By Ayodeji Adesina
Students of Creative Arts, University of Lagos (UNILAG), organised a carnival and drama to celebrate black culture. AYODEJI ADESINA (400-LEVEL Mass Communication, UNILAG) captures the excitement.
The procession of revelling students around the University of Lagos (UNILAG) a fortnight ago could have passed off for London’s Nottinghill Carnival celebrated yearly by black immigrants. The revellers comprised creative arts students, who staged a cultural show tagged: “Afro-Caribbean festival”. From planning to execution, it was clear that the students were out to send a message to the world.
Prior to the event, there was excitement among students and members of staff. Banners and posters adorned strategic locations on campus. Even a first-timer could perceive that something interesting was in the offing. Tickets sold fast during the drama week as the performers embarked on rigorous rehearsals at the main auditorium. Some worked on scripts; others erected the rostrum and yet others sewed costumes.
The organisers deployed enough resources to promote the programme. On the D-day, the students were divided into groups, each with its own unique and style. There were eight groups. The mission was to project cultures of selected African and Caribbean countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago.
The group that displayed Nigerian cultures wore attires peculiar to the northern, eastern and western parts of the country. Amid the rendition of the National anthem, the students shielded themselves under green and white umbrellas to add beauty and glamour to the event.
The Egyptian team was led by “Pharaoh,” accompanied by his queens, maids and security guards with the paraphernalia of the Egyptian civilisation. The Pharaoh looked grim in a black cloak laced with gold stripes. His queens wore silk golden regalia.
The South African traditional apparels were noticeably glowing as students in this category dressed in Zulu attire with leopard-skin leather cloth tied around their waists and shoulders. Six students in the group carried spears and shields and pranced back and forth as if ready to strike. The “Zulu king” dressed like a warrior going to battle with spear-bearing men trailing him closely.
In their brownish and purple brocades, the king and queen of Trinidad and Tobago rode on the white horses majestically and intermittently waving their hands to the cheerful crowd. The Brazilian group equally rolled out their samba drums and danced to entertain the audience.
Many students commended the pageant as the Arts students marched around the campus main road, singing and dancing.
For Daniel Adewunmi, 200-Level student of Political Science, the festival was a good way of promoting the black culture.
“Africans must begin to appreciate their culture. We have a rich heritage in Africa. And as you can see, the participants are sending messages about various ethnic and cultures of the black race. This is a splendid way to remind us of our origin and lost values.”
Abiodun Ajisafe, 200-Level Surveying, said the initiative, if sustained, would attract tourists from all over the world to Nigeria.
Eniola Alebiosu, 100-Level Geophysics, expressed surprise that students could hold such a carnival in the academic community.
“Many students watched in awe as the procession progressed because nobody believed that an event of such magnitude was possible,” Eniola said.
A week after the carnival, the students performed another round of drama starting with. Wole Soyinka’s Death and the king’s horseman. The decision to dramatise Soyinka’s play, according to the lecturer who supervised the carnival and drama, Mr Otun Rasheed, was to celebrate the Nobel laureate whose birthday coincided with the drama week.
Students who watched the stage play commended the actors for their forthrightness and equally thanked Dangote Group, which sponsored the event.
The second and third day plays featured 3rd World War and The Marriage of Anansewa, written by Ahmed Yerima.
Courtesy: The Nation Newspaper.