Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC)
The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) was established by Decree 69 of 1979 following the successful and epoch-making hosting of the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77). The Centre houses all the materials which constitute the core collections, artifacts, and rare cultural items that were used during FESTAC ’77. The decision to handover these materials to Nigeria Was to reinforce and build upon the gains of the historic festival. It was in fact in fulfilment of Nigeria ‘s pledge to keep the materials in trust for the 59 Black and African countries and communities which participated in the Festival that gave impetus for the establishment of the Centre.
To achieve its set goals, the Centre holds seminars, workshops, public lectures, exhibitions and symposia. The Centre engages in other activities which project the overall image of Black and African Peoples and enable their cultures to be appreciated globally. Through its numerous programmes, the Centre has continued to contribute to the pool of universal knowledge on Black and African Peoples.
Statutorily, the Centre is charged with the responsibility of promoting and propagating Black and African Cultural Heritage in its totality. The strategic mandate of the Centre, and the key role it has been playing in making Nigeria the arrowhead in the presentation, promotion and propagation of African cultural heritage informed the decision (vide government white paper on the report of the Presidential Panel on the Review, Harmonization and Rationalization of Federal Parastatals, Institutions, and Agencies in 2000) to upgrade CBAAC to an African. Heritage Center .
To be the foremost Agency to encourage, initiate, facilitate and coordinate the retrieval and restoration of natural and cultural heritage of the Black and African Peoples for the purposes of protecting, preserving and projecting them for enhanced understanding and appreciation.
To promote public interest in, understanding and appreciation of Black and African Arts and Culture with a view to emphasizing the contributions of Black and African Peoples to World civilization.
The functions of the Centre are clearly spelt out in section 4 of Decree No. 69 of 1979 establishing the Centre as follows:
- The Centre shall be a multi-dimensional institution and shall, subject to this Decree, have responsibility for the promotion of public interest in Black and Africans Arts and Civilization and for the preservation of such creative work of value:
- of each participating country during the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Cultures 1977 (hereinafter in this Decree referred to as “the 1977 festival”) or similar cultural manifestations; or
- of any other country or individual where such creative work has emanated from or pertains to the 1977 Festival or similar cultural manifestations, donated to the Centre either directly or through the International Festival Committee of the 1977 Festival or hereafter donated to the Centre by any person or organization.
- In pursuance of sub-section (1) of this section, it shall be the duty of the Centre
- to locate, identify, and assemble for better preservation all recorded matter, published materials and museum artefacts relating to the-1977 Festival and to prepare an inventory of these works;
- to promote understanding and appreciation of Black and African arts and cultures by involving the general public in its activities through lectures, discussions, symposia, exhibitions, performances and demonstrations of arts and crafts;
- to acquire from zonal secretaries of the 1977 Festival/and any other source, creative records relating to past and future world, regional or national festivals of arts and culture of relevance to Black and African arts and civilization;
The Director, as the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre, is charged with the day-to-day management of the Centre and is responsible to the Board and the Honourable Minister of Culture and Tourism. The operational divisions of the Centre are as follows:
- Research and Publications
- Documentation Services (Library and Archives) Exhibition and Museum
- Finance and Administration
- Information Management (Audio-Visual and Computer Units)
- Corporate Affairs Department
The current activities of the centre span the following areas:
- Internal training programmes
- Public lectures
- Symposia seminars
- Library services
- Archival services
- Audio-visual outreach
- Cultural exchange programmes
FESTAC ’77 – Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture
The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture which was held in Lagos, Nigeria from January 15 to February 12, 1977 has a long history behind it.
From Drama, to Music, Dance, Film, Literature, Colloquium, Gala Night, Popular Dressing down to Exhibition, including Nigeria’s Special events, were some of the activities/events that pulled thousands of people from over 59 Black and African Countries and Communities according to information gathered from reports of FESTAC.
|United States of America||United Kingdom|
|Trinidad and Tobago||The Black Community in Holland|
|Gabon||The Black Community in Germany|
The festival Emblem was a world-famous 16th Century Ivory Mask worn as a pectoral by Benin Kings on royal ceremonial occasions. It was last worn by King Ovoramwen who was dethroned at the fall of the Benin Empire in 1897. Report had it that since then, the renowned art object had remained in the British Museum whence it was removed by the British after the sack of Benin. Negotiations and diplomatic moves designed to secure the release of the mask for the Festival were unsuccessful and a replica had to be made by a Benin Ivory Sculptor.
The tricolour Festival Flag has three equal perpendicular rectangles. The two outside rectangles are in black and the central rectangle is in gold. Over the gold is superimposed centrally, The Festival Emblem. The black colour represents the Black people of the world while the gold depicts the cultural wealth of the Festival Participants and their association with the non-Black peoples of the world.
The text of the Festival Anthem was extracted from a poem “For My People” written by an American Black woman, Mrs Margaret Walker. The poem has inspired millions of Black Americans in their struggle for survival in the United States. The refrain “Festac 77 is here” was introduced by Dr. Akin Euba of Nigeria who composed the music.
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