Saturday, March 9, 2013
Education in Ibo
While I have yet to finish Things Fall Apart, I have yet to hear mention of an ordered system of education within Ibo society. Education in Ibo society seems to focus on learning through observation. Learning is done within the family- Okonkwo teaches Ikemefuna how to act as a patriarch. Ekwefi teaches Enzimna how to act like a typical Ibo women- how to carry food to her father, and Okonkwo in turn chastises Enzimna for unladylike behavior. There is no need for the children to be "literate" because as far as I can tell there is not much use for the written language in Ibo society. It fascinates me that imperialism completely restructured almost every facet of some cultures, including education in the Ibo culture. By the time Achebe went to school in Nigeria, a formal education system was brought about that allowed him to become the successful person in the Western world that he is today, however, his education does not seem to be the old fashioned typical Ibo education found in his book. This is a wonderful example of how Achebe bridges Western and African culture.