The world Black and Arts festival that was hosted in Nigeria of February, 1977 has marked the fourtieth anniversary and programmed to meet the yearnings of Africans and the black world.
This anniversary started on 6th November 2017 at the University of Lagos Sports Complex; there was a unity and cultural performances/exhibition hosted at main Exhibition Hall National Theater, Iganmu on 7th – 8th November 2017 an international symposium was held at Golden Tulip Hotel, on 9th November 2017 with theme “Black and African Arts and Culture and the 21st century Imperatives”.
Important dignitaries in attendance include ex-President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, HRH The Erelu of Lagos State, Dr. Abiola Dosumu the Chairperson, Sen. Fatimat Olufunke Raji – Rasaki, Chairman Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Ogbeide Ihama Omoregie, Chairman House of Rep Committee on Culture and Tourism, Alh. Lai Mohammed, Hon. Minister Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Isu, Gekepe Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and Dr Ferdinand I. Anikwe Director – General (CBAAB).
The Royal Father of the Day was HIM Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja 1, Ooni of Ife, Ambassador Dr. Wallace W. Williams from Antigua and Barbuda, Prof Sir. Victor Uwaifor participating, countries, states, organist ions, Nollywood Stars, schools and music by King Suny Ade. Others were commissioner Enugu State Ministry of Culture and Tourism Mrs. Dayo Keshi, Former Director – General National Council for Arts Culture, and Tourism Abuja, Mr. Muku Abdulahi DG National Galleries of Arts Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma Es-National Institute for cultural orientation, Mr. Yusuf Abdulahi DG National Commission for Museum and Movement Abuja, Delta State Cultural Troupe, Dr Asheri Kilo Fofung of University of Yaoundé Cameroon, Prof. Moses M. Okonkwo, Geofery Okoye University Enugu, Prof. Union Edebiri University of Benin, Prof. Uji Zanzan Akaka University of Jos, Mr. Akin Adejuwon and others witnessed the occasion full of pumps and pageantry.
On the occasion, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo remarked “FESTAC brought to light diverse contributions of Black and African peoples to the universal currents of thought and Arts, provide a forum for the re-discovery of ties which bind together all Black and African peoples the world over”.
The Minister of Information and Culture Hon. Lai Mohammed pointed out the relative importance of 40th anniversary: FESTAC 77 was an unusual forum that brought together in a hitherto unimagined dimension, the entire Black and African countries and communities in a rare show of solidarity and cultural display. Please recall that it was through the instrumentality of enslavement, colonization and subjugation of the Black race which desperately sought to consign or if possible, expunge the contributions of peoples of African descent to world civilization. This same process tends to colonize the mentality of Black people and consign them to the lowest ebb of the societal rug.
That necessitate the hosting of second World Black and Africa Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC77) till date, “FESTAC 77 remains an unqualified success story that witnessed the greatest assemblage of the entire Black and Africa Communities. Therefore, in commemorating this event, CBAAC has continued to keep alive the spirit of the 59 Black and African Countries that participated in FESTAC 77’’, he stated.
Princess (Dr.) Abiola Dosunmu, the Erelu of Lagos noted that after 40 years of celebration of FESTAC 77, the Black Race has continued to record achievements in all fronts. Be it in culture and Tourism, Africa is one of the most visited places in the world. The film industries particularly the Nollywood has been making giant strides in promoting Africa’s rich Cultural Heritage is ranked among the best in the world. In sports and entertainments, Africa has made and continued to make remarkable achievements and breathe taking records. A few weeks ago, a Nigerian became the indisputable heavy weight Boxing champion of the world. In academics, Black and Africa Scholars are among the leading lights making wonderful discoveries to the development of humanity.
Therefore, the 40th anniversary celebration of FESTAC 77 should not be a time for lamentation; but an opportunity to appreciate the contributions of the Black and African peoples to world thoughts and ideals’’, he submitted.
On his part, The Director General of CBAAC Dr. Ferdinard Anikwe appraised the remarkable achievements of FESTAC’77 thus: it prepared the African Youths to make their contributions to socio-economic development, it attracted the world to Africa’s entertainment packages, films, visual Arts, Poetry, traditional music and dances, traditional wrestling and Exhibition, Historical monuments and food culture, traditional costumes and above all the promotion of African unity and brotherhood through culture, enhancing conflict resolution and peace building through African traditional methods, promoting amity among world committee of nations, and pooling the world to a global film of music and dance’’ he enthused.
Another colourful program of the day was the crowing of Ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo as the RUBY KING OF FESTAC’77 and PATRON OF AFRICAN CULTURE which by HRM Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife.
The celebration of 40 years of FESTAC’77 was a unique landmark in the evolution of African Culture and to annex Black race anywhere in the world the significant of understanding our cultural renaissance which might have disappeared during the European colonization and enslavement of Africans and the Blacks in diaspora.
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