By Nandip Andrew
This article first appeared in the December 2015 edition of the IHEYO Youth Speak newsletter.
The Tarok people of Langtang in Plateau state of North Central Nigeria have the highest number of Army Generals in the region, today.
Before the coming of the Christian missionaries in 1904, the Tarok people were Pagan worshippers. The initial inhabitants did not trust the missionaries and discouraged their people from joining them. However, migrants to Tarokland joined the missionaries, as a result of which Christianity strengthened its roots in the region. Idol worship was discouraged by the Christian missionaries and a systematic indoctrination took place, and has been present for over a hundred years now. Resultantly, the Tarok traditional religion was abandoned, and a huge chunk of its history has been lost, to the extent that the present-day youth is completely unaware of it.
With the introduction of internet services, many groups were created on Facebook and other social media, for Christinaity to pursue its evangelical goal.
In response, a bunch of Humanists have begun to organize the Tarok youth to educate them about their history, and also create a space for science, critical thinking, logic and an appreciation of it within the Tarok Culture. We have initiated this by creating Facebook group called The Tarok Thinker. Through information dissemination we have tried to question the idea of god and its existence, and these debates have served to be fruitful.
Our goal is to establish communication, showcase the rich Tarok Culture and to discuss all issues that affect the Tarok people.
We have also created a Community page for the Funyallang people with the aim to promote the dying culture of the Igyang people e.g local hunting and pottery making. We encourage the Funyallang women to use pottery for locally brewed beer. We also want to effect a conversation around the need to protect our environment, and hence we have started a campaign against the use of plastic in day-to-day activities.
Nandip Andrew is the co-founder of The Tarok Thinker, and is a General Committee Member of IHEYO’s Africa Working Group.