AnikweThe Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation, Chief Ferdinand Anekwe, has said that it would develop programmes that would project the country’s cultural heritage.

Anekwe, who succeeded Professor Tunde Babawale as the CEO, said some tangible aspects of African culture were yet to get adequate exposure.

This, he noted, was hindering the development of the sector, as it was limiting its capacity to contribute to the country’s economy.

Speaking on the programmes that CBAAC would pursue at a media briefing in Lagos, he cited artefacts inherited from the Festival of Arts and Culture as some of the products.

Although he wants CBAAC to continue to be active in the area of intellectual activation, he said attention must also be focused on the other aspects of the centre’s mandate.

Anekwe, who commended Babawale for the role he played in bringing CBAAC to the limelight, said, “The CBAAC Museum is one of such areas that we must showcase to the globe. There is also the traditional African architectural design, which must be preserved and promoted. The Europeans have beaten us in almost everything except culture, and we must collaborate with other stakeholders to preserve and promote it. Also, we want to update some of the documentaries on FESTAC for the younger ones to appreciate.

“The books and journals would still continue to be published. I am not saying that the academic programmes would be relegated, but that theatrical performances would be added. This is because there are African countries with peculiar festivals that must be promoted. So, when we do such, it falls within our mandate.”

While CBAAC will also hold a Colloquium in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in the coming weeks, it is also planning to establish a research and exhibition centre for masquerades.

One area Anekwe, however, had to work hard is in generating funds. In recent years, most of the parastatals in the sector have practically been grounded due to shortage of funds.

Our correspondent gathered that CBAAC particularly had issues at the levels of the National Assembly, Finance Ministry and even the supervising Ministry of Culture. As a result, the machinery of work slowed down – a syndrome that is said to have also affected others, including the National Troupe of Nigeria.

Underscoring this point, Anekwe said, “It is difficult to find culture-friendly government. So far, the government is funding the sector to the best of its ability. But, we would ensure that private partners are approached to assist in this regard. Also, we shall be looking inward to source for funds from some private individuals who are culture-friendly.”

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