It was a rich potpourri of theatrical resonance, cultural exploration and creativity as the maiden edition of Culture Bond Africa project took centre stage in Ghana. Organised by Ajidans Studios Productions, Nigeria and TSir Mpam Cultural Troupe Cape Coast, Ghana, the project is aimed at promoting cultural tolerance, orientation, creativity, peaceful coexistence, and the restoration Africa values. Designed and directed by a notable Nigerian multi-disciplinary theatre artiste, culture enthusiast, Ajide Olamilekan Adeyemi, the five-day programme, which featured theatrical workshops, seminar, activation performances, community art for development, heritage site-specifics, drums ensemble, cultural night and awards presentation, brought together creative art practitioners, students, tourists, traders and others. Some traditional rulers were also in attendance.
The creative outburst started with a cultural exchange workshop on Bata Dance – a Yoruba traditional dance from the South-Western Nigeria. Added to this were some Ghanaian folksongs and dances to convey the message of love, peace, cultural tolerance, preservation of African heritage, norms and values, using the theatrical elements of dance, drums, drama, poetry, language art to address the social vises, crises among tribes and cultures affecting Africa’s development. Highlights of the event which was held in various locations such as Idan Guam Junction, Idan Brofoyedu Road, Cape Coast Metropolitan, Abeadze Junction Road, include activation performance/ community arts for development, dance, drums ensembles, clay brick building, and Cultural Night/ African Musical Jamz.
There was also installation art which was done at Oasis Beach Resort, Ghana. The Project Director, Adeyemi, said Culture -Bond-Africa was con-ceived out of curiosity to find a lasting solution to tribal, religious and culture conflicts among the different tribes in Africa. “It is imperative to note that Africans must go back to the days of appreciating nature which played a significant role in uniting people across the board,” he said.
He also noted that the civil unrest the world is experiencing are manmade aside some natural disasters, adding that, “every society must create an enabling environment for nature to reshape itself, we also need to be conscious of how we react to other people’s opinions, thoughts, feelings, and state of mind with utmost regards.” Adeyemi, who is the Artistic Director of Ajidans Studios Productions, Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of Guild of Theatre Arts Drummers, Nigeria, called on all religious leaders to desist from ridiculing other people’s faith, stressing that, “there should be respect for other people’s choice of religion.
He also urged the traditional leaders to embrace peace, reminding them that no language is superior to the other. It’s just a form of expression. It is very important to be careful in our utterances putting into consideration regards for other people’s feelings.” He explained that Culture Bond Africa is an initiative of Ajidans Studios Productions Nigeria and that it is, “aimed at positioning Africa in the eye of world by fostering unity amongst African nations, using African total theatre for social and cultural development, creating mediums to discuss our challenges, proffer technical solutions and build community leaders, peace ambassadors that will strategise on the pathway to rebuilding Africa, which will in turn strengthen the bond between cultures.
‘‘Tribes, tongues, skin colours, tones, regions and religion, our focus will be on harnessing storytelling methods, including folksongs, dance/drums exchange workshops, seminar, village square/ moonlight tales, and site specific performances, bringing back the memory of true African spirit of comradeship, brotherhood, feelings, passion and companionship, while we exhibit the beauty in our cultures.’’ Ajide also noted that Culture Bond Africa Project will help participants to encapsulate the essence of Africa’s multi-lingual strides by discussing peace orientation, non violence, regards for other people’s feeling, emotion and boundaries.
He believes that Culture Bond Africa will help to drive Africa and Africans into communities of world’s peace pacesetters; projecting the best of Africa to meet world humanitarian standards; connecting communities, producing young, proud, vibrant creative Africans that will carry on the goal, traditions, morals, and ethics embedded in different cultures across Africa; standing tall with high shoulders filled with pride to defend and preserve Africa’s heritage as well as producing highly innovative works using our local contents to compete with her counterparts across the world. “During the seminar, a slogan was birthed which is Regards for Comrades. It is hoped to help drive our cause for oneness amongst Africans states. It is our projection that this slogan will be translated into as many languages as possible that at the mention of Africa, Africans will respond: ‘Regards for Comrades.
“The word Regard is self-explanatory, which means that if we all set a measure of regards in our relationship, thoughts, deeds and nuances to fellow humans; we will respect each other; we will love each other; we will patronize our local businesses; our economy will grow; we will develop at a very fast pace; we will join the league of nations in the 1st world; we will respect other people’s opinion, space and mental health. There will be regard for rule of law, customs and traditions of other people’s culture. “Our projection is to preach the gospel of peace and cultural tolerance that by 2033, Africa will be one of the leading continents in the global market.” Speaking on behalf of members of Tsir Kor Mpam Cultural Troupe Ghana, the Project Coordinator, Mr Kobina Ackan, expressed his profound gratitude to the Project Director, Adeyemi, for choosing Ghana as the first destination for the project activation exercise. He said all the participants had a great exciting moment filled with lifelong experience gathered during the cause of the project. “Having this collaboration with Adeyemi and Ajidans Studios Productions Nigeria will go a long way in learning other people’s cultures and foster unity with the group and the community. As they promise to create more works that are socially relevant and addresses the challenges the society is experiencing at this time.” Adeyemi assured that the wheel of the project will move to other African countries, and therefore called on Africans to embrace their true cultural identity and multi-culturalism, appreciate our language differences, celebrate our festivals, cultured life style and spirituality. He ended his speech with a quote that says: “When you have a sense of your own cultural identity, then you know the basis of where you’re going in life.” A graduate of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Adeyemi is passionate about youth development through the art, providing platforms for young people to realise their creative potentials, discovering great talents, propagating cultural tolerance as well as promoting the African culture through the arts.