Effectiveness of traditional means of communication in ishieke community
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Communications are varieties of behaviors, processes and Technologies by which meaning is transmitted or derived from information. The term is used to describe diverse activities. Communication is at the core of our humanness. How we communicate with each other shapes our lives and our world. Human beings rely on their communicative skills as they confront events that challenge their flexibility, integrity, expressiveness, and critical thinking skills.
Communication involves different forms which includes the intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, public, mass communication etc all these are different ways/means through which we interact, associate, communicate, relate, share ideas, views, opinion, information, norms and values with ourselves and others. Communication is regarded as the life blood of human existence which rapidly enhances unity that leads to the development of our society at large.
Communication both modern and Traditional means has promoted peaceful co-existence, understanding and self-awareness among human beings. Both modern and traditional means of communication have certain common elements that together help define the communication process. In communication there must be individuals who are involved in the dissemination of the message and at the same time receiving the message in order to make it lively and effective. In communication things are done simultaneously (sending and receiving) if we were just receivers, we would be no more than receptacles for signals from others never having an opportunity to let anyone know how we were being affected, if we were just senders, we would simply emit signals without ever stopping to consider if anyone is being affected but if we were able to achieve our goals of communicating it simply signifies that there is an effective communication between the sender and the receiver at the same level.
A message in communication is the communication itself. A message is the content of a communicative act. Everything one does with his/her body, or with other medium such as what we talk about, the words we use to express the thoughts and feelings, the sounds you make, your gestures, our facial expressions and perhaps even our touch or smell all communicate information, this is to tell you how effective communication can be, it involves our every second activity/actions. There is no communication without a message being passed across.
In communication a channel means the medium/means through which the communication is being passed/disseminated. We are regarded to be multi channels communicators. We have different channels through which we communicate both in the urban and rural areas (settings) which helps to proffer a better result of what is being sent. In the context of communication, noise is anything that interferes with or distorts our ability to send or receive messages. Noise could be semantic factors such as uncertainty about what another person’s words are supposed to mean.
Communication always takes place in a setting. Every communication starts from somewhere, there must be a setting that helps to make it real and natural and even acceptable.
In communication, whenever we interact, communicate with one or more persons, we receive information in return. In communication we have positive feed back and negative feedback. Positive feed back which could come from the heterogeneous audience or rural dwellers as the case may be enhances whatever behavior is in progress. It encourages us to continue with our information/attitude. In contrast, negative feedback extinguishes a behavior; it serves as corrective rather than a reinforcing behaviors.
In communication, as people communicate they are changed in some way by the interaction which in turn influences what follows. These effects could be as a result of exchange of influence. Communication always has some effect on you and on the person or people with whom you are interacting with. An effect can be emotional, physical, cognitive or any combination of the three. Without all of these elements communication can never be complete and its effectiveness is withdrawn.
Communication has various functions in our lives based on our daily activities; communication helps us to create an understanding and insight. It allows us to understand ourselves and others at the same time creating an insight into ourselves and others, this is because when you get to know another person you get to know yourself and you learn how others affect you. Communication also helps us to create a meaningful relationship between ourselves and others; the level of communication between us and others determines the level of our relationship with them. Just as we need water, food and shelter, when we do not communicate we become disoriented and maladjusted, and our life itself may be placed in Jeopardy.
Communication also helps to influence and to persuade others, making the people around us to be able to do things the way we do, believe in what we do, Exchange the same culture with us. And whenever people are being influenced by our idea and belief it means that our goals have been achieved.
According to Gamble and Gamble (2002) communication works, seventh edition, Remarks that………
“Communication gives us the chance to share our personal reality with persons from our culture, as well as people from different cultures”.
Communication takes the same shape whether we live in an East Coast Urban area, a southern city, a desert community, in rural area, a home in sunny California, a village in Asia, a plain in African or a town in the middle East, we all engage in Similar activities when we communicate. We may use different symbols or rely on different strategies and desire different outcomes but the processes we use and the motivations we have are strikingly alike.
However in a bid to promote communication, various government of the world have among other things been constructing roads, purchasing equipment and training personnel for any meaningful development to occur in Nigeria and Africa in general. There should be equal participation of both urban and rural settings of the society. One way of achieving this is through the utilization of traditional communication media in conjunction with the modern mass media. Therefore, revival of our communication media is one of the steps in bringing about economic and social development in the rural setting of our country Nigeria.
