Here is why everyone is going to Abeokuta for the Ake Festival

Posted on November 07 2016 , at 02:50 pm
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  • For the fourth time, Abeokuta will be hosting the yearly Ake Arts and Book Festival.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Kenyan novelist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o

If only for a few days this November, the capital of Ogun State will be the centre of the Nigerian literary universe.

For the fourth time, Abeokuta will be hosting the yearly Ake Arts and Book Festival; five days of cultural immersion into African literature featuring novelists, poets, artists, musicians and other creative professionals.

Holding between November 15 and 19 at the Arts and Cultural Centre in Kuto, Abeokuta, the theme for this year’s edition is ‘Beneath This Skin’. To reinforce the year’s theme, there will conversations about identity, race and individuality of the black race.


The festival will also feature 18 authors in nine book chats, art exhibitions, stage play, in-depth interview, film screenings, creative workshops, a music concert, a tour of historic sites and a night of poetry performance.

SEE: Colourful pictures from the 2016 Ojude Oba Festival in Ogun

Literary icon and Kenyan novelist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o will be headlining the festival and talking to journalist Okey Ndibe about his life and his work.

There would also be a Palmwine and Poetry Evening featuring South Africa’s Lebo Mashile, Michael Kelleher from the US and Nigeria’s Titilope Sonuga and Dike Chukwumerije.

Laolu Sebanjo

Nigerian visual artist Laolu Sebanjo, more famously known for the remarkable body art on show in Beyonce’s Lemonade visual album will be exhibiting some of his work. Also, photographer Fatima Abubakar, will be exhibiting photographs from her Bits of Borno collection.

There will be a film screening of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy, a non-fiction feature which chronicles the former Chadian dictator who in 2016 was tried and convicted in an African court of sexual slavery, torture, and the ordered killing of 40,000 people.

The stageplay, Iyalode of Eti, will also be on show during the festival with a star-studded cast. Inspired by John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, and set in pre-colonial Yorubaland, the play tells the story of how a woman fights for her heart in a land ruled by men and riddled with rituals, hauntings, double-crossings, playful levity, and potent tragedy.

For 90 minutes, singers Brymo, Falana and Adunni Nefertiti will thrill the festival-goers in a concert that is sure to be memorable.

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