Home Music intervention How Kaduna Book, Arts Festival Creates Platforms for Artists in Northern Nigeria

How Kaduna Book, Arts Festival Creates Platforms for Artists in Northern Nigeria


Since its inception in 2017, the Kaduna Book and Arts Festival has been the melting pot for Nigerian creators inside and outside Nigeria. This year was no exception as the crème de la crème of the art industry came together for another fiesta.

Artists and creative minds from nooks and crannies of Northern Nigeria have converged on Kaduna to showcase their talents and witness the various exhibitions featured during the 4th Kaduna Book and Arts Festival (KABAFEST).

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Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the 4-day event showcased diverse creative minds and ideas, including poets, writers, dancers, musicians and artists.

The event also featured a special performance by a Nigerian artist, Jordan Bangoji. The 22-year-old writer, singer and performer was among the top 12 contestants for Nigerian Idol Season 7 in 2022.

Kaduna State Governor Malam Nasir El-rufai revealed that the idea for KABAFEST was conceived after attending Ake Festival in Abeokuta and thought it would benefit many creative minds in Northern Nigeria .

The festival is one of the biggest arts events in Northern Nigeria and attracts arts and literacy enthusiasts from Kaduna State every year to participate in a variety of activities.

Daily Trust on Sunday recalls that the first edition of the festival, held in 2017, was led by Sudanese author and first Caine Prize winner, Leila Aboulela, and featured more than 50 writers, artists, actors, poets and performers from around the world entire.

Our correspondent further reports that the 2022 edition of the festival held from Wednesday, September 14, 2022 to Saturday, September 17, 2022 had an extensive lineup of 72 guests and over 500 attendees, including Umar Turaki, Uchenna Emelife, TJ Benson, Bisi Adjapon, Hauwa Slaeh, Leye Adenle, Richard Ali, Sasa Malumfashi, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Abdulkareem Baba Aminu among others.

Guests were treated to a variety of poetry, music, art fairs, panel discussions, book talks, a Balangu evening, dance performances, breakfasts, Northern delights, a taste of Lebanon, film screenings and discussions.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that there were nine panel discussions on very key topics, including Kannywood: Film as a Vehicle for Social Change; Almajiranci and improving literacy in Nigeria; Sexual Harassment: A Silent Epidemic; the pressure of sexual performance; improving literacy in Northern Nigeria and managing cultural events in Northern Nigeria.

Others were, Towards Lasting Peace in Northern Nigeria, Women and Effective Leadership in Northern Nigeria and Rebuilding Cosmopolitan Cities in Northern Nigeria.

In his opening remarks at the welcome ceremony, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said the purpose of the festival was to provide a platform where creative minds from northern Nigeria can showcase their talents.

According to him, “When we launched KABAFEST in 2017, our goal was to institutionalize the cultural calendar, a suitable platform for the talent that exists in this part to grow and interact with creatives from other parts of the world.

“After the success of the inaugural edition in 2017, we were happy to hold the festival in 2018 and 2019 before the uncertainties and disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the 2020 and 2021 editions. We are however delighted that KABAFEST is back as an important part of our creative arts program which is dedicated to nurturing, promoting and celebrating the creative potential of our people.

He added, “As one of the largest states in a diverse country, Kaduna is the epitome of diversity, cultures and languages ​​to the landscape. This variety is a blessing and the interaction of these cultures and languages ​​enriches us all, for literature and the other arts go a long way in helping us to understand ourselves better, to question where we are and to indicate where we could go.

He regretted that due to the rail incident, the Abuja-Kaduna train is still not available and assured that with the offensive operation against bandits by the security agencies, Kaduna will be secured by the 5th edition of the festival.

While thanking the organizers of the event, he noted that cultural dialogue aside, creative art could in itself be a source of economic dynamism saying, “The Nigerian film industry, our musicians and our photographers are innovating and demonstrate sustainable viability”.

In her welcoming remarks, the director of the Book Buzz Foundation, an NGO dedicated to promoting literacy, creating reading spaces and organizing literacy and cultural events such as The Ake Arts and Book Festival which is the organizer of the festival, Lola Shoneyin, congratulated the people of Kaduna State for hosting an event which brought together so many distinguished and accomplished personalities, many of whom hail from the northern part from Nigeria.

She said: “Indeed, Kaduna and other parts of the country have had their challenges, but it is unfortunate that events, where creativity and ideas are celebrated, do not get the same coverage as stories of conflict. , violence and banditry. We then have no choice but to tell our own stories, ourselves, to affirm the range and multiplicity of our experiences.

“The KABAFEST 2022 program is designed to educate, challenge, inspire and entertain. KABAFEST enables us to explore a range of themes and topics, to bring together people who have diverse ideas and points of view and we must never underestimate the powers of cultural dialogue, the way it breaks down barriers and helps build bridges, especially in states like Kaduna, where there is ethnic and religious diversity.

However, discussing the topic, Almajiranchi and improving literacy in Northern Nigeria, the three speakers comprising of Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Maryam Augie Abdulmumin and Abdulrahman Usman Leme shared their views on what the challengers are and offered solutions to meet the challenges that accompany the Almajiri system of Education.

According to Abdulaziz, “I have been in two bandit camps in Zamfara State and had contact with them and the only link between the impression that the Almajiri are recruited by bandits is that one of the malams of the bandit camp was an Almajiri. before joining the gang and after joining, he also serves as a malam. Apart from that, there is no connection but that does not exclude that one or two almajirai can be recruited by these terrorists.

“The government must find a solution to this problem because it is a collective problem. Since the government cannot continue to support the responsibility of others, parents should be made to take responsibility for their children, otherwise it will continue to bind us.

For Abdulrahman Usman Leme, no data linked almajiranchi to ongoing banditry in the country and underscored the need for the government to mount a deliberate intervention to address the problem.

He added, “The situation requires serious intervention and it cannot be left in the hands of civil society organizations (CSOs) or development partners alone.”

Highlights of the event were the presentation of the Life Achievement Award to Audee T. Giwa, Professor of English at Kaduna State University (KASU) for her outstanding writing of fiction in Northern Nigeria, as well as the presentations of the Hamza El-Rufai Short 2021 History Prize and Andrew Nok Poetry Prize 2021 to students of Zamani College, Kaduna.