Posts Tagged ‘LAGOS’

COME BACK TO AFRICA FOR THE BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL,APRIL 4-11,2010-LAGOS/BADAGARY,NIGERIA!

March 20, 2010

from

from ladybrillanigeria.com

thenationonlineng.net

Lagos prepares for ‘Black Heritage Festival’
By Emmanuel Oladesu Published 3/02/2010 Life Midweek Magazine Rat

For seven days, Lagos State will host the world in April for the historic ‘Black Heritage Festival. The hosts are the people of Badagry Division, the haven of tourism Fin the state. The communities are full of eagerness. The three councils in the area are cooperating with the state government to ensure a hitch-free festival.

Visitors from across the globe will comb the history of horror that made the town memorable. The lamentation of slaves, who passed the town on their way to plantations in distant Europe and America, would be recalled. The return of their descendants to their roots in April will rekindle their attachment to Africa, the most populous African country and largest supplier of the unwilling slaves, and the beauty of the titanic liberation war that shook the universe.

The visitors are expected to pick works of arts and artifacts that gave content to the culture of their forebears before they went into captivity. Many of them will locate the under-development of the Dark Continent in the centuries of disruptions, cultural dislocations, neo-colonialism and lack of reparations.

Governor Babatunde Fashola(SAN) has enumerated the conditions for the success of the third Lagos Black Heritage Festival, urging the royal fathers and people to tap its abundant tourism and economic opportunities.

His Deputy, Princess Sarah Sosan, who is from the division, asked the towns and villages in the three local government area to prepare for the inflow of tourists and visitors from across the federation and abroad into the area.

The commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye, who represented the number one and two citizens at a stakeholders meeting in the ancient town, said the visitors who will live, eat and interact with local folks expect a “To have a meaningful festival, our environment should be clean. Many people will come from far and near. Not long ago, we came here to clear the gutters. The governor and deputy governor who I am representing here asked me to tell our royal fathers, chiefs and community leaders to mobilise people and ensure a clean environment,” he told the people at Badagry Town Hall.

The Special Adviser to Governor Fashola on General Matters, Prince Sunny Ajose, who highlighted the elements of the festival, said the division would savour the economic boom and project the cultural heritage of the towns and villages.

He expressed concern for the disposition of the communities to the notion of hygiene.

“In the past, Badagry was neat, from Seme to Ajegunle. Population explosion has led to an unclean environment. Refuse dumping is a challenge. Instead of dumping refuse at Ilewo, we want LAWMA to create another dumping site near the Badagry area,” he said.

Ajose warned that, if the atmosphere is not conducive for the visitors, they would relocate to Ikoyi and Eko Hotel where they will buy souvenirs, thereby making the people to lose their patronage.

Programmes slated for the festival include symposium, painting competitions, cultural performance, traditional dances, and ‘fitila’ procession.

Ajose said no township festival would be allowed to coincide with the Black Heritage Festival. He enjoined townspeople to preoccupy themselves with the removal of shanties in the neighbourhood so that the towns could wear a new look.

“We want to showcase what we have, including our masquerades. We have tools for slave trade in the Heritage Festival Museum. Black writers have works on slave trade. They will also come to talk about the trade and its implications for us. They will like to visit Iyana Gberesu, the terminal exit route for the slave trade. We have Oduduwa shrine in Ilogbo. We should improve on what we have to be able to get what we want. We want to prepare for all these and record success so that there will be an improvement next year,” added Ajose.

The traditional ruler, Aholu Menu Toyi of Badagry, Oba Babatunde Akran, said the festival is the responsibility of all, urging his subjects to cooperate with the government to ensure its success.

He enjoined the authorities to conduct training sessions for the school pupils who may be useful as tour guides to the visitors during the programme.

‘The visitors will be in our markets. They want to see how we are living .They want to take photographs with us. We should be good hosts’, he added.

The Alabarin of Ikaare, Oba Kayode Akinyemi, said the onus is on the council chairmen in the division to rise to the occasion and embrace their roles towards making the festival a success.

Another royal father alerted the government to the danger of inadequate medical facilities in the local governments. He said the hospitals in the area lack ambulance facilities. He also said, since April falls within the raining season, flooding may mar the festival because the drainages are bad.

Agunsoye said the government has taken note of these challenges and all these facilities would be in place before the commencement of the festival.

The festival which brings to memory the historic pains of forceful separation of kindred holds in Lagos State at a time of intense campaign for greater exploration of tourism, one of the most neglected sectors of the economy. In the days of yore, the ancient town which served as a route for ferrying the black slaves to Europe and America was thrown into monumental panic .It took the earlier generations a long time to erase the terrible experience from their memory. However, the incident has also become a blessing to the town.

Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka visited Badagry early last month for a meeting with the community leaders and elders on the importance of the carnival and modalities for a successful outcome.

At the weekend meeting presided over by Agunsoye, prominent leaders of Badagry Division took their seats with eagerness. They include Oba Moshood Asafa, Onijanikin of Ijanikin; Oba Oyekan Adekanbi, Alapa of Apa; Oba Olanrewaju Aina, Oloto of Oto; Oba Abedeen Durosinmi, Prince Dele Kosoko, Moses Dosu, Amuda Abidu and Joseph Bamgbose.

Agunsoye congratulated the people for hosting the world for the important event, saying that the division is being immortalised by the focus on it.

“Many years ago, many people suffered for our freedom. Some black men died for us to have today. Badagry is one of the famous routes where our forefathers passed to Europe. It was sad. Now, we are happy. History cannot forget Badagry. That is why we want to discuss how to immortalise the ancient times,” the commissioner said.

He said the governor and deputy governor attach much value to the festival because of its implication for the black community in the world.

The commissioner said they acknowledged the fact that an unclean environment would breed disease, adding that sanitary inspectors would be in the towns to ensure compliance with sanitary rules.

“Our black brothers abroad want to come home to mix with us. But they need a clean environment,” he emphasized.

A LAWMA official told the meeting that: “All households must have dustbins. The PSP will do its work, LAWMA will evacuate the refuse. LAWMA sweepers recruited from Badagry will be on the roads. The ‘street captains’ will distribute refuse nylon to households.”

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2 Responses to “Lagos prepares for ‘Black Heritage Festival’”
kazeem balogun at 18 Feb 2010 2:41:58 PM WAT kazeem balogun Rating: Unrated ( Author/Admin)

said this on 18 Feb 2010 2:41:58 PM WAT
its a welcome development,we shall participate
(Reply to this comment)(Cancel this reply)(Comment Replies Disabled)

EKO1CITY at 19 Mar 2010 8:48:40 PM WAT EKO1CITY Rating: Unr

said this on 19 Mar 2010 8:48:40 PM WAT
Ola Jones Lagos Black Heritage…… nice 1,but, so far i cant connect the vision of the group their objectivity pursuit, pro grammes and strategy I a son of the soil by interest in badagry thus am in total cooperation with any social articulate school of mission that set to project badagry historical value.meanwhile here is an overwhelming challenge, so much is been orchestrated in the median while all the node featuresthat makes the history are not preserve,e.g slave route,harboure,artenuation well and the gbelefu point- of- no- return. etc

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from ladybrillenigeria.com

Home » Events
3rd Annual Lagos Black Heritage Festival 2010
by Ladybrille®Nigeria on March 1, 2010No Comment
3rd Annual Lagos Black Heritage Festival

Place: Badagry Township, Lagos, Badagry

Date: April 4th, 2010

“For over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara have been hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers, often, alas, with the active connivance and participation of Africans themselves. Millions perished even before destination along the Trans-Atlantic route, the Trans-Saharan route, and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran.

