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Pan-African Cultural Congress Bureau plans another FESTAC for 2017

Sir Ferdinand Anikwe
Sir Ferdinand Anikwe
The Pan-African Cultural Congress Bureau (PACCB) has announced plans to hold another World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC), in 2017.
President of the body and Director General of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Dr Ferdinand Anikwe, who said this in Lagos added that the event would be used to commemorate FESTAC 40 years after it was last held in Lagos in 1977.
“PACCB member-states have agreed that we will celebrate FESTAC in 2017. By then, it will be 40 years that the last FESTAC was held and the world has been looking forward to it,’’ he said.
“In the little way it can, PACCB will celebrate it and we are calling on all those that participated in FESTAC ’77 to be part of our programmes .
“Some of our scholars are still around; people like Prof. Wole Soyinka and of course former President Olusegun Obasanjo himself who was the chief host in 1977 is going to be 80 years and it will be 40 years then that we celebrated second FESTAC.
“It is going to be a beautiful combination as the event will by then be half the age of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, one of the former presidents of Nigeria.’’
Anikwe said that the PACCB’s special Technical Committee on Culture , Youth and Sports in Adisa Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2014, had agreed then that there should be a re-enactment, in 2017, of what happened in Nigeria during FESTAC ’77.
He, however, said that a single country might not be able to host and fund it now on a large scale as done by Nigeria in 1977 owing to several financial challenges confronting every nation on the continent.
“Unless this is to be done by a group of countries and interest groups,’’ he said.
Anikwe also said that for the continent to keep the competition on the front burner after next year, it would be held alongside continental sporting competitions and games.
“It is by showcasing our African traditional and cultural values at continental events that we can outshine Europe and North America that have surpassed in terms of technological development,’’ he said.
“There will be cultural activities and programmes around the centres of either football competitions or games.
“We will encourage participating member-states either in football games or sport competitions to also come along with their cultural groups, dancers, choreographers, singers .
“They will include those who are into the production of handicrafts whom we may ask to stage an arts exhibition.
“Similarly, PACCB will provide judges during the cultural events,’’ he said.
The CBAAC boss said that such would be an interesting aspect of such sports competitions.
It would afford officials, athletes, visitors and the audience, opportunities to relax after each day’s events and also appreciate the beauty of nature as created by God, he said .
He said that PACCB had begun to send letters out to the countries and communities that participated in FESTAC’77 on its proposed plan for 2017.
Anikwe said that CBAAC still had tapes of the FESTAC’77 events in its custody and he encouraged the public to visit its office to watch them.
The CBAAC D-G also said that the centre had begun to contact Nigerians in the Diaspora to ask for their inputs to the proposed FESTAC 2017.
At the 2017 events, we would showcase some of the outstanding works produced in FESTAC’77 by the best brains assembled then, he said.
Meanwhile, Anikwe has commended the efforts of Nollywood stars by promoting positively the nation’s cultural values to the international community.
Anikwe said that this was based on his personal experiences in the foreign countries he had visited.
He said that he had observed that several foreigners had learnt many positive things about Nigeria from home videos and movies produced by Nollywood actors and actresses.
Many foreigners after watching home videos and movies produced by Nollywood actors and actresses would begin to pick and speak Nigerian languages which had made the country become more popular, Anikwe said.
He said that most foreigners had developed interests in Nigerian cuisines, dress sense, indigenous languages, proverbs, riddles that were more peculiar with the various ethnic groups.
” As far as I am concerned, Nollywood is the first made-in-Nigeria good we have ever produced.
” Most of our cultural practices and programmes peculiar to each community have been domesticated into the movies by Nollywood stars.’’
He said that local wears and attires designed and sewn by Nigerian fashion designers had been embraced by Equatorial-Guinea nationals.
” We can begin to export our attires to them for sale , then we will be propagating our culture the more.
” Also, all the Caribbean countries have fallen in love with our attires when they see our artists adorn them in movies and home videos produced by Nollywood stars that are exported there.
“Their nationals go for our attires by wearing them,” he said.
Anikwe urged Nollywood stars to intensify efforts in extending their areas of coverage to projecting the country’s agricultural system and technology in their movies.
He said that narratives that had to do with indigenous folk tales, folklores and proverbs should be given attention and projected in Nollywood movies.

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