Lagos Black Heritage Festival 2013: It’s a culture-tie with Brazil!

Prof Wole Soyinka, festival Chairman,  and  Mr Disu Holloway, Commissioner for Tourism, Lagos State

Mr Tunde Fasina, Chairman of the  festival Beauty Pageant
 

Lagos comes alive again in euphoria of its rich cultural festival between March 23 and April 1, 2013, mainly at the Freedom Park, Broad Street. In marking this year’s edition of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival themed ‘The black in the Mediterranean Blue,’ a tracking of the history of cultural interaction of the African continent with the nation of Brazil takes centre stage.

Speaking during a press conference held at the Freedom Pack, Lagos on Thursday March 7, chairman, festival organising committee, Professor Wole Soyinka used the medium to call for corporate sponsorship for the cultural festival. He said that: "This festival needs sponsorship from corporate bodies for it to be sustained, so much like what soccer enjoys." He re-iterated that the place of art and culture cannot be undermined in the development and sustenance of society; bearing in mind the engagement of a large number of people and  the constant reminder of  the shared history that stands as a chord of  unity.
                                                  Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, Festival Ambassador

Noting the significance of a vibrant African identity in Brazil as visibly embedded in their forms of traditional worship, performance modes, cuisine, language, attire and music, Prof Soyinka said that there will be a second part of the festival billed for October 1-10, 2013, to enable the Afro-Brazilian Diaspora participate in the festival which they consider as a fulfilment of their desire of a proper home-coming.

Giving a  lowdown of the event activities, Prof Soyinka stated that a session would be dedicated to Abdias do Nascimento,  an  Afro-Brazilian playwright and painter whose  works showcasing  his interaction with orisa , will take prominent positions in the exhibition galleries. Abdias’ rooted links with African culture comes from his years of exile in Ile-Ife, the Yoruba cradle of humanity.


For highlights of the regular activities that make up the festival, Mr Tunde Fasina, chairman of the beauty pageant, said that as an essential part of the carnival, the beauty pageant will be fun as usual, but with participants coming only from the Fanty associations this year. He disclosed also that the groups of participants have been undergoing dedicated training sessions that will culminate in a final competition on March 30th, while the beauty queen officially becomes the carnival queen on April 1.
                                        Hon. Husitode Moses Dosu, Chairman, Badagry Local Government Area

The water regatta event promises to introduce a more entertaining angle as disclosed by Eng. Segun Jawnando, chairman of the water regatta event.  With the traditional two venues   of the Civic Centre and Oyinkan Abayomi for viewers,  Jawando said:  “For the water events, viewers  will be entertained with the  swimming  session, an engine-powered boat contest, a  traditional boat regatta to be undertaken by over 30 communities, a  search and rescue  demonstration by the Apapa Sea  School, which is actually meant to emphasize the importance of safety.”  

                                                      Eng. Segun Jawando, Chairman, Water Regatta

While families are encouraged to come along with their children to view the water events, the ‘Vision of the Child’ Art Competition will showcase works from fresh talents gathered from about 400 schools. And the other youth event ‘Do Your Own Thing’ gives platform for upcoming individuals and groups with talents in singing, choreography, poems and other forms of arts and entertainment to showcase their performances.

The ancient city of  Badagry will showcase its wealth of history as it impacted on the African continent, with processions from the point of embarkation to the point of no return during the slave trade era.

The beauty and fun of the carnival will remain profound in the parade of masquerades from across Yoruba land; theatrical plays like Duro Ladipo’s Oba Koso’ and Wole Oguntokun’s ‘Oshodi Tapa’, both classics with historic importance to the Yoruba of Nigeria.
 
                                                A group performing during the last festival
 
Also speaking during the press conference, Mr Disu Holloway, Commissioner for Tourism , said as its tradition, the Lagos Street Carnival will round-off the festival with colourful parades of different groups along designated routes beginning from Awolowo Road, ikoyi and ends in Tafawa  Balewa Square.  Holloway advised that people should avoid using Awolowo Road, Ikoyi on April 1, as the roads will be closed to vehicular movements from as early as 8am.