For centuries, and even till today, many could neither recall nor manifest the slightest interest in their antecedents. By contrast, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of descendants of the victims of this execrable commerce have embarked on the return journey home – some in search of their true origins, others in the spirit of a symbolic pilgrimage, and yet others to re-claim and re-settle in their ancestral space. Whichever way, for many, this has proved an emotional but fulfilling experience.

It was in fulfillment of this yearning for the healing of dislocated sense of identity that the Lagos State government instituted, with the support of UNESCO, the Black Heritage Festival in the symbolic town of Badagry, one of the more infamous departure points, with surviving landmarks, a Festival that seeks to enshrine the place of Memory in the history of peoples, and to celebrate survival and the resilience of the human will.

The third, 2010 edition of this Festival, appropriately billed as MEMORY AND PERFORMANCE IN THE RETURN TO SOURCE, is planned to raise this awareness to new heights, broaden and deepen the linkage between the African continent and its Diaspora. . .”

Visit Lagos Black Heritage Festival.org for more info.

You might also like:

Abuja Food Festival 2009
Lagos Carnival 2010 – April 3rd-5th, 2010

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from ladybrillenigeria.com

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY WITH THE LAGOS BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Feb 22nd, 2010 | By Ayo Peters | Category: LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS, TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
The 17th century will forever remain in the hearts of Africans. This was when its history was taken backwards through a trade that was inimical to its growth – Slave Trade.

The Slave Trade (known as the trans-Atlantic slave trade) started with the exportation of blacks to Europe by Portugal in the 15th century. Other European countries like Spain, Netherlands, Britain, Denmark etc soon followed suit. It was not until the 17th century however that the trade got to North America. It was there that it gained real currency.

Thus, in 1619, a Dutch warship brought the first cargo of twenty blacks to Virginia in the then British colony called New World.
Consequent upon the traffic in blacks, scores of black men and women were separated from their African homes and carried into the New World before the Slave Trade was ended. Although a lot of black men like Olaudah Equiano, Candido da Rocha, Samuel Johnson, Mojola Agbebi and others regained their freedom and found their way back to Nigeria, millions were totally separated from their families.

These Africans were not slaves but were made to work in an environment where they were referred to as slaves. Back in Africa, these men were free and respected farmers and herdsmen, craftsmen skilled in pottery and weaving, wood-carving, and blacksmiths. Some of these Africans brought out of the continent against their will were traders and hunters, musicians and dancers, poets and sculptors. Many were princes and warriors, feudal chiefs, rulers of kingdoms and empires.

These important men of African descent were taken to Europe and the New World through ports marshaled by these European masters. A lot of these slave ports existed in West Africa but some stood out. These were: Goree Island (Senegal), Whydah (Benin Republic), Elmina (Ghana) and Badagry (Nigeria).

The slave port in Badagry was notorious because hordes of Africans were taken through it. Little wonder, this port was dubbed: “Point of no Return.”

One Nigerian who suffered greatly as a result of the slave trade was Gustavus Vassa (Olaudah Equiano). Gustavus Vassa was born in the ancient Benin Kingdom in 1745. He was kidnapped from his family and sold into slavery. He was later sold again to traders and chained on a slave ship bound for America. He passed on to a Virginia planter, and then, to a British naval officer, and finally to a Philadelphia merchant who gave him the chance to buy his freedom. In his autobiography, ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African,’ he narrated some of the ordeals he and his fellow African brothers went through on shore to the New World. For instance, a black man was flogged while on deck so unmercifully with a large rope that he died in consequence of it. Olaudah wrote that some of his countrymen were chained together and when they were weary, preferred death to such a life of misery and somehow, “made through the nettings and jumped into sea.”

The narrative by Gustavus Vassa was a fraction of the hardships blacks were made to undergo in the New World and in Europe. Many blacks died as a result of this hardship. Slaves like Nat Turner and John Brown who revolted were murdered in cold blood while one of the most brilliant Americans of the nineteenth century who started his life as a slave on a Maryland plantation, Frederick Douglas, in his autobiography asked: “Why am I a slave? Why are some people slaves and others masters? How did the relation commence? He wrote that he didn’t know he was a slave until he found out he couldn’t do the things he wanted.

Indeed, not having anything to say about the use of your own time and labour is probably what makes you feel bad. This is the absence of freedom. As providence would have it, that is all gone; total history.

Slavery and slave trade have been abolished after series of protests here and there and the great grandsons of former slaves have now become free men in Europe, Caribbean, and North America. These men after careful study, based on the ‘reign of terror’ of the slave port in Badagry, have decided to remember their roots, history, culture, and land of their forebears by celebrating the Lagos Black Heritage Festival.

Logically, Badagry is the preferred host as it is poised to hoist the Third Lagos Black Heritage Festival starting from the 3rd of April, this year.

Badagry, it will be recalled, was the departure route of these ‘slaves’. Once they got to Badagry, they were certain they would not return to their homes.

Today, Badagry still retains a lot of slavery artifacts. This includes one of the largest slave markets – Vlekete slave market – in West Africa. Here, slaves were sold at competitive prices. Hence, most countries that traded in slaves had their forts in Badagry. This included Portugal, Britain, Spain, Brazil, France and the Netherlands.

The Mobee slave relic is another of the artifacts that survived the infamous trade. It is housed by the Mobee family. We also have the Seriki Abbas compound, the Egbado-born businessman, who settled in Badagry and partook greatly of the obnoxious business.

In truth, the Lagos Black Heritage Festival has come to stay. This feat was achieved by the Lagos state government and the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). According to Emeritus Professor, Wole Soyinka, the third edition of the Black Heritage Festival “seeks to enshrine the place of memory in the history of peoples, and to celebrate survival and the resilience of the human will.”

The third edition, which starts on April 3rd, this year, is tagged: Memory and Performance in the Return to Source, has been planned to broaden and deepen the linkage between the African continent and its Diaspora. In the words of Soyinka, “this will be effected through a focus on the lives and works of three eminent representatives of, and close collaborators in this racial mission… pan-Africanist and cultural activist, Aime Cesaire; prime mover of the Journal Presence Africaine, and the publishing house of that name, Alioune Diop; and statesman, Leopold Sedar Senghor.”

Badagry local government is leaving no stone unturned towards ensuring that Badagry had a hitch-free festival. Accordingly, the local government has ensured its cleaning every day.

Most residents of Badagry are eager to see the D-day. Hon. Husitode Moses Dosu, the executive chairman of Badagry local government says the “Lagos Black Heritage Festival connotes a return to the source.”

Activities lined up for the festival includes a symposium, feature films, documentaries, a book exhibition, contemporary art, theatre, concerts, traditional and modern dances, a boat regatta, a Children’s Heritage Village and African tradition games.
We await this reconnection, revaluation, and revindication.

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Tags: a boat regatta, a Children’s Heritage Village, African tradition games, Alioune Diop prime mover of the Journal Presence Africaine, Badagry Local Government, Badagry Nigeria, book exhibition, Brazil, Britain, Candido da Rocha, concerts, contemporary art, documentaries, Elmina Ghana, Emeritus Professor Wole Soyinka, feature films, France, Frederick Douglas autobiography, Goree Island Senegal, Hon. Husitode Moses Dosu, John Brown, Lagos Black Heritage Festival, Lagos state government, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Memory and Performance in the Return to Source, Mobee slave relic, Mojola Agbebi, Nat Turner, Netherlands, Olaudah Equiano Gustavus Vassa autobiography, pan-Africanist and cultural activist Aime Cesaire, Point of no Return, Portugal, Samuel Johnson, Seriki Abbas, Spain, symposium, theatre, traditional and modern dances, United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Vlekete slave market, Whydah Benin Republic
One comment
Leave a comment »
uzoh hilary March 5th, 2010 9:21 pm :

as a fashion designer and loving arts i like to participate in the black heritage festival. so please can you detail me on the event. thank you.