The desires of information about people and events, the satisfaction of news hunger stimulated by war or rumors of war, the necessity to spread information about political and religions decisions as well as threats to security, the need to stimulate and strengthen the sense of identification with values and objectives of the society, need of awareness of the authority structure and to generate and identify loyalty to those in power, all these were answered by the indigenous media form of communication.
Anthropologists looking at human communication and development tend to focus on its central roles in continuation of a society through the communication and development of significant symbols. The concept of honor, bravery, Love, co-operation and honesty are embodied in language and other symbolic behaviors that create and sustain belief in ways of acting because they function as names signifying proper and obvious ways of expressing relationships.
During the late 1900’s and early 2000’s the concept of culture became a focus of study in many academic disciplines including that of communication and development. To social scientists, culture means people’s beliefs, customs, inventions and technology. Cultural studies of communication began attracting interest in Europe in the 1960’s and 1990s it soon gained supports worldwide. Cultural critics like Raymond Williams and Stuart Hall and other scholars in the United Kingdom developed this approach that focuses on how the contemporary communication media shape people’s understanding and action.
The revival of our culture as a whole is necessary because it will enhance overall national development of our Traditional Artifacts as channels of communication. Communication is the exchange of ideas and each society has its own communication culture to reach its people. Every culture should not be by passed; hence the interest in studying the traditional means of communication to see their communication development systems becomes imperative.
When coordinated with modern ways of communication, news becomes more effective those various assertions are challenging and inspiring and the social sciences researchers in this area stood up for the challenges and inspirations. They have at least come up with various studies in African traditional media of communication which were unfortunately treated at the periphery in the past. The negligence was caused by lack of foresight, lack of fund, man power and interest. Such studies are now necessary because of the need to diffuse current international and national development program in rural areas which accommodate more than 70 percent of Africa’s population. Such programs include family planning, oral dehydration, war against indiscipline, and corruption, operation feed the Nation of Obasanjo’s previous government, Directorate for food, Roads and Rural infrastructure (DFRR), Better life for Rural Women, MAMSER, WOTCLEF and other innovative ideas. The World Bank Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) various festivals of Art are Epitomes of cultural reformation. The Traditional media of communication should be elevated by every citizen of this country both the government, individuals and more especially the Journalists who only pay mush interest in the foreign means neglecting the fact that the traditional media of our communication in this country is the grass root of their profession. They should endeavor to promote these various traditional media of communication without emphasizing so much in the modern means by visiting various villages, communities etc more especially to know how the various traditional media of communication are being co-ordinated for the promotion of our cultural belief which enhance unity in the rural area that leads to the development of our communities and country at large notwithstanding the modern means of communication, since the dawn of civilization for millions of years ago, every societies growth, survival and continuity depends on among other things a system of communication through which people could exchange ideas and feelings; an economic system for the production of goods and services; a health system to counter disease and ensure human reproduction; a socio political system to maintain control and order and a defense system to protect their territories against external aggression of all these essential requirements of society, the system of communication formed the mainstay of all the other systems, which came to depend on it for effectiveness.
These various traditional media of communication basically includes the following;
Oral Tradition- Oral Tradition is one of the most important media through which Nigerians interact/communicate with their people. Okam (1987) notes that long before the introduction of Roman, Arabic, Amharic letters and scripts in Africa, tradition in the form of history, cultural values and heritages were handled down by word of mouth in the form of songs, proverbs legends, religious liturgy, ballads and invocations. They are passed on from people to people, from generation to generation, from area to area and become legendary and immortalized with the passing of time. Oral tradition dominated all other sources of information exchange in pre-colonial Nigeria. Oral tradition helps in sharing knowledge of environment, interpretation, explication of events occurring in society from a cultural looking glass, Transmission of social heritage from one generation to another, socializing new members and also entertaining the community/society at large.
The Town Crier- This is another traditional media of communication. The voice of the town crier or village Gong man is usually heard in the early hours of the morning preceded by the sound of a gong. He announces important meetings, ceremonies, messages and imminent troubles.
