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Vol. XXVII. Issue I. (Winter 2020) Ancient Africa Revisited

Vol. XXVII, Issue I (Winter 2020)

Ancient Africa Revisited

 

Table of  Content

 

Ayele Bekerie: “Commentary on The Africanity of Ancient Egypt

Christine Ely:  “Highlights of  Christopher Ehret’s Harvard Lecture on Ancient African Firsts”

Anita Bosques: “Where is Ancient Africa? A Visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts”

Osakue Stevenson Omoera, & Eliel A. Otote:  “Benin  City  Film Festival, An Emerging Tour de Force in Nollywood”

 

 

Editorial

 

In this issue of Africa Update, we  focus on the Huggins Lectures, delivered  at  the Hutchins  Center,  Harvard University,  November 5-7, 2019 -  by  Professor Christopher Ehret,  Distinguished Research Professor at  the University of California, Los Angeles. The theme of the three lectures was Ancient Africa in World History: Invention, Innovation, Impact. Professor Ehret’s specialization includes African History and African Historical Linguistics.  He  has published eight books and seventy scholarly articles.   Among his outstanding books is An African Classical Age: Eastern and Southern Africa in World History 1000 BC to AD 400, published by University of Virginia Press in 2001; History and the Testimony of Language. UCLA Press, 2011,  and A Historical – Comparative Reconstruction of Nilo-Saharan, Rudiger Koppe Verlag, 2001.

Christine Ely’s summary of the lectures was arrived at from the audiovisual resources made available on-line,  by Harvard University, and was a time-consuming activity, to say the least. We thank her for doing this. Professor Ayele Bekerie of Mekelle University, Ethiopia  agreed to write a brief commentary of Ehret’s  lecture on ancient Egypt. He argues, in his article,  that what was particularly new about the presentation on ancient Egypt was the venue, namely, Harvard University, and  he explains why he came to that conclusion. Anita Bosques, a graduate student at CCSU,  attended the lecture on ancient Egypt and made profound and meaningful contributions  during  the Q & A segment, but it is her commentary on “the  awkward” classification of African artifacts  at  Harvard University’s Museum of Fine Arts that has been included in this issue. It should be noted that Anita Bosques and Christine Ely are both students at CCSU.

 The  winter issue concludes with an article  by  Professor Osakue Stevenson Omoera and Mr. Eliel A. Otote,  on the  2nd Annual Benin City Film Festival.

Previous articles on African antiquity, in Africa Update,  include:

Ashton, S. (2017). Racism and Egyptology

 https://web.ccsu.edu/afstudy/upd24-1.html

 Emeagwali, G. (2006). The Study of Ancient Nubia

 https://web.ccsu.edu/afstudy/upd13-3.html#Nubia

 Lobban, R. (1995). The Nubian Dynasty of Kush and Egypt

 https://web.ccsu.edu/afstudy/upd2-4.html#Z2 

 

We extend sincere thanks and appreciation to the contributors to  this issue of Africa Update.

 

Professor Gloria Emeagwali

Chief Editor, Africa Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Commentary on The Africanity of Ancient Egypt

 

Dr. Ayele Bekerie

Coordinator of International Affairs

Institute of Palaeo-Environment & Heritage Conservation

Mekelle University 

Ethiopia 

 

 

Professor Christopher Ehret’s  public lecture at Harvard University on “The Africanity of Ancient Egypt,” is more of a reaffirmation and corroboration of strong claims made by scholars such as Cheikh Anta Diop and Theophile Obenga, much earlier-  almost fifty years ago-  than a presentation of an original idea or evidence.  What is different is that Christopher Ehret presented his argument on the Africanity of Ancient Egypt at Harvard University-   the prestigious Ivy League school, that finally  opened its doors to hear the arguments for the Africanity of Ancient Egypt.  