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from travelintelligence .com

The Badagry Route by Pelu Awofeso
Anyone can understand why callers to the slave ports at Elmina (Ghana), Goree (Senegal) and Ouidah (Benin) weep and wail after they have walked round the remains of the transatlantic slave trade in those regions. To even see images on the screen is enough to affect the senses sorely. The Black Heritage Museum—just opened to tourists in palm-and-coconut-rich Badagry, western Lagos—is another of the kind. Maybe the place won’t stir you to tears, but after going in and out, then up and down its nine galleries, it is certain to make any visitor sober.

The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) in Nigeria, which helped with the research and installation, displays sketches, sculptures, photos, documents and dated shackles to tell the touching tale of over 300 years of ‘trading’ of which the African people were the ‘goods’.

We are now inside the building and this ad published in 1784 in the U.S. stares me in the face: “NEGROS FOR SALE: a cargo of very fine stout men and women, in good order and fit for immediate service, just imported from the windward coast of Africa…” Another in New Orleans, this time in 1835 described its ‘ware’ in detail: Chole…aged 36 years. She is without exception, one of the most competent servants in the country, a first-rate washer and ironer, does up lace, a good cook, and for a bachelor who wishes a housekeeper she would be invaluable. She is also a good ladies maid, having travelled to the north in that capacity.”

One learns a typical slave’s safari goes something like this: A freeborn is kidnapped, captured at war or despatched to a creditor to offset a debt. He is kept in custody and made to do simple menial duties at first. A time comes when a white businessman, sailing across from the west, seeks out the community’s head and demands for people to serve him and his wealthy colleagues back on their own soil. He proffers gins, guns and some other processed goods in exchange.

The deal sounds sensible enough and both parties come to an agreement. So starts the tortuous trip of an unfortunate African, the fall guy of unfeeling men (much later, markets were established to service the rising need for cheap human labour). He never travels alone; there are thousands of them at any occasion, group-chained, flogged to submission and silence, and ‘arranged’ in ships in patterns that guarantee little breathing space and more anguish. Not all of them survived. The dead were tossed overboard.

Sons and daughters, too, no matter how underaged, were hauled across the Atlantic from the African coast to the New World. The survivors were later put on kegs and boxes and auctioned like articles at Sotheby’s. Once sold, they toiled on the cotton, sugarcane or rice fields of their white masters—and it was almost round the clock—with the cruellest of punishments administered to those who attempted to bail (one exhibit shows a dog, purposely trained, biting at the throat of one). Others worked as domestic hands. There is more inside what used to be the District Officer’s administrative block in the colonial years and is a three-minute stroll from the white structure earmarked as the first storey building in Nigeria.

The opening of the museum in August 2002 put the inhabitants in the mood for the second Black Heritage Festival, said to be styled after Ghana’s decade-old Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) and organised to conform to UNESCO’s ‘Slave Routes Project’. Lagos State Waterfront and Tourism Development Corporation, the planners, intends for the festival with time to pep up the tourism receipts of Nigeria’s most commercialised city; for the time being, though, it is finding a sure footing and winning more participants from the Diaspora each year that are the goals.

Day four of the festival was all traditional stuff: The dozen delegates, all of them living in the U.S., had to go through a ceremony of ‘ethnic adoption and traditional robbing’ to choose the local names they wished to bear henceforth. Two home priests in the full glare of the town’s royal head, the Akran of Badagry, conducted that. The idea is not for the new names to replace the initial, but for the recipient to either add them on or to “keep it close to my heart”. The naming was performed with honey, sugarcane, salt, kola, and the other regulars in day-to-day Yoruba naming rites.

The Yoruba in Nigeria look to the Ifa for the same reasons Christians and Moslems search through the Holy Books. No move is made without consulting it. It gave its consent to the names the home comers preferred. At different times during the festival, the kola nut and bitter kola were tossed in another form of customary inquest. Each result turned out a pleasant omen: The land of Badagry agreed with the coming of Mayor Hawkins and co.

Badagry today is a smiling and struggling population of close to two hundred thousand. The Atlantic Ocean, its bane for centuries, flows subtly and quietly; the breeze still blows over it-and onto the mainland, and one can still sight natives paddling away in their canoes in the distance. The one thing it needs now is a rise in stature. The New Nigerians may well make that happen, because already, the group has promised to revisit its scholarship promise to the community’s bright minds; the other project will be to erect another impressive monument to the slave trade a la the ‘Point of no Return’.

The Akran, on behalf of the people, has promised pieces of land to the new natives, because they need, he says, to have their own homes—one they can come to whenever they please.
See all travel writing by Pelu Awofeso.

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from 234next.com
http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5527680-146/story.csp

Council mobilises for Lagos Black Heritage Festival

February 16, 2010 10:38PM
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The Oto/Awori Local Council Development Area says it will mobilise the people to showcase their rich culture at the forthcoming 3rd Lagos Black Heritage Cultural Festival scheduled for April 3- 9.

The festival themed, “Lagos/Badagry 2010”, is aimed at celebrating the creativity of Lagos State in dance, music and theatre regatta.

The Council Chairman, Bolaji Kayode, told News Agency of Nigeria in Badagry on Tuesday that the Council’s contingent had been fully prepared for the festival.

“Our participation in the festival is part of Oto/Awori LCDA’s commitment to promoting arts and culture. We will mobilise our people to feature in the festival particularly in Gelede and Ajegbo events,” he said.

Mr. Kayode expressed the hope that the council’s contingent would lift the laurels in the two events.

The organisers said the festival would be a forum for showcasing Africa’s diverse cultural heritage. The maiden edition of the festival was held in 2001 and was declared open by the former governor of the state, Bola Tinubu.

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from punchng.com

http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art20100319035970

Lagos Black Heritage: A festival of reconnection, revaluation
By Mudiaga Affe, Published: Friday, 19 Mar 2010

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka

Inspired by the spirit of convergence for which the most populous state in Nigeria remains pre-eminent, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said that the forthcoming Lagos Black Heritage Festival would be an event of reconnection, revaluation and re-vindication.

Speaking on the festival tagged, Memory and Performance in the return to Source, Soyinka said, in a statement obtained by our correspondent in Lagos, that the event would celebrate the creativity of Lagos within a ”Carnivalesque of tradition and contemporary dance.”

The LBHF, which holds between April 3 and 9, 2010, is an initiative of the Lagos State Government.

According to Soyinka, the LBHF is a seven-day cultural manifestation during which hundreds of performers will animate the ancient city of Badagry and cosmopolitan Lagos in a blend of the traditional and the modern.

On the theme of the festival, Soyinka, who is the Festival Coordinator, explained that for over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara were hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers often with the active connivance of Africans themselves.

”Millions perish even before their destination along the Trans-Atlantic route and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran. For centuries, and even till date, many could neither recall nor manifest the slightest interest in their antecedents.

