Hopes for massive Pan-African event to celebrate FESTAC 2017

The NTA reports that the Pan-African Cultural Congress Bureau (PACCB) has announced plans to hold the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 2017. The event will mark the 40-year anniversary of enormous groundbreaking jamboree FESTAC ’77.

Held in Lagos in 1977, the month-long event celebrated new African culture, engaging some 16,000 participants from across the continent and the wider diaspora – big names on the bill included Stevie Wonder and Les Ballets Africains – making it the largest pan-African gathering of its kind.

President and director general at the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Dr Ferdinand Anikwe, said the event would mark the 80th birthday of former military head of state in Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

He said PACCB member states have all agreed to celebrate FESTAC in 2017 and called upon the original participating members to join FESTAC 2017.

However, Anikwe warned that hosting by a single country might not be possible ‘owing to several financial challenges confronting every nation on the continent.’ Instead he called on member countries and interest groups to look at co-funding the event.

‘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.

The academic added that FESTAC 2017 would unite cultural programmes with football games, sporting competitions, cultural groups, dancers, choreographers and singers.