Ugboajah (1985) sees the town criers as “a significant village “broadcaster’ who summons the elders for decision and policy making for the progress of the society. They relay their decisions to the village masses for implementation: The town crier is always loaded with news which serves as traditional communication link between the legal head and the villagers. He is being regarded as the society’s journalist. The effectiveness of the town crier usually lies in his oratory skills and thorough knowledge of the community norms, values and heritages.
Among the Igbo’s he is natively called “Onye Ogene”. Among the Hausa, he is the “Mai Shela”; he is usually selected by the Sarki or the village head, the “Mai Shela” is being revered as a holy man whose announcements are never doubted. One of his major duties is the announcement of the date and time for the new moon, which signifies the beginning of the Ramadan Festivities.
Among the Yorubas, he is also the “gbohun-gbohun” whose duty among others includes announcements of the celebration days for the Egungun and sango religious festivals and among the other various ethnic groups in Nigeria, he occupies no less credible and authoritative position this relevance exists in today’s Nigeria.
The Talking Drum- The talking drum is another traditional media of communication which helps in developing the rural communities, the talking drum is an extension of oral tradition. This talking drum is also regarded as the “Ekwe Ikoro” in the Igbo communities, the Talking drum reproduce the tonal pattern of a sentence in the proper sequence and can be heard over a very long distance. The talking drum serves for two-pronged communicative functions: Official and social functions. Officially they are used to call meetings, for making some official announcements, at sacrificial ceremonies and also for pumping the Adrenaline during wars. Socially they provide gaiety during festivities and ceremonies like new-Yam festivals, weddings, and chieftaincy title taking; they also provide the atmosphere of suspense and tension during war and wrestling matches.
Age Groups Age Groups are old institutions that comprise mostly males within the same age-brackets-usually those born within one to five years age range. The Age Groups helps in getting things in order in the society in which they belong. The name of age groups are derived either from the name of their patron or father. The Age groups carry out community development project which include the cleaning of the source of water supply the building and maintenance of roads and bridges, village squares, Assembly houses and deity shrine; the execution of laws and decision of the council of elders and the linage or village assembly, including the collection of dues and fines, the punishment of crime and the burial of the dead. The age group also helps in educating the young groups about the traditions and needs for the maintenance of their culture. Ifemesia (1979)
Ivory Horns and Long Brass These produce notes that can vary in length and tone, they are used to communicate long messages and herald important events. The long brass horn are mainly found in Northern states of Nigeria while the Ivory horns are found in the south East states of the country where they have also becomes states symbols of titled men.
Smoke Signals – Smoke Signals are almost nonexistent in modern Nigeria. Previously, one of the earliest communication patterns between distant communities, they were used to exchange information based on agreed codes. The essence of smoke signals is underscored by an Igbo proverb that says, “Any message sent through smoke must reach to the heavens surely and clearly.
The Open Market- The open market always remains one of the most powerful and important institution in Nigeria. It is mostly located in or near a village/town. The village markets have a cycle, which may be every Four-Five–days interval; town markets are open daily. Notwithstanding the fact that the market functions as the economic nerve center, it has become a beehive of all sorts of communication activities. The open market serves as a natural infrastructure for multi directional dissemination of news, opinions and rumors and is important for agitation, it provides a forum for “adherents of synergetic religions to propagate their faith, politicians to solicit the votes of the common people, the open market also offers one of the few opportunities for communication to move from community to another”. In many Nigerian villages, murderers and thieves are paraded and humiliated on market days where also one can see newly weds, new fashions, newly born babies, new products and new traditional dances, new products and masquerades. Ike S. Ndolo (2005).
Finally, MCBride et al (1980) advised……
“Policy makers and communication practitioners should find a formula to preserve the relationship between traditional and modern forms of communication without damaging the necessary march towards modernity”.
These are to signify how effective the various traditional media of communication works for the development of our society.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the Communication processes especially as regards to modern mass media such as the print and the electronic media seem to be marginalized due to several factors. In spite of these factors, traditional Artifacts could be positively exploited and utilized to meet the needs of rural populace. However the harnessing and utilization of these traditional means would get to solve the problem of the rural tinsels and the primary concern of this research includes;
- Does the importance of traditional Artifacts enhance rural based communication and development
- How effective are the traditional communication media
- What similarities and dissimilarities exist between these media and traditional communication systems?
