LABAF 2017: Cruising to literacy and human capital development campaign

The 19th edition of Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) 2017 that focuses on ‘Eruptions: Global Fractures and Collective Humanism’ will hold from November 6 through 12 at Freedom Park, Lagos.
Niyi Osundare

Niyi Osundare

The 19th edition of Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) 2017 that focuses on ‘Eruptions: Global Fractures and Collective Humanism’ will hold from November 6 through 12 at Freedom Park, Lagos. The pre-festival events begin from November 6 through 8 at various venues, while the main festival is November 9 – 12.

While explaining the theme, Programme Manager, Mr. Samuel Osaze, said: “The theme is primarily inspired by the convulsions in the global political and economic space, the sort of angst that’s led to the emergence of Donald Trump and now upsurge of the ‘supremacist’ and rightists’ movements in the United State, the decision by 17.4 million British voters to leave the European Union, the siege on Europe by Islamic militias, the crises in the Middle East, which have led to millions of refugees besieging Europe, the resurgence of ‘separatist’ rhetoric from some youths in different regions of Nigeria and others. “We wish to examine the implications of all these actions on the fundamental rights and privileges of affected people, and in general, our collective humanity.”
The 2017 festival is “dedicated to the Poet laureate, Professor Niyi Osundare,” stated Secretary General of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), Mr. Toyin Akinosho, promoters of the festival. He described Osundare, as a true national and cultural icon, who has influenced generation of younger poets and writers, helping them to find their voice and developing their own styles.”
The festival will also honour some icons in the Nigeria culture and creative industry sector, who clock landmark birthday anniversary (usually those just attaining the milestone ages of 80s, 70s and 60s) in the course of the year.

Programme Chair of CORA and festival Curator, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, said: “As it is traditional with CORA in deciding our theme for every edition, we always look at most cogent development in global political and cultural circuit and try to weigh in on the effects of such on the condition of our collective humanity. This year, we have resolved to look at emergent strange tendencies in world politics that are rupturing political establishments.

For instance, Brexit in the UK, the emergence of an extremist like Donald Trump as president of the bastion of democracy, the United States. And we already have warnings that some parts of Europe could also have their own Trump-like characters emerging as leaders! These developments obviously have grave implications for our shared humanity and the spirit of free interactions among various peoples of the world. You could see such effects in the demonization of the Syrian refugees by some political leaders in Europe, and continuous threats from Mr. Trump to segregate and profile people, who are not of his skin colour and racial convictions.”

Anikulapo noted that the central programme team of CORA is assembling publications, authors visual arts and contents that treat issues around the theme. About 25 publications have been identified as the ‘Books of the Festival,’ and will feature in the various readings, reviews, conversations, and discussions sessions that will feature in the week-long festival.

He, however, reminded that at LABAF, the Book, rather that the Writer is usually the determinant of the direction of programming, adding: “The book is the Megastar at our ‘fiesta of Ideas and Life.’ After all, the writer is only as big as the idea contained in his or her work,” while commending the festival’s guests, patrons, volunteers, “whose various contributions have always made every edition a rounded success.”

While the adult version of the show commences November 6, the kids’ programme starts on Friday, November 10. Tagged the Green Festival, it has ‘Eruptions: The Child in a Fractured World’ as theme.
According to its coordinator, Sola Alamutu, recent happenings around the globe has shown that every country has its own agenda and troubles to deal with. It is in the light of this that Green Festival will discuss issues surrounding man.

According to her, “We are all humans, and the need to unlearn harmful things (prejudices) that we have been taught in the past about our race, size, wealth, education, sex, and so on is important. We will touch on child abuse and other forms of violence, as well as various forms of discrimination.

“The overarching theme will be ‘discrimination and bullying’ in line with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the Lagos State Government ‘Anti-Bullying Campaign’ in schools. The children will be taught how to deal with bullies, the importance of questioning stories about the girl-child, children from certain backgrounds, other ethnic groups and races that have been learnt over the years, and thinking critically about them. The children will be shown how prejudices affect all of us as a whole if we do not disabuse ourselves of them.”

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