”By contrast, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of descendants of victims of this execrable commerce have embarked on the return journey home – some in search of their true origins, others in the spirit of symbolic pilgrimage, and yet others to reclaim and resettle in their ancestral space. Whichever way, for many, this has proved emotional, but with fulfilling experience,” he said.

He said that it was in fulfillment of this yearning for the healing of dislocated sense of identity that the Lagos State Government instituted, with the support of the United Nations‘ Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Black Heritage Festival in the symbolic town of Badagry.

The playwright said the Lagos State Government plans to serve the discerning palates from within the country, the continent and the Diaspora of the Caribbean and Americas.

One of the highlights of the Lagos-Badagry 2010 is a painting competition featuring artists drawn from Nigeria and the rest of the world.

An international jury will decide which of the 25 finalists will be rewarded in the Gold, Silver and Bronze categories which go with the award of $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Comments :

Lagos Black Heritage…… nice 1, but, so far i cant connect the vision of the group their objectivity pursuit, pro grammes and strategy I a son of the soil by interest in badagry thus am in total cooperation with any social articulate school of mission that set to project badagry historical value. meanwhile here is overwhelming challenge, so much is been orchestrated in the median meanwhile all the node features that makes the history are not preserve,e.g slave route,harboure,artenuation

Posted by: eko1city , on Friday, March 19, 2010

Report this comment

The slogan makes no sense to me. What is Lagos black heritage? I’ll rather call it ’Lagos reborn of African Heritage’. It makes more sense and gives me something to look forward to. I do not want to use the slogan of racisim, because that is the way they will call it in a land where there are other colours.

Posted by: Enitan Onikoyi , on Friday, March 19, 2010

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from
http://lagosblackheritagefestival.org/

HISTORY
THE LOGO
THE TEAM

Welcome to the Official Website of the 3rd Lagos Black Heritage Festival!
For over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara have been hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers, often, alas, with the active connivance and participation of Africans themselves. Millions perished even before destination along the Trans-Atlantic route, the Trans-Saharan route, and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran…
More >>

The First Edition of Caterina de’ Medici Painting Award took place in Florence in year 2002. Three Nigerian Artists participated. One of these artists, Olubunmi Ogundare emerged as one of the best ten of the world-wide competitors!
More >>

Présence Africaine

Présence africaine is a panafrican quarterly cultural, political, and literary revue, published in Paris and founded by Alioune Diop in 1947. In 1949, Présence africaine expanded to include a publishing house and a bookstore on the rue des Écoles in the Latin Quarter of Paris. As a journal, it was highly influential in the Panafricanist movement, the decolonisation struggle of former French colonies, and the birth of the Négritude movement.
More >>

**********************************************
The Black Orpheus

HISTORY
THE LOGO
THE TEAM

For over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara have been hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers, often, alas, with the active connivance and participation of Africans themselves. Millions perished even before destination along the Trans-Atlantic route, the Trans-Saharan route, and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran.

For centuries, and even till today, many could neither recall nor manifest the slightest interest in their antecedents. By contrast, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of descendants of the victims of this execrable commerce have embarked on the return journey home – some in search of their true origins, others in the spirit of a symbolic pilgrimage, and yet others to re-claim and re-settle in their ancestral space. Whichever way, for many, this has proved an emotional but fulfilling experience.

It was in fulfillment of this yearning for the healing of dislocated sense of identity that the Lagos State government instituted, with the support of UNESCO, the Black Heritage Festival in the symbolic town of Badagry, one of the more infamous departure points, with surviving landmarks, a Festival that seeks to enshrine the place of Memory in the history of peoples, and to celebrate survival and the resilience of the human will.

The third, 2010 edition of this Festival, appropriately billed as MEMORY AND PERFORMANCE IN THE RETURN TO SOURCE, is planned to raise this awareness to new heights, broaden and deepen the linkage between the African continent and its Diaspora.

This will be effected through a focus on the lives and works of three eminent representatives of, and close collaborators in this racial mission, all three now ancestral figures: the Martiniquan poet, dramatist, pan-Africanist and cultural activist, Aime Cesaire; prime mover of the journal Presence Africaine, and the publishing house of that name, Alioune Diop (whose centennial anniversary comes up in the year 2010, and the poet, essayist, and statesman Leopold Sedar Senghor. With this emphasis, a further step is taken to diminish the fragmentations in a common race heritage that were created through colonization under competing European cultures on African soil.

The three ancestors led a closely intertwined career. Cesaire, it will be recalled, was a principal midwife, in company of Leopold Sedar Senghor and others, of the philosophy of Negritude, the Beingness of Black. In addition to the performance of Cesaire’s plays and readings from his poetry, rare archival material from Alioune Diop’s pioneering journal, Presence Africaine, of which Aime Cesaire was also past president, will be placed on exhibition for the first time in this country. At the same time, Lagos State pays tribute also to the late President Leopold Sedar Senghor who was the inspiration and spearhead of the first ever international Negro Arts Festival (1966), the second edition of which the late Alioune Diop, served as Secretary-General and principal organizer. That second edition was called the Black and African Arts Festival, 1977, better known as FESTAC.

Buffered by a symposium, films, documentaries, a book exhibition, a gallery of contemporary art, music, theatre, concerts, traditional and contemporary dances, a boat regatta, a Children’s Heritage Village and African traditional games, not omitting from the Nigerian Film industry, this promises to be THE cultural event to round off the first decade of the millennium. The City of a Thousand Masks – Lagos – will herself be a player in the events, since the Festival programme will feature a unique competition – in association with the Caterina de’ Medici Foundation – where artists of African descent will vie for the ultimate laurel with their painterly impression on the theme CITY OF A THOUSAND MASKS, a contest that will be held before a live audience.

To sum up, a Festival of RECONNECTION, REVALUATION, REVINDICATION – this is the feast that Lagos State plans to serve up to discerning palates from within the country, the continent, and the Diaspora of the Caribbean and the Americas.

HISTORY
THE LOGO
THE TEAM

The Activities for the 3rd Lagos Black Heritage Festival include:

PAINTING COMPETITION

(Collaboration with Catarina de Medici).

DRAMA / THEATRE

This segment will feature 3 plays:

– King Christophe
– A Season in the Congo
– Ireke Onibudo

Children’s play

DRAMA

CULTURAL PERFORMANCES

MUSIC

The Musical segment of the LBHF celebrates the indigenous Music and Culture of Lagos, Nigeria and the Black World. The segment encompasses every style associated with the city of Lagos. A wide scope indeed as Lagos State represents Nigeria and essentially the Black World.

From Traditional music to Contemporary – Juju to Afro Caribbean.
Ayo Bankole

Steve Rhodes Voices

Lagbaja

Seun Kuti

Fatai Rolling Dollar (Guest Appearance).

Tunji Oyelana – Guest Artist.

Fuji
(Kwam1 / Obesere/ Pasuma )
Apala
(Musiliu Isola / Apala-Porto-Novo)
Hip-Hop
(D Banj, 9ice)
Agidigbo (Eko)

Gbedu Oba (Eko)

CHILDRENS’ HERITAGE VILLAGE

(to be directed by Jimi Solanke).

DANCE & MASQUERADES

– Contemporary Dance

– ATUNDA Dance

Traditional

Ajogan (Badagry King’s Procession).

