40th anniversary of FESTAC
Sir: Thirty-nine years ago, Nigeria hosted the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC’77) in 1977. The festival covered dance, drama, exhibition, boat regatta, durbar and colloquium.
FESTAC ’77 was a deliberately orchestrated festival organised to showcase the beauty, resilience and vitality of Black and African cultures in its finest traditions. Expectedly, it attracted participants from 59 Black and African descent that gathered together for the celebration of their rich cultural heritage in a rare show of solidarity.
As an event, FESTAC was a watershed in the history of the black race. Apart from rekindling interest in black and African cultures and asserting its equality with other cultures of the world, more importantly, it brought global attention to the invaluable contribution of the African race to the pool of universal knowledge. From all conceivable parameters, FESTAC ’77 was an unqualified success story that brought together for the first time in history the entire Black race and provided a platform for cross-cultural exchanges and interaction. It is most gratifying to note that FESTAC’77 was a platform used to debunk the western stereotype that the Blackman has no culture and, therefore, made little or no impact in world civilisation.
As an agency, the centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria via Decree 69 of 79, to keep the spirit of FESTAC ’77 alive. Today, the centre has become a foremost agency for cultural advocacy both within and outside the continent of Africa.
Now, plans are on by the centre to commemorate the 40th anniversary of FESTAC ’77 in the month of February, 2017. There will be an international colloquium, exhibition, drama and dance, documentary and demonstrations of arts and culture.
The event which is expected to rekindle interest, in and showcase the contribution of Black and African people’s towards the extension of the frontiers of knowledge, would attract former heads of state and presidents of the 59 Black and African countries and communities that participated in the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture.