The 17th edition of the annual Culturati, Africa’s largest cultural fusion event, was held on Sunday, December 3rd, 2023 at the Balmoral Hall, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, showcasing the beauty and diversity of Africa’s rich culture. An initiative of the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Idris Aregbe, the event also created avenues to harness youths’ potential, tourism, and economic development. Writes MARY NNAH
Culturati, an annual cultural fusion festival, has become a bedrock for fostering a deep appreciation for the complexness of African culture, while also serving as a powerful vehicle for sustainable progress and economic development.
Tagged, as Africa’s largest cultural fusion, Culturati has been breeding the development of Africa’s concrete and abstract cultural assets as a means of developing comparative advantages in an increasingly competitive tourism marketplace, and to create local distinctiveness in the face of globalisation.
It has sustained the fusion of arts, culture and tourism as major drivers of destination attractiveness and competitiveness.
In its 17th edition, Culturati 2023 had the theme, “Enhancing Africa’s Economy Through Investment in Culture, Arts and Tourism”, with special features which included a beach-side exhibition, showcasing an ethnic food village, African fashion display, African traditional dance, African artworks, games, talent hunt and more, celebrating values and igniting Africa.
This year’s edition, which connected people to African culture, had exciting and educating activities that weaved around African culture, with Culturati food fiesta portraying the rich assortment of African food and beverages, connecting various people to African food delicacies, components and economic opportunities while boosting the local tourism and hospitality sector.
The event featured various displays of African culture from different masquerades, including Eyo traditional drums and dances, comedy, and many more.
Dignitaries that attended the event include the Chairman House Committee on Tourism Arts and Culture Hon. Solomon Bonu, the Chief of Staff to Mr Governor, Mr Tayo Ayinde, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, Permanent Secretary Mrs Oloruntoyin Atekoja amongst others.
Believing that African culture is a powerful force for creativity and economic growth, Culturati 2023 was dedicated to harnessing the potential to engage and empower youths, promote cultural tourism, generate employment, and boost the African economy.
It aimed to further explore new opportunities within African culture for investments in music, arts, and food. These initiatives are poised to empower youths and significantly boost the African economy, aligning perfectly with the Global Sustainable Development Goals.
The Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Tourism, Arts and Culture and brain behind, Culturati, Mr. Idris Aregbe during the event expressed the belief that African Culture can be translated into a sustainable vehicle for youth empowerment, tourism promotion and other economic initiatives that resonate with global sustainable development goals (SDGs), given the latent economic potentials therein.
“The dire unemployment situation precipitated the cultural movement SISI-OGE in 2006 to bring attention to the potential of African culture. Over a decade SISI-OGE metamorphosed into CULTURATI which has become Africa’s largest cultural fusion, continually creating business opportunities for many young cultural buffs to leverage on, rewarding cultural excellence while celebrating Africa’s rich and diverse cultural heritage”, he noted.
The fiesta programmed to herald the annual Culturati celebration brought tourists closer to locals through a delightful variety of foods and beverages and flavoured the local economy by creating jobs around local food products.
The fiesta provided identify conservation and authentic brand development with food items regarded as culturally embedded symbols and markers of place identity.
Aregbe noted further that this year the event was a lot more robust in terms of brands and audience engagement with several interactive segments that amplified the beauty and diversity of African culture with the Culturati market showcasing the ingenuity of craftsmen.
“The Culturati food Court saturated with an assortment of delicacies portraying the richness of African cuisine, the Culturati Fashion Show, with the best dressed African of the evening carting home a prize. The whole essence is to open up economic opportunities in African culture for youth empowerment, tourism promotion and general economic development”, he added.