Vodun (Badagry)

Sato (Badagry)

Bolojo (Badagry/Ijio/Eko)

Obitun (Ile-Oluji/Ondo)

Bata (Lagos/Oyo)

Dundun (Lagos/Oyo)

Ijo Apeja (Epe)

Nyok (Calabar)

Ekombi (Calabar)

Sokorowo (Owo-all female troupe)

Fitila Procession
The sombre Remembrance procession.
Nasarawa Contingent

Masquerades
Zangbeto (Badagry)

Gelede (Badagry)

Eyo (Eko)

Ekpe (Akwa-Ibom)

Igunnuko (Eko)

GALA NIGHT

FILM SHOWS

-> Roots

-> Amazing Grace

CHILDREN’S THEATRE

FITILA PROCESSION

OLOKUN FESTIVAL

OPENING CEREMONY

CLOSING CEREMONY

CLOSING CONCERT

FOOD FAIR

AFRICAN TRADITIONAL GAMES

AFRICAN FASHION /LAGOS HAIR SHOW

ART & CRAFT ZONE

Crafts Artisans from the Lagos region of Nigeria and from around the world converge at Festival Crafts zone to demonstrate and sell their works. It is held at various locations around Badagry, Lagos and other selected locations around Lagos State.

Display Hours are 10am to 9pm.

SYMPOSIUM

The Lagos Black Heritage Festival Symposium creates a forum of Intellectual discourse of themes related to black history, heritage and the relevance of memory to contemporary concerns.

EXHIBITIONS

(a). Presence Africaine – Books Exhibition.

(b). Slavery Objects

HISTORY
THE LOGO
THE TEAM

Wole Soyinka

For over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara have been hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers, often, alas, with the active connivance and participation of Africans themselves. Millions perished even before destination along the Trans-Atlantic route, the Trans-Saharan route, and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran. For centuries, and even till today, many could neither recall nor manifest the slightest interest in their antecedents. By contrast, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of descendants of the victims of this execrable commerce have embarked on the return journey home – some in search of their true origins, others in the spirit of a symbolic pilgrimage, and yet others to re-claim and re-settle in their ancestral space. Whichever way, for many, this has proved an emotional but fulfilling experience.

It was in fulfillment of this yearning for the healing of dislocated sense of identity that the Lagos State government instituted, with the support of UNESCO, the Black Heritage Festival in the symbolic town of Badagry, one of the more infamous departure points, with surviving landmarks, a Festival that seeks to enshrine the place of Memory in the history of peoples, and to celebrate survival and the resilience of the human will. The third, 2010 edition of this Festival, appropriately billed as MEMORY AND PERFORMANCE IN THE RETURN TO SOURCE, is planned to raise this awareness to new heights, broaden and deepen the linkage between the African continent and its Diaspora. This will be effected through a focus on the lives and works of three eminent representatives of, and close collaborators in this racial mission, all three now ancestral figures: the Martiniquan poet, dramatist, pan-Africanist and cultural activist, Aime Cesaire; prime mover of the journal Presence Africaine, and the publishing house of that name, Alioune Diop (whose centennial anniversary comes up in the year 2010, and the poet, essayist, and statesman Leopold Sedar Senghor. With this emphasis, a further step is taken to diminish the fragmentations in a common race heritage that were created through colonization under competing European cultures on African soil.

The three ancestors led a closely intertwined career. Cesaire, it will be recalled, was a principal midwife, in company of Leopold Sedar Senghor and others, of the philosophy of Negritude, the Beingness of Black. In addition to the performance of Cesaire’s plays and readings from his poetry, rare archival material from Alioune Diop’s pioneering journal, Presence Africaine, of which Aime Cesaire was also past president, will be placed on exhibition for the first time in this country. At the same time, Lagos State pays tribute also to the late President Leopold Sedar Senghor who was the inspiration and spearhead of the first ever internastional Negro Arts Festival (1966), the second edition of which the late Alioune Diop, served as Secretary-General and principal organizer. That second edition was called the Black and African Arts Festival, 1977, better known as FESTAC.

Buffered by a symposium, films, documentaries, a book exhibition, a gallery of contemporary art, music, theatre, concerts, traditional and contemporary dances, a boat regatta, a Children’s Heritage Village and African traditional games, not omitting from the Nigerian Film industry, this promises to be THE cultural event to round off the first decade of the millennium. The City of a Thousand Masks – Lagos – will herself be a player in the events, since the Festival programme will feature a unique competition – in association with the Caterina de Medici Foundation – where artists of African descent will vie for the ultimate laurel with their painterly impression on the theme CITY OF A THOUSAND MASKS, a contest that will be held before a live audience.

To sum up, a Festival of RECONNECTION, REVALUATION, REVINDICATION – this is the feast that Lagos State plans to serve up to discerning palates from within the country, the continent, and the Diaspora of the Caribbean and the Americas.

Wole Soyinka
Emeritus Professor in Literature
Obafemi Awolowo University
Nobel Laurette in Literature 1986

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TUNDE KELANI’S LATEST INTERVIEW WITH POSITION TV,JUNE,2009-OUR GREATEST AFRICAN/YORUBA FILM MAKER! -FROM GUARDIAN NEWSPAPERS

June 6, 2009

OUR GREATEST YORUBA FILM MAKER!

OUR GREATEST YORUBA FILM MAKER!

FROM ngrguardiannews.com

Friday, June 05, 2009

Tunde Kelani’s cinematographic life on Position TV
By Michael Orie

POSITION TV featured its first non-visual arts personality on Thursday. The encounter with cinematographer Tunde Kelani focused on issues surrounding the production of films in Africa, the hopes and the impediments. The interview, which ran on Silverbird TV yesterday from 11a.m. represents a bold attempt at examining the bourgeoning film industry especially in the context of evolving technologies.

Tunde Kelani has been at the forefront of a production of cultural films using contemporary themes to paint on the canvas of indigenous myths and traditions. As a director of photography whose primary function area is the photography of the moving image, Kelani tells the story as much as the screenwriter. His passion is to use lights, both natural and contrived, to create images, organize his visual landscapes and to interpret the narrative in concrete terms.

His answer to the regular question, why do you do what you do? Is that he drew a real passion for photography very early in life. He managed to own his first still camera in elementary school and never learned to use it, despite being his regular companion, for many years. It was at Abeokuta Grammar School, that his vision and passion for capturing the world through images grew. The rich Yoruba culture of his immediate townscape, the rockhills of Egba, the sheer splendour of the flora of the deep rainforest surrounding brought the assurances of a fully committed life’s pursuit.

That he would wind up working for the new television arm of the Nigerian Broadcasting Service was inevitable. And from there, he went directly to London Film School, graduating with a professional diploma after a session.

The period of Kelani’s induction into the budding cinema industry in Nigeria coincided with the time of the production of the first generation of indigenous Nigerian films. This period, with all of its hopes and excitements was short-lived. African cinema nose-dived with the declining national economies. Even so did the cinema going culture, which all through the decade following the national independence was practically enjoying a boom.

Kelani thinks the cinema failed primarily because of the absence of the enabling government policies and infrastructure.

That absence itself was the direct result of African politicians not coming to terms with the role of cinema in the building of a nation. Its powers of persuasion that could have been employed to promote development goals, its capabilities as a tool for engendering national pride and racial identity.

Kelani declared that “It was a mistake, and it is still a mistake to leave our film production culture to market forces.

“Before the advent of Nollywood, which emerged and has sustained itself unassisted by the state, Africa practically allowed others to tell her stories for her,” he said.

On the issue of good practice and performance quality especially in Nollywood, he is optimistic that quality is generally on the rise. And he surprised the crew by expressing dissatisfaction even with his own work.