The argument to place Ancient Egypt in, and of, Africa was cogently put forward by  Diop  in the UNESCO History of Africa,  Volume II.  Of course, Diop and Obenga were not invited to present their arguments at Harvard, regarded as the citadel of western intellectual activities.  They remained on the fringes, often facing untoward and unreasonable attacks from scholars housed in  western institutions of higher learning.  Their Africanity- of -Ancient -Egypt arguments are now resurrected and are perhaps heading into the mainstream of knowledge production,  thanks to the diligent and consistent arguments presented by scholars like Ehret. 

The Africanity of Ancient Egypt was also stated by Bruce Williams who presented comprehensive archaeological evidence to trace back its origin to Nubia.  Williams was treated as an outcast for daring to state the archaeological evidence he obtained in places like Qustul, an ancient capital of Nubia.

Ehret utilizes historical linguistics, particularly the examination of early agriculture and words associated with them,  to propose a particular place called Laga Oda in eastern Ethiopia as the birthplace of wild grains.  The grains became precursors for the development and advancement of farming and the raising of crops.  The culture eventually reached ancient Egypt. In other words, according to Ehret, Egyptian agriculture traces its origin in the South in places like Ethiopia.  The farming knowledge followed the flow of the Nile to reach Ancient Nubia and Egypt in the North where several advancements, including irrigation agriculture, were made to produce surplus crops. The production of surplus crops enabled the Egyptians to engage in a wide range of cultural and political activities in a sustainable manner. To Ehret, African languages (some say 2,000 of them) originated from a  proto-ancient African mother language.  The mother language branched out over a long period of time into what Ehret calls daughter languages.  The earliest split of the mother language was into proto-Afrasian, which further split into proto-Omotic and proto-Erythraic. While proto-Omotic gave rise to languages, such as Beja and Omotic, proto-Erythraic  led to the emergence of what linguists call ancient Egyptian and Coptic.  The roots of Ancient Egyptian language may reside in proto-north Erythraic,  covering the area in north east Africa straddling the Red Sea, along the mountain chain from the Sudan to Eritrea. 

Ehret uses comparative linguistics as a critical method to delineate and narrate ancient cultures, and  excavates languages in search of linguistic artifacts.  The first adoption of wild grains and their harvesting was linked to the crescent-shaped microlithic sickle blades uncovered by archaeologists.  The emergence of wild grain harvests can be established by comparative study of the languages in the region, especially the root words.  

The last ice age and its collapse, meaning the retreat of the glaciation, may have provided windows of opportunity for the emergence of farming and growing crops.  New settlements are also marked by the production of pottery with distinct designs and colors. 

Ehret makes Laga Oda, near Dire Dawa,  as the epicenter of grain harvesting.  The culture spread northward to Qustul, Kerma, Upper and Lower Egypt.  The date given for the harvesting of wild grains was circa 16,000 BCE. By 15,000 BCE, there was a widespread amelioration of the weather and concurrently a spread of the grain economy and culture from south to north.  To Ehret, the cultural emergence and developments, covering a vast area, are associated with ‘deep time’ stories.  It is characterized by material culture that has common features.  For instance, the pottery with black top and red body is found throughout the Nile complex.  The pottery marks settlement, and serves as a marker of ‘cultural convergence.’  

According to Ehret, the burial customs also demonstrate a degree of cultural convergence in the direction of south to north along the Nile river.  The sites show the convergence in the form of ritual objects symbolically placed with the dead.  Ehret identifies small black-red clay pottery, mace heads and  ivory vessels. The cultural area marked by a range of sustained activities, including large scale irrigation agriculture, took place in what Ehret calls ‘less deep time,’ from 6,000 to 3,000 BCE.  It was during this less deep time that writing systems  were invented and further perfected.  Ehret did not talk much about writing systems.  In fact, a question was raised, from the audience,  by Anita Bosques of  Central Connecticut State University,  regarding the origin of the Egyptian writing system.  Ehret appeared to be hesitant to affirm that the writing began in Nubia.  It was the same member of the audience who mentioned the Nubian incense-burner  of Qustul inscribed in hieroglyphics.  

