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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

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.

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