Lagos to hold pan-African carnival, ‘Afropolis’, to boost tourism

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By Taiye Olayemi

The Lagos State Government is set to hold the maiden edition of a pan-African carnival, ‘Afropolis’, for the promotion of black cultural heritage, creativity and innovation.

Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, the state Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, who disclosed this during a Town Hall meeting in Lagos, said the Ministry was collaborating with Qudus Onikeku, a multimodal international artiste.

She said the goal of Afropolis, slated for Oct. 26 to Nov. 3, was to foster collaboration, inspire innovation, celebrate the diverse traditions and creativity of Africa as well as boost tourism.

Benson-Awoyinka said the carnival was a platform for African creatives to come together to showcase their talents, exchange ideas and collaborate on groundbreaking projects as well as create truly unique things.

According to her, the festival will feature a curated marketplace, traditional and contemporary performances, exhibitions, and much more.

She said it would bring together creatives, innovators, and enthusiasts from across the continent and beyond, thereby boosting tourism.

“Afropolis is not just an event but a celebration of our rich cultural heritage, creativity, and innovation of Lagos state.

“Lagos, as the host city, is proud to be at the forefront of this cultural revolution. Our city is renowned as the largest black cultural melting pot in the world, and we continue to lead in various creative sectors such as music, fashion, gaming, tech, design, film, dance, AI, and research.

“Our young talents are making significant strides on the global stage, and events like Afropolis provide them with the visibility and opportunities they deserve.

“The essence of Afropolis lies in its ability to bring together a diverse array of creative minds.

“Imagine the vibrant fusion of traditional and modern expressions that will be on display, from indigenous crafts to cutting-edge digital art,” she said.

According to her, Afropolis will be held at J.Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, located around the Onikan suburb of Lagos, known as the third coolest neighbourhood in the world in 2019.

She explained that the Afropolis carnival would transform Onikan’s main street—J. Randle Road—into a vibrant hub of artistic and technological excellence.

Giving more details on the event, Onikeku said that Afropolis would be a pan-African gathering of creatives and curious people.

According to him, it seeks to promote African culture for economic competitiveness.

Highlighting programmes of the nine-day event, Onikeku said Afropolis would feature a maker fair, pop up fashion stores, arts and craft market and live performances.

He said that other features included street arts, street food, street vendors, music concerts, Djsets, master classes, meetings and networking other speed pitches.

“The rest are talks and round tables, gaming, innovation, exhibition, children playground and urban culture display,” he said.

According to him, Afropolis will also see a range of smaller break-outs as well as highly interactive sessions and master classes focused on topics across creative sectors.

Onikeku said: “It is projected that Afropolis will attract more than 1,000 creatives and exhibitors from aArica and the diaspora.

“We also expect more than 20,000 visitors, buyers and delegates from Africa, the diaspora and the rest of the world.

“It provides a platform for young talents to showcase their ideas, and stimulate economic growth for local vendors, artisans and global African creatives to showcase their product or services.

“It will position Lagos as a hub for technology, creativity and innovation by leveraging the festival to showcase African advancements in art, tech, gaming, design, fashion and other creative fields.”

He said that Afropolis would ensure that creatives were able to meet and network, and also meet with buyers, potential partners and investors.

Onikeku said Afropolis had the potential to ensure long-term economic and cultural benefits for local businesses and residents.

Michael Deecan, Netherlands Consul General in Nigeria, said, “This is a laudable initiative and I am looking forward to the event in October.”

Also, Blessing Azubike, Senior Programmes Manager, CC Hub, one of the partners for the carnival, expressed excitement being on the project.

Azubike said, “We are passionate about anything co-creation which is what we are on board to do, we will be serving on the technology component of the gathering.”

Ajibade Adewale, Group Head, Partnerships, Wema Bank, assured revellers of safety with their finances in the course of business transactions during Afropolis carnival.

“We will ensure your transaction is taken care of digitally, we are also there to guarantee that your money is safe with CC Hub because we are partnering with them as well.” (NAN) (nannews.ng)

Salisu Sani-Idris

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