October 4, 2022
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CBAAC takes cultural festivals to Ibadan – The Nation Newspaper

  • November 1, 2021
  • 10 min read
CBAAC takes cultural festivals to Ibadan – The Nation Newspaper

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Last week in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, dignitaries gathered from far and near to celebrate the rich cultural values of Africa. Put together by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the two day event of cultural festivals also witnessed a public lecture and the celebration of dances, fashion, drumming, hairstyles and more in the annals of Africa. Edozie Udeze, who witnessed the shows writes on the glow it added not only to Ibadan city, but to the hearts of guests who partook in the euphoria.
If there is one parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture that always clings to the tenets of promoting African cultural values, it is the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC).  The Director General of the Centre, Hon. Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao is tenacious about her resolve to bring to the fore the norms of Nigeria and to a large extent African cultural elements for the interest of all Blacks all over the world.  Within a few years of her arrival to CBAAC, there have been a good deal of cultural celebrations to put the parastatal in the eyes of the public.
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Last week in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, CBAAC hosted the world to a variety of cultural shows.  It was two days of cultural displays – dances, dramas, fashion parades, musical renditions, drumming and more, that indeed attracted people from far and near in an atmosphere of cultural milieu and relaxation.  The first day witnessed an avalanche of events in what was titled: Celebrating the rich diversity of black and African traditional music, dance and drama through the promotion of traditional music and rhythms, drumming and dance steps.  The shows brought out the best in Nigerian artists who displayed cultural values in different styles and modes.  The cultural festival at a stage appeared like a street carnival and this pleased the hearts of guests who sat glued all through the event.  The day ended remarkably well.
By the pool side of the Owu Crown Hotels, Ibadan, the mid day blissful breeze seeped deep into the skins of people.  The setting was cool; with the tables set around the vicinity.  Flowers of green – white – green colours adorned the arena.  In-between the shimmering streams of the swimming pool beckoned.  Guests arrived leisurely adorned in rich cultural attires eager to glitter, in the beauty of the esplanade.  The idea of the poolside show was to further cement the aroma of beauty in the minds of visitors.
And this worked.  On the second day when a public lecture was held, the water bubbled endlessly with intensive attraction.  The theme of the 2021 public lecture was: African hairstyles, dress culture and fashion in contemporary times.  The day was set agog by Jimi Solanke, chairman of the occasion.
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A seasoned broadcaster and gifted story-teller, the presence of Solanke immediately ignited the mood.  Most people were glad to see him face to face.  And he did not disappoint.  He said: “I love African traditional values”. As he said so his face wore his trademark smiles.  “When Lagos State turned 50, I was made to write a play on hairstyles, African hairstyles.  I have been a promoter of African Cultural values for a long time”.
As he spoke, the crowd cheered and responded appropriately.  “Yes, hairstyles enhance the beauty of our women.  When a woman does her hair, no matter the style, her beauty blossoms the more.  Then people will admire her, pay closer attention to her person.  In other words, we cannot separate what our women are from their love for traditional hairstyles.  In that play also, I added the relevance of Sango who is almost the only deity in Yoruba that braids his hair.  This way, other female deities fall within his spell and he dominates them all”.
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While his baritone voice boomed and reverberated within the arena, Solanke went on: “Also in the area of batiks, today we transport adire from here to America.  Also, we are the most fashionable people in world.  This goes to show that we love our traditional inheritance, what we have as our customs.  We have kente, aso-oke and more and where ever we go dressed in them, we look attractive, classy, extra-ordinarily beautiful”.  He drew attention to other places where these fabrics are produced.  For him, Nigeria can overcome the world through fabrics, good dress sense and more.  Then make these known throughout the ends of the earth.  Also train the young ones.  With this, he set the tone for the day’s programmes and discussions and demonstrations.
In her welcome speech, Hon. Amao, full of enthusiasm said: “African hairstyles and braids, dress culture and fashion are some of the continent’s major creative ingenuities and products that have become predominant among Africans especially women.  While these creative endeavours have been known and practiced in the continent for a long time, they have over the years undergone tremendous transformation from being day to day endeavours to major sources of empowerment”.
Amao, a great Amazon of African culture herself is consistent in her belief that Africans can reach out to others via the powers of traditional values.  “There is increasing popularity of African creative and artistic products all over the globe with African braids and hairstyles, dress and fashion, birthing new trends and gaining prominence not only in African, but the entire world”.