Given the current trend to privilege genetic studies, Ehret confided that genetics might roughly suggest one’s ancestry, but that  genes do not determine people’s sense of cultural identities.

Ehret made a strong point when he stated that languages shape cultural choices. 

Ehret, as one observer noted, did not disappoint.  He was able to make a strong case for the Africanity of Ancient Egypt,  at Harvard University:

 https://hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu/event/huggins-lectures-christopher-ehret-1-3

 

 

 

 

“Notes on  Christopher Ehret’s Lecture on African Historical Firsts”

Christine Ely

CCSU

 

Professor Ehret’s first lecture was centered on “African Historical Firsts” with a focus on technology in Ancient Africa. Professor Ehret started his lecture advising us that the ancestors of all human beings were born in Eastern Africa and  stressed that Africa was not a continent off the edge of world history, or a continent with its peoples living lives of little change, or, that the African continent was “a passive receiver of new things.” He stated that “history in Africa has moved through the same succession of major transitions in human history as everywhere else in the world.”

Professor Ehret explained that Africa was a net exporter of innovation in ancient history. He stressed the importance and vitality of making African history integral to the teaching of human history. The deeply ingrained, unrecognized presumptions often still shape the judgements, even of those scholars who should know better, he added. He proceeded to focus on three aspects of its technology, namely, chemical, metallurgical and  mechanical lines of technological innovation.

Lines of  Technological Invention

  1. Chemical

The first invention of ceramics did not take place in Africa but in East Asia 18,000 BCE in Northern China but the second  earliest invention in the world of ceramic technology took place in  West Africa around 9500 BCE in the country of Mali, coinciding  with speakers of the Niger-Congo language family. The third  earliest invention took place in Eastern Sahara,  8500 -8000 BCE,  from the Nilo-Saharan peoples. The spread of primary African ceramic traditions around 7000 and 6000 BCE, went west. African women were the inventors,  and they created both early ceramic inventions. This took place three thousand years before the technology emerged in the Middle East, said Professor Ehret.

 

  1. Metallurgical

Iron smelting furnaces date back to 1000 BCE in  Rwanda, but  in the woodland savanna belt and in  Oboui and Gbatoro (Central African Republic and Cameroon) the earliest sites for iron metallurgy in the world have been found, dated  to between 2300 and 1800BCE.   The distinguished scholar  pointed out that most of Africa went directly to the Iron Age, without a copper or bronze age. Metalworking in Africa, in contrast to ceramic technology, was male dominated.

Another African technological first was single-step production of steel. We are indebted in this case to Professor Peter Schmidt, whose work has demonstrated that African smelters had developed this capability of building furnaces to directly produce steel by as early as 2000 years ago, the professor pointed out.  Europeans did not develop techniques until the 19th century. The Chinese had developed  similar techniques in the 11th century

  1. Mechanical

People independently invented the weaving of textiles in four parts of the world. In each region the inventors domesticated their own species of cotton. In at least three and possibly four different parts of the world, people independently invented the technology for weaving cotton textiles. Testifying to the several independent origins of this technology, in each distant region of origin, people domesticated a different cotton species.

Which invention was the earliest?

The earliest evidence in the world of the production of cotton thread comes from   Nubia in today’s Sudan. Ceramic spindle whorls occur in the sites of the Khartoum Culture, dating to the sixth millennium BCE (Khartoum Neolithic).

He pointed out that the origins of raffia weaving lie in Southern Nigeria before 3000 BCE. Bantu speakers took this technology with them southward, as  far south as the Congo Kingdom. For centuries raffia cloth was highly valued. The invention of the wide loom used in making this fabric,  represents another first for Africa, in this case, in Southern Nigeria and Cameroon.

 African Technological Firsts

  1. Iron metallurgy
  2. Single-step steel production
  3. Cotton weaving

Professor Ehret concluded that it was long past time to integrate Africa and its peoples fully into the teaching of human history everywhere.

