hyacinth Nwachukwu, Founder/Patron. 410-402-3934
Prof Paul Oranika, CEO African Business World. Event Coordinator- 770-401-5008