INTRODUCTION: The second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture -- Festac '77 -- has opened in Lagos, the Nigerian capital.
INTRODUCTION: The second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture -- Festac '77 -- has opened in Lagos, the Nigerian capital. Leaders and other government officials of several African nations attended the opening ceremony on Saturday (January 15). Fifteen thousand participants in the festival are representing more than 60 nations and black communities all over the world.
SYNOPSIS: The Nigerian head of state, Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo, attended the opening ceremony at the city's new stadium. Other heads of state present were King Moshoeshoe of Lesotho, President Felix Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast, Sir Dawda Jawara of the Gambia, Omar Bongo of Gabon, Siaka Stevens of Sierra Leone, General Felix Malloum of Chad, President Pinto Da Costa of Sao Tome and President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. Bunion, Ghana, Liberia, Swaziland and Uganda have sent their representatives. Senegal is officially boycotting the event. Dancers from Ethiopia headed the colourful parade on the stadium's ground.
Senegalese President Leopold Senghor says Nigeria is trying to assume the right to dictate African culture because of its oil wealth.
Among the 15,000 mainly-African participants there are big delegations from the United States, the West Indies, Brazil and other countries of South and Central America.
It was at the second Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Rome in 1959, that decision was taken to organise cultural festivals at regular intervals to bring together black artists, writers and African men of culture. The first festival in the series was held in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, in 1966. Initially the Lagos festival was due to be held in 1970, but the civil war in Nigeria, and t hen a military coup in the country, put the opening date back.
During Festac '77 African and black artists are taking part in events including exhibitions and programmes of dances, music, drama, film and literature. The focal point of the festival is the colloquium on the theme of "Black civilisation and education."
Nigerian head of state, General Olusegun extended a welcome to the participants and guest.
The festival will last until the 12th of February.