“A lot of work has been done by our establishment here which people appreciate a lot, but they can be done better, with more resources at our disposal. Take our latest movie “Arugba”, for example. We have returned to the film location on several occasions when we had a little more money that we felt we could use to improve on certain aspects of the work”.

But things are bound to be better off for someone like him, than it would be for, say, an upstart. He didn’t entirely agree.

“I think we have been privileged. I have a good education in film production. I have been well exposed. At the time we started things were not as difficult as they are now.

“What can you do when power supply is far from guaranteed? Who wants to buy a film when they have no electricity supply in the house to watch a DVD? I don’t think we have sat down yet to seriously consider how much this country loses because of the unimpressive power sector. You see, that is a real problem for all of us”.

Kelani’s latest film was recently adopted by the Lagos State Government for a series of mobile cinema exhibitions in all the local government areas of the state. That experience of being on the road he is quite grateful for. It is not only reminiscent of the Yoruba traveling theatre tradition which he remembers so well as a very young adult in Ibadan (he was an avid follower of the theatre trends at the erstwhile popular proscenium stage theatre in Ibadan, Obisesan Hall), in recent years, Kelani’s Mainframe crew has engaged in extensive community cinema work in Benin Republic.

“Mobile cinema is one of the ways we can get ahead in the face of our NEPA problem”.

Another interesting revelation from the programme is the discussion on Oshodi. Position TV asked to know if his choice of Oshodi was deliberate and if he gets his stories from his densely populated surrounding. Many writers and artists like to touch base with the people. For example, British-Nigerian author and film writer Biyi Bandele moved down to Brixton in London from the more middle-class setting of Battersea.

Kelani replies: “I have enjoyed living and working in Oshodi. I cannot claim that I have not been inspired by it. We dedicated one of the settings in our film, Ole Ku to Oshodi as a way of documenting it. Nobody knew that Oshodi was going to transform so suddenly. With hindsight, we would have done more work, taken more pictures. All that is now gone. It is a bitter sweet situation”.

EYO FESTIVAL HOLDS IN LAGOS,NIGERIA WITH AN ORGANIZED DIFFERENCE BY GOV. FASOLA!-GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER,APRIL 28,2009(WITH THE FIRST 7 PHOTOS BY EHIS ERO!)

April 28, 2009

CELEBRATING IN THE COMMUNITY OF EKO ISLAND!

CELEBRATING IN THE COMMUNITY OF EKO ISLAND!

BY ERIS ERO

BY ERIS ERO

BY EHIS ERO

BY EHIS ERO

GOVERNOR BABATUNDE FASOLA,LAGOS STATE WHO MADE IT ALL POSSIBLE! HE IS LEADING IN PRESERVING THE YORUBA CULTURE WHICH IS DYING!

GOVERNOR BABATUNDE FASOLA,LAGOS STATE WHO MADE IT ALL POSSIBLE! HE IS LEADING IN PRESERVING THE YORUBA CULTURE WHICH IS DYING!

BY EHIS ERO

BY EHIS ERO

BY EHIS ERO

BY EHIS ERO

BY BROTHER EHIS ERO

BY BROTHER EHIS ERO

by Brother Ehis Ero

by Brother Ehis Ero

eyo-festival6eyo-festival5eyomasquradeeyo-festivaleyo-festival3eyo-festival2eyo-festival4from ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Splendour, as Lagos throbs to Eyo Carnival
By Nnamdi Inyama and Seye Olumide

LONG before the day, Lagos and even beyond, had been abuzz about the Orisa play also known as Eyo Festival.

There had been comments that this year’s edition, organized in honour of the late Chief T. O. S. Benson, a prominent Lagosian and the nation’s first Minister of Information, would be special, and indeed, it was.

All roads on Saturday led to the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in Central Lagos, which was the venue of a spectacular display of colour, dance, culture and tradition by various Eyo groups at an event during which the state, Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) declared that “the best of Lagos was yet to come.”

Those living in the Lagos Mainland and outskirts , at one point on Saturday, began to wonder where everybody else had gone to, why there were so few commercial transport vehicles on the road and why the ones available charged such high fares.

The answer was simple: many people from all nooks and crannies of the state were heading to TBS to watch Eyo masquerades perform in a music and dance drama special to Lagosians.

Every available seat, by 9.00a.m., had been taken up at the TBS main bowl by gaily-dressed Lagosians from all walks of life, who had come to witness the Orisa play.

There were diplomats, who for a while, dropped the starchy formalities of their official duties, captains of industry and commerce , foreign tourists, young men and women as well as children, who arrived in very large numbers in the uniquely designed double-decker tourist buses called Eko Oni Baje.

The event began proper after the coordinated march of the various groups belonging to prominent families in Lagos and the adherents of five deities.

An obviously delighted Governor Fashola, who spoke after the march, said the Eyo Festival celebration was aimed at creating a family day for a very rich and proud festival and rich heritage of Lagos as well as develop opportunities to place it in its rightful position as an event deserving of international recognition and acceptance.

This year’s Orisa play, he said, had promoted entrepreneurship through the various fabrics and hats that had been designed as well as the food and drinks provided.

Describing the event as ” twelve hours of funfair and a whole family day,” Fashola said it has also “shown the true colours of Lagos in terms of its dressing and culture as well as the fact that it is the ancestral home of festival and theatre.

Fashola added that the “Eyo masquerade is one of the richest and proudest statements of the colour, flamboyance and elegance of Lagos which must not die.”

The governor explained that the objective of the innovation of a central viewing place was to provide for larger audience and greater number of viewers within a relaxed, safe and entertaining atmosphere without distracting from the delicate intricacies of the craft or elegance of the culture.

According to the governor, ” in this way, families will get involved in what is usually a day of fun and splendor, and the children will connect with their heritage while the guests will understand the indigenes better”.

Reiterating his ultimate vision for the festival, Fashola declared: “With pride tempered with humility, I have come to appreciate the festival and the need for it to be uplifted for the benefit of the state and as an addition to the world map as an international tourist destination”.

He also said the uniqueness of the Eyo festival stems from the fact that it cannot be run by express calendar, saying: “Sometimes we have had five festivals in one year and there are times we have not had any in a number of years. But I think the most important thing is to let the people see what it portends”.

The governor said the Eyo festival was ” a festival of honour to celebrate great men, Lagosians, Obas of Lagos as part of their coronation rights and other Lagosians who have rendered sterling services and deserved to be honoured.”

He declared that he felt good about the occasion and that Tafawa Balewa Square has come to stay as venue for the carnival.

The Eyo festival featured processions of colourfully dressed Eyo groups in their distinctive hats, robes and wrapper with the staff called opabatam.

The groups danced and chanted various songs while greeting people by touching them with the tip of the staff.

Among the Eyo groups that featured in the processions were Asogbon, Suenu, Bashua, Erelu Kuti, Egbe, Shaasi, Asajon, Eletu Odibo, Aromire, Obanikoro, Oshodi- Bukku, Onisiwo, Bajulaiye, Oloto, Onilado, Akogun Olofin, Olorogun Adodo and Onimole

Others were Bajulu, Olumegbon, Eletu Iwashe, Akitoye, Arobadade, Ogunmade, Onikoyi, Jakande, Etti, Oshodi, Ajiwe Forisha, Onisiwo, Salawe, Faji, Kakawa, Sogunro, Taiwo Olowo and Bajulaiye while the five traditional Eyo deity groups are Eyo Agere, Eyo Ologede, Eyo Oniko, Eyo Alakete Pupa and Eyo Adamu Orisha.

