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Forgetting Igbo

Nkem Ifejika examines the fall and rise of Igbo, one of West Africa’s most widely spoken languages.

Nkem Ifejika cannot speak Igbo, the language of his forefathers. Nkem is British of Nigerian descent and comes from one of Nigeria's biggest ethnic groups the Igbo. He is one of the millions of Nigerians, who live in the diaspora - almost 200,000 of them living here in Britain. Nkem wants to know why he was never taught Igbo as a child and why the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Unesco, has warned that Igbo faces extinction in the next 50 years.

Nkem travels to the Igbo heartland in the south-east of Nigeria to explore the demise of a once proud language. He discovers that recent history has had profound effects on Igbo culture and identity. He discovers too that some Igbos are seeking to reassert their language and culture. Part of this is a resurgence of Igbo identity under a new 'Biafran' movement. Is this likely to find traction or will it ignite painful divisions from the past and lead to renewed tensions across Nigeria.

(Photo: A young boy in Nigeria)

Available now

27 minutes

Last on

Sun 1 May 2016 10:32GMT

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