A Show Of Cultural Flamboyance At The AFCON 2022
The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicked off exactly a week ago on January 9 after a pandemic-related hiatus at the 60, 000 capacity Olembe stadium in Cameroon with spectacular festivities and the most amazing cultural performances from the West-Central African country.
The tournament started in earnest after an opening by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and the Stallions of Burkina Faso, which the hosts won comfortably. With several commentaries from citizens and sports enthusiasts alike, every game has become a conversation starter.
But almost, if not even more obvious than the football matches being played, is the flamboyant display of the rich cultures of the different African nations. From East, West, South, North and Central Africa; fans and attendees who are in the host country have, to our absolute delight, showcased some of the best fashion and culture the world has seen. From the outset, the opening ceremony aimed to depict the rich cultural diversity of the country revealed the facets and symbols of Cameroonian culture while involving renowned international talents. The AFCON 2021 anthem was performed by Africa Smile and room was made for dance performances representing major Cameroonian cultural groups, Grassfields, Sawa, Fang-Beti and Sudano-Sahelian.
Headlining the musical show was Fally Ipupa, and the ceremony was presented in five acts, with the first dedicated to “the awakening of Cameroonian nature” through the richness and diversity of its landscapes. The second represented a mosaic of colours, while Act 3 celebrated Cameroon, the welcoming land. Acts 4 and 5 respectively evoked the celebration of the competition and the final concert. Leaving spectators spellbound, visitors have not been in short supply of some of Africa’s finest cultural displays, fashion as well as cultural heritage.
The 33rd edition of the pan-African tournament is seeing 24 different national teams competing in 52 matches for the coveted cup but even more fierce is the culture and fashion on display in the stadium stands and around viewing centres and fans strive to out-do one another in presenting the best displays. Dancers have been seen performing in different sectors according to the dress cultures of the country. Even the national ballet group wasn’t left out, thrilling fans and spectators to a wonderful musical display.
With a kaleidoscope of a million colours, intricate details on fabrics, body art and aesthetics on full display at each match, Africans and the rest of the world have been treated to the best of the best designs.
Starting with the host country at their opening match, fans adorned themselves with green, yellow and red outfits in every possible shade possible, painted their bodies with their national colours and adorned themselves in intricate, exquisite ornaments and accessories of the national colours.
The opening ceremony featured traditional dances with colourful masquerades and traditional dancers sending fans into a frenzy, as well as fireworks and theatrical smoke and fog in the host country’s colours of red, green and yellow. The stadium was not left out as it was also done up in the same colours. In many communities, dance groups are present to show off the rich culture of the country, thrilling fans with scintillating dance steps throughout the game and especially when there is a goal.
Nigeria is not left out of the rich cultural display and flamboyance as the country’s fans have not disappointed so far, putting up a good show at the country’s opening match against Egypt which Nigeria won 1-0 to top her group. Nigerian fans were seen with dazzling green and white outfits, green and white mascots, hair-do, accessories and ornaments as they cheered the Super Eagles to victory. Known as the Supporters club, these fans have made their presence known during matches as they strive to not only celebrate the national team but show off the beauty and
elegance of Nigeria’s rich culture and beauty.