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Nigeria: Kaduna Book And Arts Festival, Kicks Off Experiencing Overwhelming Attendance Despite Resistance

The Kaduna Book and Arts Festival (#KABAFEST) in northern #Nigeria kicked off yesterday despite a number of online attacks and prodding to boycott the event. The festival, which has been announced would be an annual event will run from the 5th to the 8th of July, 2017. Sudanese writer and the first Caine Prize winner Leila Aboulela will headline the festival while other writer like Dami Ajayi, Toni Kan, Titilope Sonuga, Efe Paul Azino, Kadaria Ahmed among others will be joined by HRH Lamido Sanusi Lamido and Matthew Kukah for various panel discussions. The festival is in its first edition and it has seen a massive turnout.

Kabafest. Photo: YouTube

The Kaduna Book and Arts Festival (KABAFEST) started as a quiet affair. There was hardly any knowledge of the event, not even any sort of advertisement to show that an important book festival such as this was taking place in the northern part of Nigeria until there were calls for boycott from certain quarters. The call for the festival to be boycotted was spearheaded by Ikhide Ikheloa who cited the killings of the Shiite Muslims in Nigeria under the watch of the Kaduna State governor Nasir el-Rufai. This however led to more publicity for the festival which kicked off yesterday with a full house with an approximate of 600 people as compared to the 250 hall capacity.

Sudanese writer and the first Caine Prize winner Leila Aboulela headlined the festival. She facilitated a special fiction workshop for women, where attendees will learn the rudiments of fiction-writing and how best to develop their narrative voice and writing style.

The festival will run till the 8th of July and will have over 50 writer, poets, filmmakers and thinkers in attendance. The festival will also feature 5 booklogues, 9 panel discussions, an art exhibition, 2 film screenings, food tasting events and poetry performances.

KABAFEST is run in collaboration with the Book Buzz Foundation which also runs the Ake Arts and Book Festival. The new director of KABAFEST, Lola Shoneyin said, “We aim to create new and exciting opportunities for social and cultural interaction, the celebration and promotion of creatives in the Northern region of Nigeria and foster tolerance and understanding through dialogue about books, culture, the Arts and society.” KABAFEST is part of the centenary celebrations of Kaduna State, which is introducing a literary event to its cultural calendar.

Yesterday the opening ceremony started off with poetry from Efe Paul Azino, one of Nigeria’s top spoken word poets, as well as the rendering of the national anthem by Nigeria’s top musician Jeremiah Gyang.

While the art exhibition which took place yesterday showcased the works of Jerry Buhari, Kaltume B Gana, Mariam Oyawoye and Nura Garba.

The festival is in its first edition and has seen a massive turnout. School children are not left out of the programme of events; they will take part in the poetry declamation contest for secondary schools. Students attending tertiary institutions in Kaduna State who registered before 5 July can attend for free. They can also apply online for a N10,000 book grant. For the duration of the festival, there will be a fantastic bookstore on-site which will offer a wide range of books at a special festival discount rate.

Kabafest. Photo: Kabafest/Twitter

Leila Aboulela will be joined by other creatives such as Zainab Alkali, Jerry Buhari, Kaltume B Gana, Nura Garba,Williams Chechet Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Aisha Umar, Toni Kan, Titilope Sonuga Edify Yakusak, Efe Paul Azino, Aminu Alan Waka, Hafsat Ahmad Abdulwaheed, Andrew Walker, Carmen McCain, Ibrahim Bello-Kano and Dami Ajayi.

Matthew Kukah and HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will participate in panel discussions. The panel discussions will revolve round topics such as religious tolerance, the challenges of publishing in northern Nigeria. Kadaria Ahmed will be in discussion with HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Aisha Umar and Saudatu Mahdi about harnessing the potential of women in northern Nigeria. Hafsah Abubakar will have a chat with Rahama Sadau on the art and activism, while Anwalu Anwar, Hafsat M A Abdulwahid and Balaraba Ramat Yakubu will discuss modern Hausa literature with Carmen McCain. Zaynab Alkali and Leila Aboulela will talk about the contributions of Muslim women writers in today’s world.

KABAFEST is however not just about books, but also about culture. Delicious desserts from Northern Nigerian will be sampled.

Via: This Is Africa

 

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