 

 

 

Where Is  Ancient Africa? A Visit to The Boston Museum of Fine Arts 

 

Anita Bosques 

CCSU

 

It was a hot steamy day when I traveled over two hours, in great anticipation, to see my daughter, and visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). I was excited that finally I could make this trip to see her, and witness together, the masterpieces of Africa’s ancient ingenuity and expertise. The first question I asked the museum guide at the entrance was where  the African artifacts were placed, and he showed me where to go. Once I walked into the room, the first thing I said to my daughter and Titi (aunt), who accompanied me, was:  “Benin!”  

I remember thinking to myself that  this room was not that big so it couldn’t represent all Africa. It was time to move on, and hopefully, I would see and read as much as I could. I was so moved to see the works of beauty and great skill by the artisans of the Nigerian ancient kingdom of Benin -  and  some of the artifacts, that I saw many times in pictures and illustrations  over the years,  as I learned more about Africa’s history.

Yet, my memory of how the artifacts made their way from ancient Benin in Nigeria,  made the visit rich and full.  I was familiar with the past of what I saw, though deep in guilt for having paid money for the continued capture of Africa’s history,  behind the glass, in a far-off museum. I entered the next room after the Kingdom of Benin Gallery and there was a bench to the right of me. There sat my aunt, and my daughter, having a deep conversation; something that always happened when my aunt saw her great-niece. However, I cannot even remember what else was in this room, because it did not interest me.  It was not more of Africa. 

So, I wandered off alone, with permission to continue touring,  from my family, since they saw my excitement and knew what the visit meant to me.  I carried on noticing that their interest in the museum was not as inflated as mine. They were enjoying each other’s company and I was enjoying the art, artifacts and  museum entries. I took in much of the beauty and history, as much as I could have,  of India’s magnificence, and her amazing Shiva, but  I was looking for Africa. I decided after about forty minutes or so,  that I would make some more enquiries, so I did. I asked the staff worker if the first room with the Benin artifacts the only existing room with art and artifacts from Africa was. The staff member said yes. I was a little disappointed now and decided to move on.  

I ended up traveling through  the museum alone because I insisted on reading what I was

 looking at,  which took time, and my company wanted to move on. I only had until five o’clock

 and it was  already almost two. I wish I had enough time to read all the information. 

I moved upstairs, still alone,  after reading a while.  A  guide was speaking about the exquisite works of the Buddha. I   then stumbled upon the room where, at this very moment, the museum was working on the conservation of Japanese sculptures for an upcoming exhibit. The guide conducted a little tour,  and we were invited to see the Japanese temple room.

 I was still looking for the rest of Africa, but was still amazed at the beauty before me. Somehow, I ended up alone with the woman who so graciously explained the significance of the art  of Japan and its history, so I asked once again about Africa, and whether there were any more rooms dedicated to the continent besides the Benin Kingdom Gallery. She said no. There was no mention of Egypt, which is obviously in Africa. I then brought up the upcoming Nubian exhibit and she was happy that it was an interest of mine and that I attained knowledge about it. So, I asked her if there were going to be displayed any pieces from the excavations of ‘Nubiologist’ Bruce Williams who wrote eight monographs on Nubia. She had not a clue about whom I was referring to.  We parted ways and I was thankful for her insights and respected her time.

I walked a little more and decided to enter some doors,  following the parents whose children said  that they wanted to see the mummies.

How do Egypt and Nubia become separated from my inquiry about African artifacts and exhibits, I wondered.  I finally decided to halt a second and take pictures. I remember being upset that I did not take more  shots when I was in the gallery of  the Kingdom of Benin where I started my visit,  and lost my family. I tried to fully analyze the situation and capture more of Africa’s history that seemed to be  so awkwardly categorized in the museum. The continued separation of Egypt from Africa in  contemporary archeological scholarship and public spheres of social and cultural influence such as the MFA, Boston,  remained a reality. I then saw a text sent to me,  that said “We’re at the café if you care. Lol!” It was sent at 2:55 and it was 3:43 when I noticed it. It all went so fast.  A relentless pursuit to eventually find the art and artifacts of the  second largest continent on earth, and the cradle of humanity and civilizations of the existing world,  took much time and effort.

