Africa’s World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures Recap: Great News Overlooked

January 21, 2011 § 6 Comments

It was supposed to be the most significant and talked-about cultural event in Africa in 2010 after the World Cup. The 3rd World Festival of Black Arts and Culture had thousands from around Africa and the black Diaspora flocking to Dakar, Senegal last December, but for some reason it ended up receiving scant attention in the mainstream media. And it was certainly not for lack of celebrity attendance; heads of state like Ellen Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia and Libya’s Gaddafi, entertainers like Wyclef Jean, Angelique Kidjo, Youssou N’Dour, Dead Prez, Manu Di Bango, Busta Rhymes, to name a few, all took part in the various events. Senegalese-American artist Akon was the festival’s closing act at a free concert on New Year’s Day. In fact, all the concerts were free. There were arts and craft shows, cinema, design,

Akon closed the Festival with a performance at Leopold Senghor Stadium

theatre, literature, music, dance, sport, and even discussion round tables. And the guest of honor? Brazil, which has the largest population of black people outside of Africa. The Festival actually returned to Senegal in 2010; in 1966 poet and then Senegal President Leopold Sedar Senghor launched the first World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures. With its emphasis on identity and the diversity of African cultures, entertainers from all over the Black world showed up: Duke Ellington, Alvin Ailey, Clementina de Jesus, et al. Nigeria hosted the second edition in 1977, when it was renamed the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture,


FESTAC ’77 for short. The original name was restored for this 2010 edition, with its theme being an African Renaissance. As one of the organizers, Abdou Aziz Sow put it: “We’re not shouting about our blackness, we’re affirming our blackness. But we’re also putting it in the context of the renaissance of African culture, which can later lead to a new discussion about what made Africa before others arrived and pretended to have discovered it.” After hunting like a Diogenes to find some sort of coverage of all these events, I finally came across a site that had a correspondent there! Please check it out below for a variety of photos, videos and general information of the festival:

Team Shae’s Festival Coverage: World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures

Also came across this blog post from Afropop Worldwide:

Sean Reports from Senegal’s World Festival of Black Arts and Culture!

Here’s another review of the festival from Arts Review:

Arts Review: 3rd World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures

For more in-depth information on the festival, check out the official website here. Bless…

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§ 6 Responses to Africa’s World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures Recap: Great News Overlooked

  • Cool links, there is also a good article in the New African this month by Mya Padmore if you have access…

    I once wanted to write about Festac 77 but gave up once I realised that there is hardly any info or footage from the event. Such a shame.


    • Thanks for bringing that to our attention, MsAfropolitan! I’ll be sure to check it out. Yeah, it is a shame about the lack of Festac ’77 material. But I’m still on the hunt; there’s bound to be something hidden somewhere out there…

  • very glad to see our country orgonize a very successed festival for fisrt time with our good not the to be a liberal citezen but i said the true.evrybody is agree for the good organisation of this this occasion i thank the leader azize sow for his willingness

  • Van says:

    Dear all –

    There is an interesting book written by historian – Andrew Apter called “The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Nigeria”, the whole book basically deals with FESTAC, and he talks about the FESTAC archives in Lagos…

    Maybe could shed some light on the subject…


  • Jekami Deleola Adebayo says:

    I am very glad that there are some of us who tends to recognise certain historical events in our Mother Continent (Africa). Festac 77 was something the Nigerian Nation should have kept at Heart as I believe the Estate Created back then is also a national monument along with the International Trade Fair Complex that came along with it. But Some how we cant even get materials from the Festival itself.

  • mustafaa says:

    when is the next festival? I am in South Africa we want to take part in the festival. email me at ( from Mustafaa

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