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.
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 were:
- Drama (Tragedy, Comedy, Humoristic plays, poetic recital, children’s show),
- Music (Traditional African Music, Traditional African-American Music, Traditional Afro-Caribbean Music, Modern-African Music, Modern Australasian Music, etc),
- Dance (Traditional African Dances, Traditional Afro-American Dances, Ballets, Contemporary Dance Theatre, Traditional Caribbean Dances, etc.), Film (Feature Films, Short Length Films, Documentary Films, etc.),
- Gala Night
- Popular Dressing
- Exhibition (Exhibition on Religion, Exhibition on Royalty and Chieftaincy, Exhibition on Modern Architecture, Tribute to African Womanhood Exhibition, etc.) including Nigeria’s Special events (2000 years of Nigerian Art and Culture, Durbar, Boat Regatta)
While the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture lasted for good (twenty-nine days) 29 days having today’s FESTAC TOWN as the then Festival accommodation for the period of that event, the Black Cultural Festival which held in Darkar, Senegal in April, 1966 lasted for only (2weeks) 14 days.
However, Nigeria was named the STAR COUNTRY at Darkar Festival which was the first of its kind, in recognition of her rich cultural heritage, and thus was invited to host the Second Festival to improve on what took place in Darkar. This was at that time scheduled for 1970. However, due to the 1967-1970 Nigerian civil war and its aftermath, it could not be held that year.
The title Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture was officially amended by the International Festival Committee after its second meeting held in Lagos from 26-31 March, 1973. This was to facilitate the participation of Arab Countries in North Africa which, though African, are not Black. The International Festival Committee categorically stated at its second meeting that the Festival would be open to four categories of participants:
- All African Countries;
- All Black Communities in all countries of the world;
- The Liberation Movements recognised by the O.A.U, now AU, and;
- All Member Countries of the O.A.U (AU).
The participating countries throughout the Black and African World were divided into administrative zones, each consisting of a number of Countries.
The Festival Emblem, Flag and Anthem were approved for the Festival by the International Festival Committee (IFC).
Drawing on the principal aim of the Second World Black and African Festival and Culture which was to promote unity among Black and African people and also to facilitate their world acceptance and ensure the revival, propagation and promotion of their access to world outlets through their contributions in visual arts exhibitions, arts, crafts, literature, music etc, to world civilization, we are bold to state today that the efforts of our heroes will never go in vain.
On this note we will want to sincerely congratulate His Excellency Lt-General Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State and the Festival Patron, under whose “roof” the actualisation of FESTAC”77 took place. It is indeed a giant stride to reflect on this day.
We take an honourable bow for our eminent organizers Commander O.P Fingesi, the Festival President, Col, Amodu Ali, The Chairman of Colloquium, Mr. Ambrose Mbia, the festival Secretary-General, Late Dr. P.O Zirimu, Director of Colloquium, may his noble soul Rest in Peace, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Prize Winner in Literature and many others.
You all made history through your efforts and hard work. More Power to your elbows!