Basically, the programme was meant to gather these artisans together.  It was an ample time to practicalise most of the issues of fashion.  Various experts were on hand not only to teach and instruct, there were students, trainees and so on who were there to equally learn more ideas about their fashion business.  This was why Amao noted that, “Hence, there is need to promote these aspects of our creativity towards ensuring that it serves as major sources of income and empowerment to our people.  Therefore, there is need to give adequate attention to these endeavours, by deploying effective strategies to fully develop them as small and medium enterprises for socio-economic upliftment”.  Here also, her candid statement elucidated attention.
While the Director hit the nail on the head, there were clusters of movements and activities within the arena.  Some of the fashion designers and their lieutenants present were in the mood to open up.  But before then, Christian Kolawole Love, a legal practitioner who gave the keynote speech mounted the podium with renewed vigour.  A firm believer in the powers of the youths to grow Nigeria for a better tomorrow, he said: “Oh, yes, Africa is the future of the world.  The youths have a bigger role to play henceforth.  Africa and Nigeria are the epicenter.  We have all it takes to move the world to the next level.  Africa has the best arid and fertile land spaces to feed the world.  We have the fashion also to trigger attention, to make a lot of changes.
“Yes, we have survived Covid-19 to the surprise of the entire world.  This shows that we are resilient in all spheres.  We have our rich cultures – hairstyles, foods, fashion, languages.  People who are proficient in their local languages do better in English.  We need therefore to celebrate ourselves.  At no time should we feel inferior or inadequate about what we possess by nature.  We must love our cultures, our inheritance, because these define us, tell who we are”.
Christian Love who is an investment attorney went on: “You see how the Asians have developed in all aspects.  They love their cultures, they celebrate their local languages.  They cherish what is theirs.  If we can do that with the varieties of cultures we have, we will overtake the world.  Nigeria will be more productive if we stick to what we have to develop internally.  We also need to get integrated, love one another, throw away corruption, hate, tribalism and such other issues that divide us.  Then we build a nation where no one is oppressed.  Upon that we will also be known as people of trust just like the Swiss are known with the money you entrust in their care”.
With Ayodele Okundalaiye alias Saco, a hilarious comedian dishing out jokes, the gathering had no dull moments of dullness.  Also there were interludes of dances, fashion displays, cultural performances which kept guests ever aglow.  The performances came with rich and deep songs to celebrate Africa.  The Island Theatre Villa from Lagos held the arena spellbound with deep-rooted evocation of the drums.  The dance-dramas revolved around the issues of fashion and designs, with different colours of costumes made of adire and aso-oke and more.  They all painted the esplanade in colours of beauty and love.
Olusola Babatunde, a banker – turned fashion designer who was one of the facilitators attracted an unprecedented uproar when she came on stage.  She said: “Africans design for the world. It is a good profession and we need to project it to the world.  This is why we are bringing the youths into it and try to train them as well.  As we do so, poverty is reduced, more people are empowered also”.
Angela Eyekosi also lent her voice.  Her love for beauty is endemic.  Equally she brought some of her samples of braids to make the message stick.  In the end, Amao gave scholarships to a few young fashion designers.  Her intention was clear, to help intensify the efforts to grow the local business and ensure the youths are kept busy, properly empowered.  And then came time for make-up artists to also display their crafts.  Mostly, make-up artistes are hardly seen in the open.  But the Ibadan outing has shown that they are not spirits.  There on stage, they demonstrated bits of their artistry to the total admiration of many.  It was glorious.  It was indeed fantastic.
It must be recalled that part of the reasons CBAAC was established after FESTAC ’77 is to safeguard, promote, and prosper relics of African arts and cultures.  Every Black person in the world therefore becomes the primary concern of the Centre.  This is exactly what Hon. Amao has continued to do with pride and precision, spreading the good news of the richness of African heritages.  Some of the personalities at the occasion include: Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed, Sikiru Odewoyi, Folusho Lawal, Taiwo Raji, Onyinye Odika, Lateef Gbadamosi.  Others are Leke Falase, Bukky Alabi, Biola Amao and wife, Funmilayo
Akande, Seun Awodele, Lateef Adetunji and others.  Some schools were also in attendance.
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