The Center for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) recently rolled out the drums to rekindle the spirit of the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77), 40 years after it was hosted in Lagos, Nigeria, during the military regime of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo.
The week long activities which commemorated FESTAC 77 at 40, started on November 6, ended on November 11, this year. It was attended by
participants from 56 countries across the world and nine states in the country. As was expected, the celebration rekindled nostalgic feelings in the minds of those who witnessed the epochal event.
Also, during the event, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State and the architect of FESTAC 77 was honored with the award of Ruby King of FESTAC and Patron of African Culture. The award was in recognition of Chief Obasanjo’s contributions to the promotion and development of African culture and heritage, his role in the emancipation, unity and development of continental and Diaspora Africa and the fact that FESTAC ’77 was held during his administration as Head of State.
The 40th anniversary of FESTAC ’77 generally served as a platform for historical and cultural renaissance reminiscent of the decades-old
grand event. Specifically, the 40th anniversary of FESTAC ’77 provided avenues for the revival re-capture and update of the cultural artistry
and ingenuity of Black and African peoples for the benefit of present and future generations and offered a platform to intensify campaigns for continued cultural exchange, understanding and unity among Blacks and African countries and communities.
The event also projected and captured 21st Century African creativity in the arts, literature and entertainment, and harnessed Africa’s potential for the benefit of all Black people. In addition, it further extended the frontiers of the quest for the global appreciation of Black and African contributions to world civilization and facilitated inter-regional cooperation, by boosting trade and networking among African states and the Diaspora Africans.
Among the activities at the one-week events were exhibitions, African food fair, traditional performances, wrestling match, international
symposium/colloquium, gala awards nite, and Miss and Mr. FESTAC ’77 pageant.
The establishment of CBAAC was in fulfilment of Nigeria’s pledge to hold in trust all materials displayed at FESTAC’77 for better preservation, and to consolidate on the gains of the momentous festival. The preservation and consolidation of the gains of the festival remains one of the most fundamental legacies of FESTAC ’77.
Over the years, CBAAC has been able to play its role through numerous activities such as exhibitions, public lectures, conferences, workshops, colloquium and seminars, among others, thus placing CBAAC at the vanguard of the promotion and propagation of Black and African
The vision of CBAAC is to be the foremost agency to encourage, initiate, facilitate and coordinate the retrieval and restoration of the natural and cultural heritage of the Black and African peoples for the purposes of protecting, preserving and projecting them for enhanced understanding and appreciation.
Going forward, having played these noble roles over the years, CBAAC must not relent in its mandates as custodian of Black and African arts
and culture. At a time when many other races and peoples are losing their identities, CBAAC must continue to play its roles creditably
well in the years ahead to show that Africans and other Blacks in the Diaspora have a veritable heritage that they should be proud of, flaunt
to the benefit, emancipation, unity and development of all Blacks across the world.