You are not a Benin Man By Osasumwen Precious Ekunwe (Mrs)
Girl in a jacket Girl in a jacket Girl in a jacket

You are not a Benin Man By Osasumwen Precious Ekunwe (Mrs)

I won’t blame this on colonization. It's high time we Benins woke up from our slumber and stop blaming the colonial masters for enforcing their language (English) on us during the colonial era in Nigeria in the 19th Century. 

It baffles me when I see how we have completely lost it all to the so called civilisation. Our cultural values, norms and traditions are gradually fading away. 
You call yourself a Benin man, yet your kids wake up in the morning and greet you like a westerner. 

I grew up knowing that whenever I see an adult, whether in the morning, afternoon or evening, as long as I am meeting them for the first time that day, I will greet them LABVIEZE. That is my family's salutation. Every Benin family have theirs. Some adults don’t even know how to respond when greeted in Edo while others will respond or reply with “Good Morning“.What a shame! 

As if that is not bad enough, the “Westernized” Benins came up with “Thank you” to replace our after - meal greetings which is ERHE GHI GBUE and KADA. Note: Erheghigbue is used only by females and KADA by Male folks).

The truth is Modern Benin parents do not see anything wrong in the westernized greetings in Edo probably because they don’t understand the significance of the family salutations in Benin.

Parents fail to realize that when their children greet each other in their dialect, they are identifying with their roots. So even when they are not fluent in speaking the language it gives them a sense of belonging, a feeling of being 'at home' even when they are far away from home (Diaspora).

The Edo Family Morning Salutations (Ukhu na tue vbe Edo) is dated back to the ancient Benin kingdom. Family Salutations (Ukhue gbee ) was effective for Identification. Even till date one can easily identify their relatives through "Ukhu na tue”. When a person greets his or her “Ukhu'' people can easily tell the family they are from. Also, people could easily identify non indigenes or slaves in their midst in ancient Benin.This form of salutation is only peculiar to the Benin People as it tells the stories of the people. 

Why let this beautiful Heritage go into extinction when it can be preserved and engraved in our hearts? The names and stories of our forefathers are written in our hearts and passed on from generations to generations through our salutations.

 Is it not possible to embrace civilization and still sustain our cultural values? Civilization is not a fight against our culture but rather a push for advancement and development. 

A true Benin man will raise his children properly by inculcating in them our Benin cultural values which makes us peculiar and unique in the human race. 

Let's join hands together to save Edo and make it great again.

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