The Ancestors exist in memoriam. Speaking their names and honoring the earthly contributions keep them alive. Pouring libations in their memory binds them to us. The elevation of Ancestors from the living to the spiritual is practiced all over the world. The Europeans honor their ancestors in stone sculptures, in their churches and in their places of business. The Chinese have special places dedicated to their ancestors. The Native Americans safeguard items used by their ancestors as sacred and items to be studied to learn about the past, and hand to their children a bit of themselves to celebrate.
Africans had this reverence for the ancestors. Unfortunately, the advent of foreign religions on our shores has convinced Africans that their ancestors do not matter. That it is a sin to form any commemorative and revering attributes to them. The destruction of our African artifacts (those not stolen to sit in the European museums) has rendered our history something to study as a footnote in world history, only worth preserving to understand “The archaic way of life of the primitive people.” By accepting this premise, we rebuff ourselves and find little significance in African things.
Many African homes have little African artifacts in them and African guests are shocked when they visit a home with African art pieces as “Ulo Ekwensu” (The devil’s lair). Yet they have no qualms gracing their homes with European ancestors (Leonardo De Vinci, and such). Ask them to name one great African artist of world fame and they give you the deer in the headlight gaze.
This is a global world….we know this. The task we have as an African people world wide is to lift up our things, get the indispensable honor for being conservators of our own past and give our Ancestors the dignity and honor they deserve. In this way we gain an atom of respect and shed the cloak placed upon us as the descendants of “Those who should be forgotten!”
Otito Nile Diri Chineke!