For some people, the best time of the year is Christmas, for others, it’s the new year and all the renewed hope it brings. Clearly neither set is Nigerian, because what is a Christmas or a new year when the Ake Festival is right over here, looking to brighten your whole life.
The 7th edition of the Ake Arts and Book Festival held at the Alliance Française Mike Adenuga Centre which everyone always pronounces the correct way. Yay to Primary 4 beginners French finally getting some exercise.
This years Ake had the theme – Black Bodies, Grey Matter and there was so much to see and experience, I may have gotten mild whiplash from flipping my neck so much, trying to get a good look at everything.
Here were some of my favourite highlights.
Remember our article about what to wear to the Ake Festival? When we say this year’s guests took it to the letter and then some? Just look at some of the gorgeous attendees.
If you were at the Ake Fest and you’d like us to hail your lewk, make sure to tag us on your social media platforms, we’re everywhere.
Sterling Bank, a major sponsor of the 2019 Ake Festival did the absolute coolest thing to take the Ake experience to a whole other level with The Village Arena by Sterling.
They had hostesses in traditional wear standing outside to direct guests, perhaps in line with this year’s theme of Black Bodies and Grey Matter, perhaps to gift us a little eye candy for the road, either way, I’m not mad at it.
The inside had checkers, Ayo, free laali Check our editor’s piece – Ope Adedeji, who also did a great job moderating a panel.
It also had a never-ending supply of tamarind, zobo and palm wine. I’m not one to report myself, but my tongue has been sporting a permanent blue-tongue since Thursday.
Their zobo was too litty!
For the first time ever, there were also food vendors at Ake. There was rice, shawarma and amala in whom my fupa was very pleased.
Panels, Interactive sessions and Side-shows.
Food is great, drinks are divine and guests are fabulous, but you know what was absolutely fantastic? The meat of the Ake Arts and Book Festival – the panels, book chats interactive sessions, concerts and performances.
The festival started with a culture journalism workshop sponsored by NewsCentral. Heavyweights in the industry like Nichelle Smith of USAToday, Gary Younge of The Guardian and Adrian Harewood, anchor of CBOT’S CBS News took Nigerian journalists on topics ranging from historical investigative journalism, to finding the story in everyday life events to the basics of conducting interviews.
There were panels on topical issues like sexual violence, body modification and social acceptance, gender binaries, religious extremism, the Nigerian brewery sector etc.
I wish I could explain to you how fantastic these were, but you had to have been there. Literally.
There was an interactive session on filmmaking I absolutely loved, handled by Funa Maduka, a former Netflix director. A one-man play given by Tope Tedela called Whumanizer, electrifying performances from Fokn Boys, Dwin The Stoic, Ibeji etc.
Then there was the gallery!
Works were displayed by Niyi Okeowo, Etinosa Yvonne, Hakeem Salaam and Halima Abubakar.
In all, the 2019 Ake Festival was truly unmissable and just as unforgettable. Here’s to next year’s!