|Posted by Samuel Osaze on November 29, 2011 at 6:40 AM|
The annual Lagos Book and Art Festival, LABAF, which is in its 13th year and is run by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), started on Friday, November 18 to and will come to an end on Sunday, November 20. The theme for this year’s edition is ‘I Vote to Read: The Book and the Voice of the People’.
Professor Tunde Babawale, who is the director general of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), declared the festival open at Freedom Park, Lagos on Friday morning. He also regaled the many children who attended from schools around Lagos with tales of his encounter with the book. He encouraged them to read if they hoped to gain knowledge and become people of influence in the society. He read a passage from D.O. Fagunwa’s book, ‘Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmale’ (The Forest of a Thousand Demons), which he said is his favourite and told the children that it was the first book he ever read.
Professor Babawale moderated the first of the Festival Colloquia with the theme: ‘Documenting the Governance Challenges: Africa in the Eyes of the Other’. Books considered were ‘A Swamp Full of Dollars’ by Michael Peel, ‘Dinner with Mugabe’ by Heidi Holland and ‘A Continent for the Taking’ by Howard French. Those on the panel included: theatre director, Wole Oguntokun; Mr. Tunji Ladna, who was at a time a consultant with the World Bank; Miss Lanre Sasore, who works with the United Nations, among others.
The second session was moderated by Chief Keith Richards, the managing director of Promasidor and it had books like; ‘The State of Africa’ by Martin Meredith, ‘Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink’ by John Campbell and ‘It’s Our Turn to Eat’ by Michaela Wrong. Panellists included: Oguntokun, Niran Okewole, Adeniji and Ogui.
Activities on the first day closed with ‘How Familiar is this Town? The City as a Key Character in the Fictional Narratives of the Continent’. The moderator for this discussion was Mrs. Yemisi Fadahunsi. Together with a panel including the poet, Dagga Tolar; journalist and editor, Derin Ajao; actor, Lola Akindoju and Ugwomah Adegoke of the Lifehouse they delved into the books; ‘Good Morning Comrades’ (Luanda, Angola) by Ondjaki, ‘The Yacoubian Building’ (Cairo, Egypt) by Alaa Al Aswany, ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’(Ibadan, Nigeria), ‘Tropical Fish’ (Entebbe, Uganda) by Doreen Baigana and ‘Under The Brown Rusted Roofs’ (Ibadan, Nigeria).
The festival continued till Sunday the 20th of November and had stands where guests could buy books, a children segment with activities including creative writing tips, green creativity workshop, games and so much more.
CORA was founded in June 1991 with the MISSION to create an enabling environment for the flourishing of the contemporary arts of Nigeria and to increase human capacity of the continent. VISION is to make Culture the Prime Investment Destination for the Country and the Continent by 2018.
The festival is supported by Vanguard Media Limited, Guardian Newspapers, TV Continental, Top Radio, Homestead Publishing/Waka About, Century Energy Services, Z-Mirage, Freedom Park, Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas Limited, British Council, Pillar Oil, Platform Petroleum, Renegade theatre, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation and Goethe-Institut, amongst others.
CORA is grateful to all its partners and sponsors for making a success of one of the most important book events in the country.