Special Community Cultural Projects
Professor Joseph Ushie has formed and ran two cultural groups are aimed at reviving, preserving and promoting his community’s flank of African culture. They are:
1. Akorshi Litong Dance Group
2. Libeh Songs and Drama Group.
The first is a dance group of about 30 members whose ages range from about 10 to 18 years, with some elderly members as players of the special litong instrument and the common Bette-Bendi drums. The dance group was formed in 2013 to revive the litong music, which had been an ancient mystical music genre that had almost gone into extinction as it was left with only one person that could play it. The group has featured in many cultural events and is now the leading dance group in all of northern Cross River State.
The second, Libeh Songs and Drama Group, is an effort to revive the Bette-Bendi people’s traditional marriage songs and drama, an event that used to witness one of the best displays of the people’s wealth in traditional poetry, proverbs and drama as a form of entertainment and social criticism before it became almost eclipsed by the modern, western-style “traditional” marriages. All the members are women. Both projects are seen by the community and beyond as the hope for the revival of the erstwhile rich Bette-Bendi culture.
He is currently working towards a transcription and translation of the songs of both groups for publication as Bette-Bendi oral traditional poetry.