OPINION: Harnessing the Power of Arts and Culture to Tackle Social Ills, Promote Peace and Enhance a Prosperous Africa

The African arts and cultural scene has always been a fascinating view for culture custodians from all over the world since the beginning of time. Despite the challenges of cultural appropriation off the back of social upheavals that have rocked the continent over the past few decades, African culture is still rich in content, diversity, messaging and perception.
With the advent of the new media that has led to the democratization of information, African arts and cultural ideas have become a global spectacle. The sheer uniqueness of our fashion styles, food, artworks and music is widely reckoned with and warmly received by our friends in the global south. Our arts and cultural stakeholders are hitting new pedestals in terms of recognition and career defining collaborations. Africa's arts and culture is now the darling of the whole world.
Back home in the motherland however, our cultural values have not been given the much indulgence that it deserves. In places where they pay attention to culture, it is often used as an aesthetic front rather than a tool for social orientation and repositioning. As we discussed in one of the panel sessions at the Power of Africa Conference 2022, we believe that the messages embedded in our African arts and cultural pivots are potent enough to address many of our social ills, promote peace and enhance a prosperous Africa.
(You can watch a repeat broadcast of the #POAConference22 live on our YouTube page via this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIDD7Bo4-CM)

Culture is the way of life peculiar to a group of people. It is a unifying common denominator that confers certain social characteristics on a particular tribe, clan, kindred, brotherhood or association as it were. It is culture that sustains all other elements of social structure. Culture, which can be identified in various forms is what inspires and charts the course for a social trend or certain dynamic shifts in the behavioural pattern of young people.
A common cliche posits that "if art can not inspire art, then art has failed and if culture cannot inspire culture, then culture has also failed". This invariably advises that our cultural outlook must deliver values that can repair the moral fabrics of our decadent society. The first impressions on contact with our fashion styles, type of music, and all other unique culture identifiers must pass a note of reconstruct, reproof and repositioning to popularize the importance of being a good citizen and useful member to the society.
The African media space on whose wings our arts and culture fly must begin to air the right cultural programmes that can point the direction of our young people towards good tendencies and a honorable career path. Africans must be reminded that there is dignity in labor and that the gods of our land offer a reward to whoever toils diligently according to the strength of his arm.
Our cultural themes should have an underlying intention of creating awareness on the need to peacefully coexist as one people and one Africa. The cultural orientation arms of our state authorities together with the African Union should run with this message and constantly intimate our people with the fact that only under a peaceful dispensation can Africa truly thrive and prosper.
Africa's unity is the strength and hope for a better tomorrow for all our peoples. Our art and cultural displays must cooperate with our strive for a better continent. Our cultural appeal must not lose its essence in terms of shining the light for a better society and championing the course for a prosperous Africa.

Credit: Samuel Adedoyin
Edit: I.G - @iamTolurock