If History Repeats Itself, the 2020s Will Be a Great Decade

~ written by Cody Collins The 1920s, 50s and 90s; what do these three decades have in common? They were all periods of prosperity in the U.S. that came after a major global downfall. Can we throw 2020 in there too? With the events that have unfolded from COVID-19, and the world coming to a halt, it seems like life will never be normal. But in time, life will go back to “normal,” even if it is a new normal. In “recent” history there have been several examples of crises affecting most of the world. And COVID-19 is no different. But in those instances of crisis, prosperity followed, especially for the U.S. Take a deep breath, if history repeats itself , everything will be alright. The 1920s: Pandemic, Great Depression And War Everyone knows of the Roaring Twenties. The 1920s were filled with glitter and extravagance. The turmoil before this prosperity was two-fold though. Many hoped WWI would be the war to end all wars. That is how devastating and involved it was compared to wars past.

Roots| Not knowing your native language in Nigeria

remember that day like it was yesterday. I was stressed out and just sat out in the veranda with the comfort of my dog just trying to relax. Then I heard this bang at the gate. With a frown, I got up to go check who was disturbing my blissful moment. 

Here comes this guy around his 60's. He said he had worked here some time ago and while he was still telling me why he came, out of the blue, he started conversing in my Igbo dialect. 

 I don't speak Igbo, so it was really nerve-rattling for me... It wasn't the first time but that never stopped the feelings of illegitimacy in some sense.

To cut the long story short, while he was trying not to embarrass me more by deflecting back to our dialect... He just blurted out this question. Are you not Okonkwo's son, why can't you speak... And before I could utter a word... He emphatically, with a tone of finality said- You've lost your Roots!

How did it happen?

Back in the days, we used to speak in our native dialects without any form of a hindrance, it was the only way we knew how to communicate and we were proud of it. It brought to us a sense of connection( in the immediate community anyways), it was our identity and it was our culture.

But then the white men came and brought along religion, technology, and a new language-English. And English became access to technology and knowledge from the white man. It became the access to a better life and freedom. 

Everyone wanted their kids to be like Mr. Kehinde's son who just came back from Cambridge and now has several government offers and jobs. Parents began teaching, encouraging, and making their kids learn and read in English schools...taking them out of the rural settings. We all wanted a better life. 

Have we really lost it?

Yes and No! 

 It's a complete no brainer, yes we've lost it. We no longer have the fluency in our language or potency in the settings of our culture. Most children grow up without having any knowledge of the back story of where we come from except the rare holiday visits to go greet Mama once a year. 

And parents fail to pass what they've had for years, their heritage, which gives them pride and a deeper connection to their clan and people; They fail to pass down to their kids the basic ability to speak their own native dialect by not even speaking it at home anymore.

But I say No because fast-forwarding 60+ years since our independence and we have a country that's now more connected to the global scene and resources like never before. We have scholars in every field, our kids are making records in ivy league schools. 

And tech! we have elevators in buildings, electricity-producing glass (solar panels), and flying metallic birds (airplanes) which we would have ascribed to witchcraft in the past. 

Also in Nigeria, many people identify more strongly with their ethnicity than with the state, people are viewed and view themselves above all through their language. This can prove to be very negative because, while languages create a sense of belonging, they can also be exclusive, divisive, and create stereotypes. 

But now, we have the pidgin language, a subcategory of the English from the failings to fully capture the words of the English language initially.

Pidgin is known mostly to Nigerians. It has that same communal feeling of being able to connect with one another more deeply, and what's better is that everyone understands it. It's now even more widely accepted with top international brands like Google and BBC. It is more deeply interwoven with music, art, media, publications, and every facet of our daily lives. It preserves the embodiments of the Nigerian culture and it's a language we made ourselves from what was given to us. When we speak pidgin, it hits home base.

Where do we stand

We will always have within us a connection to our culture. Even without speaking, It is seen in our accent, our behaviors, and our preferences with choices we make every day.

Speaking in our native languages and passing it into the next generation will always be dependent on personal values and what each person feels he needs to pass down to the next generation. Parents and guardians will also be the most influential members in this sphere. 

You can choose to be like Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie, a decorated English writer who speaks to her daughter at home in her native Igbo language. Paraphrasing, she said, "I need to give her what she needs basically, English can come later on". 

Like I said it comes down to values. Personally, I would like to see more of that attitude. I don't think any parent should deny their child of their heritage and being able to speak their native dialect... Why give them a disadvantage in an already competitive world. 

They need to understand their world better from different perspectives. Information and Knowledge is power; we can better get that knowledge through a better understanding and means of communication.

But while I feel the preservation of our native culture is good, I don't think it is right to question anyone about their validation to where they came from, simply by not being able to speak their dialects through conniving looks and questions. I'd like to see someone say, oh you can't speak Yoruba, switches to pidgin, and enjoy that same connection without making the person feel like half a man or an outcast.

They say it may help us to get connected and have special treatment in high places- Nepotism; but I say what if we never needed that in the first place. Is that not what has turned our country upside down... Corruption here and there with people favoring 'who you know' to 'who merits the position'

CONCLUSION and the end of my story

I cannot tell you how his statement made me feel.

  I retorted, "No, I've not. I'm still a Nigerian. Not being able to speak the dialect I come from doesn't make me any less of a Nigerian than you are."

 He said it again, "Yes you have."

And then I said, "Our generations are different. What it meant to your generation, how important it was is not exactly the same for us."

 Seeing I wasn't budging and that this discussion will not just only be fruitless but limit his chances of finding his tools- which was what he came for, He changed the topic quickly.

In conclusion, I compare this whole discussion about roots to a tree. A tree has the roots, the trunk, branches, leaves, and flowers in some cases. You would never know that a flower is related to the roots with the colors and the appearances if they were cut off and placed side by side. They seem so different and far apart....they serve different purposes. And none envy the other or try to laugh or talk down to the other in any way because they know how connected they are. Without the other, they can't function properly. 

As the roots stay below to give the tree support and as it grows and rises above to greater heights, so does its appearance change, turning into something more beautiful. Let's cherish each other regardless of our cultural disposition and makeup. We all belong to one single tree.

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