Prominent among those present at the occasion were the Deputy Governor, Sarah Adebisi Sosan, wife of the governor , Mrs. Abimbola Fashola , former Ogun State governor, Olusegun Osoba, Speaker of State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Ambassador Dehinde Fernandez, foreign diplomats and members of the State Executive Council as well as members of the State House of Assembly among others.
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FROM thisdayonline.com

Fashola: Why we revived Eyo Festival
By Nseobong Okon-Ekong, 04.26.2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yesterday described the ‘Adamu Orisa’ Festival, better known as Eyo festival as “one of the richest and proudest statements of colour, flamboyance and elegance of Lagos which must not die.”

Advancing the tourism potential of the Eyo festival, Fashola said his government appreciates the festival and the need for its upliftment for the benefit of the state and as an addition to the world map as an international tourist destination. He expressed fears that unless the festival is re-invigorated, the present generation would not understand its precepts and essence which may be lost in history and distortion.

Justifying the decision to stage the grand parade of the Eyo at the Tafawa Balewa Square instead of Idumota, he said the decision to relocate the festival was reached in consultation with the Oba of Lagos and some elders.

Fashola, who said the “best of Lagos is yet to come” was moved by the spectacle of the play. It was the second time in two weeks that the state made an impressive showing on the national culture and tourism centrestage. The Eyo play 2009 was in memory of the late Otunba Theophilus Owolabi Shobowale (TOS) Benson, an illustrious indigene of the state and Nigeria’s first Minister of Information who passed on last year. Otunba Benson was the ‘Baba Oba’ (Father of the King) of Lagos.

Penultimate weekend, Lagos’ tourism dream was kept alive when it hosted its first ever Beach Carnival at the Tarkwa Bay Beach.

The Eyo festival which was moved outside its traditional home on the streets of Lagos Island to an enclosed venue-the Tafawa Balewa Square-for the first time attracted the cream of Lagos state government officials, the Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos and his chiefs, foreign tourists and the teeming populace was supported by Glo, the telecommunications company, as main sponsor.

By doing this, according to the governor, the “intention was to provide larger viewership within a relaxed, safe and entertaining atmosphere without distracting from the delicate intricacies of the craft or elegance of the culture.”

Fashola said he, Oba Akiolu, noted in his message that each time the Eyo festival is staged, it usually ushers in good tidings. He said, “it is my prayer that this edition will bring peace and prosperity to Nigeria.

This particular edition has exposed the Adamu Orisa play to international stage in the mould of Rio Carnival and the Argungu Fishing Festival in Northern Nigeria. It is my hope that the next edition will be more glamorous and fun filled.”

Giving another reason for relocation of the festival to Tafawa Balewa Square, Oba Akiolu said it was intended to “reduce to the barest minimum, the illegal and criminal acts of some people which are not part of the Eyo tradition.”

The last Eyo festival, according to Chief Taoridi Ibikunle, the Akinshiku of Lagos and head of all Eyos, was staged six years ago, in August, 2003 in honour of the Late Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II.

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FROM ngrguardiannews.com

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fashola at Eyo Festival, pledges to uplift Lagos culture and tourism
By Andrew Iro Okungbowa

LAGOS Island, the commercial nerve centre of Lagos State, yesterday wore a colourful outlook, as it played host to the Eyo Festival, in celebration of an age-long cultural heritage of the people of Isale-Eko in Lagos Island.

The Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), venue of the cultural and communal fest, was all adorned in colours with people filing into the massive ground as early as 6am to witness the re-enactment of one of the richest and rarest cultural displays, which turned out to be a massive carnival of sort, with the whole of Lagos Island taken over by huge human and vehicular traffic.

At the festival was the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who was also dressed like one of the Eyo Masquerades in an all-white outfit and spotted brown coloured lace tied round his shoulder but without the mask. He was ushered into the festival ground along with some of his commissioners and state functionaries who were also dressed in the same manner amidst shout of joy and excitement by the people.

In his goodwill message at the occasion, the governor took his audience down memory lane, saying: “I recall with nostalgic pride that as children, we looked forward to Eyo festival days when Asoje (incantations) were memorised and silently recited by Eyo Masquerades.” He described the festival as a showpiece of the richness and flamboyance of the state and something that must not be allowed to die.

“The Eyo Masquerade is one of the richest and proudest statements of the colour, flamboyance and elegance of Lagos, which must not die,” said the governor. He added that the desire by the state government to celebrate the festival at the TBS rather than Idumota, the traditional venue of the festival, was informed by the need to renew and bring back the colourful, entertaining and rich cultural heritage of the people.

Fashola said the intention of the state government is to uplift the festival to become a tourist attraction for the public to enjoy. “Our intention is to provide for larger viewership within a relaxed, safe and entertaining atmosphere without distancing from the delicate intricacies of the craft or elegance of the culture.”

For the governor, “this way, our families will get involved in what is usually a day for fun and splendour; our children will connect with their heritage and our guests will understand us better.”

He enjoined the people to embrace the culture of the country, stressing that culture is dynamic and that Eyo festival has already adapted itself to modern trend, which is something for everyone to take part in.

The festival is traditionally held in honour of a departed Oba of Lagos or the ascension to the throne of a new Oba and as well as in honour of a departed illustrious son of Lagos. This time, the festival was staged in honour of the late Chief Theophilus Owolabi Shobowale (TOS) Benson, who died last year.

In his remark at the festival, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Aremu Akiolu 1, expressed the hope that the celebration of Adamu Orisa would bring peace and prosperity to the country. He also prayed for the people of the country and the leaders, just as he expressed the hope that the festival would rise to the position of a tourist event for the state and enjoy the status that tourism festivals such as Argungu Fishing and Osun-Osogbo enjoy in the country and the international community.

In attendance at the event were a number of the state government functionaries, chiefs from the state, family members of TOS Benson. Others include the former governor of the state, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, the former deputy governor of the state, Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele, the former governor of Ogun State, Segun Osoba and Donald Duke of Cross River State.

For the people who thronged to the venue from all parts of the state and even from other states, with a couple of international visitors sighted at the ground, it was an occasion to celebrate and enjoy the feel of the festival as people followed the long procession of the Eyo masquerades, danced and sang in an atmosphere of conviviality.

The Fuji exponent, Wasiu Ayinde, Kwame I, who was the musical artist of the festival, added colour and entertainment to the festival with his rave performance. Another popular music icon, D’ Banj, also put up a scintillating appearance.

The festival also afforded vendors of different items to make brisk business while it lasted.

© 2003 – 2009 @ Guardian Newspapers Limited (All Rights Reserved).
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from sunnewsonline.com

Sunday, April 26, 2009
Large turnout at 2009 Eyo Festival
Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lagos witnessed a large turnout at the 2009 edition of Eyo Festival, the annual masquerade festival of the state, held yesterday at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) on Lagos Island.
At different bus stops, there were long queues of persons eagerly waiting for the free buses released by the state government to convey people to the TBS.

The roads leading to Lagos Island was free of traffic, due to the fact that commercial vehicles had been barred from plying the route on that day.

Sunday Sun reporters who monitored the festival saw beautifully-attired masquerade groups at the Tinubu Square moving in processions into the TBS. There were different groups, ranging from the very young ones to older Eyos.

Observers held their shoes and slippers in their hands, as wearing them is said to be offensive to the masquerades.

At the crowded square, the different masquerade groups danced, gyrated and regaled in processions, amid cheers from the crowd. Each group was distinctly marked by the colour of their wide-brimmed hats, as every one of them was dressed in white covering them to the feet. Each also carried a large stick, with which they flogged people wearing shoes or hats.