 At last, I  stumbled into  a room with a massive  floor map of Egypt and the Nubian kingdoms of Napata and Meroe (in modern day Sudan). Included also was Aksum (modern day Ethiopia and Eritrea). I looked around, and nothing but this solitary floor map showed that Egypt was in Africa.

Who would know that Egypt was a Nilotic  African civilization that  originated in ancient Nubia (modern day Sudan) in the south, where the Nile River passed through on her way down from the Ethiopian highlands in the  south-east, finally reaching Egypt’s Nile Delta and the Mediterranean Sea? 

 But in  the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,  Egypt and Nubia are  still  generally projected,  by  all and sundry, including museum staff,  as islands  that are  not part of the African continent. How can we rectify this mistake?

 

 

 

 

Benin City Film Festival: An Emerging Tour De Force in Nollywood

 

Osakue Stevenson Omoera, Ph.D*

Professor of Mass Media, Theatre and Communication Studies

Department of English and Communication Studies,

Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Nigeria

 

and

Eliel A. Otote**

Co-Organizer and Head of Jury, Benin City Film Festival

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

Nollywood has not only grown in terms of the number and quality of films produced but also in the distribution, the theatrical releases, research output and film festivals organized around it across the world. From Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival (TINFF) in Ontario, Canada, to Zuma Film Festival (ZUFF) in Abuja, Nigeria; from African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), to African International Film Festival (AFRIFF), it has been a story of creativity, courage, innovation, entrepreneurship, painstaking craftsmanship, and rewarding excellence for Nollywood directors, actors, screenwriters, designers, among other creatives, and their films that are making waves with huge audiences . The Benin City Film Festival (BCFF), an event successfully held for two years now, has come to join the endless list of Nollywood industry barometers, refiners and encouragers in Nigeria. In this write up, we combine participant observation with historical-analysis to reflect on the emerging tour de force in Nollywood.

Benin City Film Festival: A Socio-Cultural Perspective

Benin City Film Festival (BCFF) is an annual event that brings filmmakers across the globe together in order to exchange ideas with their Nollywood counterparts through workshops, symposia, film screenings, intercultural dialogues, and diegetic analyses. The festival was founded by Godfrey Efe Omorodion and co-organized by a Nollywood veteran filmmaker, Eliel A. Otote. The 2019 edition is the second in the series. Currently, the BCFF media partners include OSIBA News Network; African Movies Channel (AMC); Bronze FM, Benin City; Power Mic FM, London; Europe Nollywood blog; Insiders News; and Bells Magazine. Today, it is the biggest film festival in Benin City and its environs. Before the BCFF, we had the Benin Movies and Music Awards (BMMA) which ran successfully for two years (Omoera, 2015, p.259) but they packed up due to sponsorship issues.

However, with the kind of structures BCFF organizers are setting up, including the use of information communication technology (ICT) tools, we hope it will not go the way of BMMA. Indeed, the foremost vision of BCFF is to promote and project indigenous language films and their makers. Also, its master classes are conceived and designed to equip interested Nigerians with world class filmmaking tips. For instance, the 2019 edition had a formidable team of resource persons such as Peddie Okao, Iyen Agbonifo-Obaseki, Tony Agboga, Kabat Esosa Egbon, Lia Bertrami, Tony Abolo, Testimony Asiagwu, Eliel Otote, Ogie Ogedegbe, Chief Utetenegiabi Omo-Osagie, Henry Iyobosa Legemah, Tesma Erese, Davidson Izegaegbe, and all the participants that attended had a lot to take home on screen media practice.

