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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, artefacts, and rare cultural items that were used during FESTAC '77.

Walls of Benin


Duke Ellington


Siddi, African tribe in India




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Duke Ellington

Performing at the 1st World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar, Senegal, Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.


The Siddi is an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan. They are descended from the Bantu peoples of the East African region. Some were merchants, sailors, indentured servants, slaves, and mercenaries.




Neferneferuaten Nefertiti (c. 1370 – c. 1330 BC) was an Egyptian queen and the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they worshiped one god only, Aten, or the sun disc. With her husband, she reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history.

A German archaeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt discovered the bust in 1912 in Thutmose's workshop. It has been kept at various locations in Germany since its discovery, including the cellar of a bank, a salt mine in Merkers-Kieselbach, the Dahlem museum, the Egyptian Museum in Charlottenburg and the Altes Museum. It is currently on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin, where it was originally displayed before World War II.




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 .

The functions of the Centre are clearly spelt out in section 4 of Decree No. 69 of 1979 establishing the Centre as follows:

  1. 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:
    1. 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
    2. 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.
  2. In pursuance of sub-section (1) of this section, it shall be the duty of the Centre­
    1. 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;
    2. 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;
    3. 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;

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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:

  1. Research
  2. Publications
  3. Conferences
  4. Workshops
  5. Exhibitions
  6. Internal training programmes
  7. Public lectures
  8. Symposia seminars
  9. Library services
  10. Archival services
  11. Audio-visual outreach
  12. Cultural exchange programmes
International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) International Council on Archives (ICA)
West African Museum Project (WAMP) International Commission for the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Properties/Monuments (ICCROM)
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Institute for Bantu Civilization (CICIBA)
Group for Children in African Museum (GCAM) French Cultural Centre
Goethe Institute Smithsonian Institute
International Council of Museums (ICOM) Globalization, Identity Politics and Social Conflicts Project (GIPSC)
Pan African Strategic and Policy Research Group (PANASTRAG) Kent State University, U.S.A
World Garifuna Organization, South America Book Aid International (BAI)
African Ancestry  

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.

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Brazil Cuba
United States of America United Kingdom
Ireland Australia
Ethiopia Sudan
Zambia Swaziland
Kenya Senegal
Uganda Tanzania
Zaire Burundi
Lesotho Cameroun
Egypt Tunisia
Trinidad and Tobago The Black Community in Holland
Libya Suuriname
Mali Ghana
Gabon The Black Community in Germany
Zimbabwe Algeria

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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In Pixels

Be inspired!

Emminent heroes of FESTAC ’77

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    Contact Info

    36/38, Broad Street, Lagos, Nigeria

    Phone: +234 803 345 6383

    Mobile: +234 803 770 5008

    Web: www.cbaacfestac77.org