FESTAC ’77

The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture popularly known as Festac ’77 was a  month-long event (from 15 January 1977 to 12 February 1977) celebrating the African culture. It showcased to the world: African music, fine art, literature, drama, dance and religion, with about 16,000 participants, representing 56 African nations and countries of the African Diaspora; the colorful event was unprecedented and gracious.

The opening ceremony of the festival took place on 15 January 1977 inside the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. One of the highlights of the ceremony was a parade of participants representing 48 countries marching past visiting dignitaries, diplomats and the Nigerian Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo.To symbolize the freedom and unity of Black peoples 1,000 pigeons were released; a shango priest also set the festival bowl aflame. The festival events usually began around 9 a.m. lasting till the midnight.

Artists who performed at the festival included the great Stevie Wonder, Gilberto Gil from Brazil, Bembeya Jazz National from Guinea, Mighty Sparrow from Grenada, Les Ballets Africains, South African Miriam Makeba, and Franco Luambo Makiadi. At the time it was held, it was the largest pan-African gathering to ever take place

 

The emblem of the festival was an royal ivory mask of Benin
The official poster
Opening ceremony of the FESTAC ’77
Simba Wachanga leads the USA contingent at the opening ceremony of Festac 77. February 1977. Lagos, Nigeria.
A capacity crowd of more than 100,000 people graced the opening ceremony
2nd World Festival of African Art and Culture
United States delegation being received at the Festac Secretariat for official welcome.
Lagos, Nigeria
Elated Pan-Africans gleefully participate
The Boat and water contest
The worldwide event made front page in the national newspaper

Fela Kuti was a big critic of FESTAC ’77 calling it a rip off

Festac ’77 participant interact among each other

 

 

 

 

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