1.3 Objectives OF THE STUDY
- This study is aimed at identifying the role of traditional communication in the development rural communities.
2 This study intends to discover the Usefulness and limitation of any of those media in the community.
3 The effectiveness of the traditional media will be determined and will serve as a base for comprising traditional communication in rural communities.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
- The study will be a humble contribution towards the development of traditional media of communication in rural community as a whole.
- It will also serve as a source of encouragement to the marriage of traditional and modern mass media of the community and others in Nigeria.
- This study will also encourage other cultural studies in African indigenous communication pattern and finally will guide others who want to know and understand the traditional media of communication and development.
- SCOPE /DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
As stated in the introduction the study covers the traditional means of communication as a catalyst in developing modern communication in rural communities. The study also identifies the traditional communication tools mostly used by the people of the community in the past and this present day, the usefulness and limitations of these artifacts in serving the communication in the entire rural communities as a result of the short period of time.
Due to lack of corporations, this study might be limited to information collected from population figure of the community which is accessible easily due to time factor, the low literacy rate, the non-availability of previous study on the topic and scarcity of previous study on the topic and scarcity of the text books are all part of the limitations.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Do rural community people have traditional means of communication?
- What are these traditional means of communication in rural community?
- Are traditional means of communication in rural community more credible than the modern mass media?
- Is there any complimentary role played by the traditional means of communication with respect to the modern mass media?
- Can the traditional means of communication enhance rural based communication more than the modern mass media?
- Can traditional means of communication play a vital role in rural development?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
HO; rural communities do not have traditional means of communication.
HI: rural communities have traditional means of communication.
HO: The traditional means of communication are not in existence in rural communities
H2: There are traditional means of communication in rural communities.
HO: The traditional means of communication are not credible than the modern mass media.
H3: These traditional means of communication are credible than the modern mass media.
1.8 THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK
According to Ogban-Iyam who sees theory as a set of interrelated concepts that are used to explain, describe, interpret and predict the relationship between phenomena or variables, Theory helps to provide us with a way of looking at the real world. Structural Functional theory is used as suitable framework of analysis for the traditional media of communication as a tool for effective rural development
Structural Functionalism as a theoretical framework intended to explain the bases for maintaining order and stability in society and relevant arrangement within the society in targeting passing messages.
This theory originated in the biological and medical sciences. It was adopted as a mode of analysis in sociology and anthropology as evidenced in the work of Emile Durkhim and Talcott Parson. It was developed for political analysis by Gabriel Almond, S.P Verma who stressed that structural Functionalism involves two main concepts, such as structures and functions. Structure refers to the arrangements within the system which perform the functions, structure is the way in which the parts are connected together in order to be arranged or organized. Function has been defined by Merton Robert as those observed consequences which make for the adoption or adjustment of a given system. (Nnoli, O. 1981).
The basic assumption of the structural functional framework is that all system has structures which can be identified and these structures perform functions within the system necessary for its persistence.
Structural Functionalism according to Marxist concept of substructure; superstructure is wholly determined by the substructure. The argument perhaps appears to be that the traditional mode of communication is omnipotent and that the individual consciousness is prisoners of material forces. Also, functions must be related to the structure of society. All other activities in the society revolved around the proper and orderly transmission of messages both social and political activities are based on good communication (Marx, K. 1970).
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
TRADITIONAL – IT means the people’s way of life; the common belief of the people living in a particular geographical area.
MEDIA – According to Longman dictionary media are all the organization such as television, newspaper, Magazines or all other forms through which people interact and get information for the public.
COMMUNICATION – It is also the process by which we exchange our ideas, views, opinion, norms, values, traditions, beliefs etc. from one person to another through a medium.
TOOLS – A useful means through which goals can be achieved.
EFFECTIVE – According to Oxford Advanced learner’s dictionary, it is producing the result that is wanted or intended, producing the result that is wanted or intended, and producing a successful result.
RURAL –An under developed area, where people are living with a common norm
DEVELOPMENT –According to oxford advanced learners dictionary, it is the gradual growth of something so it becomes more advanced, stronger and acceptable.