Ritual and identity construction in Nigerian Igbo video films: a call for policy implementation
Video films are a reflection of the human society. They encompass the language, rituals and beliefs of a given society. Through the treatment of these variables, a statement is made about the people’s culture. Against this background, video films that showcase the language and social attitudes of the Igbo people are seen as a reliable means of image-building for them. This study, therefore, examines the ritual content of Wipe your Tears vis-à-vis the treatment of such rituals and the image they create for the Igbo people. It appears there exists an imbalance in the portrayal of Igbo people and their rituals. The characters in the video films in focus engage in rituals only for malevolent purposes, especially for the attainment of individualistic ends, to the detriment of collective goals. This paper argues that such portrait of the Igbo people is not only lopsided but also violates the idea of Presentation of Culture, as enshrined in the Nigerian Cultural Policy. The study, therefore, calls on relevant authorities to enforce the policy of Presentation of Culture to the letter. In addition, it encourages video film makers to exercise caution in the manner in which they deploy rituals in the construction of the people’s identity. Even when a particular human folly is being satirized in a video film, there is need for a balance. This would underscore the fact that rituals also serve salutary purposes in Igbo land.