Mr Olasede, a carpenter from Iyana-Ipaja who came to witness the event, told Sunday Sun that the hats belonged to the different Eyo societies, which include Eyo Oniko, Orisha, Ologede, Bajulaye, among others.

One of the masquerades, who spoke to Sunday Sun, said they were happy with the Lagos State government and telecommunication giants, Globacom, for their support of the festival, stressing that the people’s confidence has been restored that this aspect of our cultural heritage will survive.

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from vanguardngr.com

Adamu Orisa: Lagos festival play of history…
Written by Azu Akanwa
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Lagosians most respectable and symbolic festival, Adamu Orisa Play otherwise known as Eyo will troupe out the streets of Lagos Island, popularly called Eko in the hinterland of Lagos on April 25, 2009 to mark the final burial rites of late Chief Theophilus Owolabi Shobowale (TOS) Benson (SAN). This year’s festival will mark the 67th in the history of Eyo festival. About 53 groups (Iga) will participate in this year festival with five groups of the orisas as the head of all. The Adimu, (Orisa baba Nla Mila); Okanlaba Ekun (Alakete pupa), the Olopa Eyo; Eyo Orisa Oniko (Abara Yewu), Eyo Orisa Ologede and Eyo Orisa Angere respectively will lead in the festival.

Eyo Masquerades on display

Otunba Benson made forays into politics quite early in his lifetime and made quite an impact. In 1950, when the mayoral system of local government was in force in Lagos, he contested and won election to the Lagos Town Council and emerged the Deputy mayor under the banner of the defunct National Council of Nigerian Citizen (NCNC), while in 1951 he was elected representative of Lagos in the Western House of Assembly. He moved up the ladder in 1953 to become the leader of the opposition party in the House, when the late Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, the leader of his party and his political mentor, returned to the East to become the premier of that region.

In 1959, he recorded another electoral victory which made him the representative of Lagos in the Federal Parliament. He became Nigeria’s first Federal Minister of Information, courtesy of the political accord between Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), the leading political party at the centre then and the NCNC, his party. Otunba Benson was one of the very few politicians of note in the south-west who was not part of what could arguably be described as the mainstream of Yoruba politics apart from his membership of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa during his student days in the United State of America.

The Supreme head of all Eyo, Adimu (Orisa Baba Nla Mila), has reiterated its uniqueness among other orisa groups of Eyo. Prince Iyanda Bashua, Bashua of Lagos gave this indication at the Awe Adimu in Lagos penultimate week. According to him, the Eyo festival, Adamu Orisa Play is the traditional play of Lagos that is staged for the commemoration of final burial obsequies of an Oba or a chief and sometimes in memory of a deceased person who had contributed to the progress and development of Lagos.

Bashua, who spoke on behalf of Chief Amao Ibikunle, the Akinsiku of Lagos, the Alaworo Eyo and other members of the Olorogun-Agan and Olorogun Igbesodi, said people do not have to recite aro Eyo to participate in Eyo. “In Awe Adimu, only children of Adamu Cult or somebody that is introduced by eminent personality in the society are registered for Eyo Adimu.”

He reiterated further that majority of Eyo of Adimu are eminent personalties in the society. We have doctors, lawyers and justices etc here. No miscreant here!” Bashua explained.

Eyo festival has made a lot of impact in tourism industry from the time the Portuguese first set foot on Eko and christened it Lagos, the Island has attracted foreigners on account of its many advantages as a seaport. It is also gathered from a number of sources at the Awe Adamu (meeting place of Adamu) that traders from Europe were attracted and were content to transact their businesses and get away before the Coast fever claimed them.

However, apart from the Brazilians and Sierra Leonians (freed slaves) who returned from the America, Lagos attracted other Africans and West Indians. Being a seaport, the Island is cosmopolitan and these groups found conditions so suitable to them that they decided to settle in every sense of the word.

This means that they threw their lot with the indigenes and kept only a token association with their original homes. Indeed, their children knew of no other place than Lagos as their home and it is only fair that having lived in the Island for more than seventy years they should have the right to be called Lagosians. These settlers have really proved their worth as part of the indigenous community and a picture of old Lagos is incomplete without their notable families.

Proof of their acceptance is that some of them have married native Lagosians.

However, at the Awe Adimu, (meeting place for Adamu elders) on, Tuesday, 14th April, 2009 for the staging of this year Adamu Orisa Play in the memory of late Chief Theophilus Owolabi Shobowale (TOS) Benson many dignitaries were present.

Vanguard Arts gathered at the Awe that the Eyo Orisa Oniko was formerly the next to Eyo Orisa Adimu in rank but the elders affirmed that Oba Adele during his reign asked for Okanlaba second position and it has been like that since then. Our source also confirmed that Eyo Okanlaba has no orisa but ’Laba (symbolic Bag), which is the property of reigning Oba. Meanwhile, Vanguard Arts, can now reveal that Okanlaba second position in the orisa groups has remained like that and will be so forever.

Adamu Orisa Play has its history dated back to 155 years ago and the procedure for staging it is that any person or family that can afford the expenses of staging it, or any family that wants “Eyo masquerade” in the name of their house must first consult the families of Olorogun Agan and Olorogun Igbesodi and appraise them of such a desire.

The two families will then direct the person or family to the reigning oba of Lagos. The family or the person will be led to the Awe Adimu with the Oba’s official staff and two white capped chiefs.

At the Awe Adimu the person or the family will be issued “Ikaro” to Awe Adimu (all the articles and cash for providing certain things for the obsequities) At this stage, no other family/families is/are allowed to be present at the presentation of ‘Ikaro’ to “Awe Adimu” by the family or person willing to stage Adamu Orisa Play, than the two families of Olorogun Agan and Igbesodi. No other orisa family or Eyo Iga family would also be present. Meanwhile, each “Orisa of Eyo” has traditional functions which it must perform and as directed by the Supreme Head of all the Orisas, the “Orisa Adimu”, including the Eyo Onilaba known as the Eyo Oba or Eyo Alakete Pupa. EYO ONILABA (EYO OBA): They function as the “Police” of the Orisa Adimu Administration. They also ensure and maintain maximum discipline among the Eyo groups.

They must ensure that Eyo groups keep to the rules and, regulations of Adamu Orisa Play or Eyo Play. They take directives from Awe-Adimu and maintain regular contact with Awe Adimu throughout the preparation period and Adamu Orisa Play Day.

Other major function of “Eyo Laba” is to construct “AGODO” an enclosure constructed with mats on the eve of Adamu Orisa Play along Enu-Owa Street. Now Iga Iduganran Street, to house the drummers, on the instruction of the Elders of Awe Adimu. They are among the Eyo groups to lead “Opa Processions” for the announcement of Adamu Orisa Play Day.

“ORISA ONIKO” The outing of this Orisa during the midnight/early morning of Adamu Orisa Play Day is to ensure that the devil and other evil spirits are driven away from the town. The Orisa must choose some of his followers, whom is believed would be taking part in the Adamu Orisa Play, to lead “Opa Processions” for the announcement of Adamu Orisa Play Day.

“ORISA OLOGEDE” similarly, the above mentioned functions of “Orisa Oniko” must be performed within different time of the early morning of Adamu Orisa Play Day. The purposes of Orisa Ologede’s outing at this time is to ensure peace, tranquility and safety to the performance of the day. The followers of Orisa Ologede also lead “Opa Processions” for the announcement of Adamu Orisa Play Day.

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