Benin City is the cultural capital of Nigeria, with great history and Obaship traditions that are recognized the world over.  With BCFF coming on board, the city is sure to extend and assert itself as the cultural and tourism destination of choice,  while empowering different categories of film professionals, film aficionados, cultural avatars, film greenhorns, entrepreneurs and hospitality and tour providers in Nigeria and beyond. It is unsurprising, therefore, that BCFF awards are aimed at honoring and promoting excellence in the Nollywood movie industry and Africans in the Diaspora as well as uniting Africans from across the globe through arts and culture. The award presentation is attended by several media representatives, celebrities, researchers, politicians, journalists, actresses and actors from all across the world. Hence, the government of Edo State should consider the largely private initiative as part of its panoply of strategies to internationalize the socio-cultural value of the city, and promote and empower the Edo people in an increasingly culture-conscious world (Omoera & Atuegbe, 2010, p. 69; Omoera & Obanor, 2012, p.405). 

BCFF 2018 (Maiden Edition)

The maiden edition was declared open by the Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Honourable Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, on November 14, 2018 at De Civic Centre, Airport Road, Benin City, with the theme -   Film: A Veritable Tool for Job Creation. The theme lecture was delivered by Professor Emmanuel Emasealu of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. The event included an exceptionally commanding line-up of films, seminars and workshops that focused on women and youths in filmmaking. Several awards were also given at the gala night. Guests were taken on a trip to tourists’ destinations in Edo State, in a programme tagged: City Tour. A total of 62 films were submitted for the festival, out of which some films had the BCFF Certification based on their thematic relevance to the BCFF 2018 theme, and firsthand impact on the audience. They included:

  1. BCFF best indigenous language film of the year 2018 (Benin) Agbonaye by Peddie Okao;
    2. BCFF best indigenous language film of the year 2018 (Itsekiri) Oma Tsen Tsen by Alex

   Eyengho;
3. BCFF best documentary 2018 (Benin City Fruit Seller) by Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen;
4. BCFF best international documentary of the year (Wonderful Tapestry of Life) by Andrea

    Morghen;
5. BCFF best short of the year 2018 (Tare) by Eze Izu Daniels;
6. BCFF best action feature of the year 2018 (Conscripted) by Aik Ikponmwonsa Odiase; and
7. BCFF best epic of the year 2018 (Queen of Queens) by Kabat Eseosa Egbon (Benin City Film

    Festival Programme of Events, 2018).

 

BCFF 2019 (2nd Edition)

The 2nd edition of the Benin City Film Festival held from November 6th to 9th, 2019 in collaboration with the University of Benin, Benin City, with the theme: “Yesterday, Today for Tomorrow.” Over 70 foreign filmmakers from 13 countries entered their films for the festival, using Film Freeway and Film Focus-online film submission platforms that are used for film festivals all over the world. The four-day event was memorable as well as exciting. It culminated in a city tour on Saturday November 9th, 2019 after which some non-competitive screenings held.  Some films got the BCFF certification, too, during the 2nd  edition of the festival as follows:

 

BCFF 2019 Certified Features

  1. Gold Statue by Tade Ogidan,
  2. Enemy Call by Esi Vanessa, and
  3. Gift by Emmanuel Princewill.

BCFF 2019 Certified Shorts

  1. Wasted by Eze Izu Daniels,
  2. Snatched by Sagacious Osarumwense, and
  3. Ways Apart by Prince Kefas Esiolu.

BCFF 2019 Non-Competitive Screening

  1. Benin Bronzes by Gloria Emeagwali (Benin City Film Festival Programme of Events, 2019).

 

Some Nollywood content producers, from the left Chief Utetenegiabi Omo-Osagie, Davidson Izegaegbe, Iyen Agbonifo-Obaseki, Eliel A. Otote, Peddie Okao, Tony Abolo during an interactive session at the 2019 Benin City Film Festival at the Ekenwan Campus of University of Benin, Benin City

 

Some young creatives and entrepreneurs with a Nollywood great, Eliel Otote at the 2019 BCFF

Participants during one of the film screenings at the 2019 BCFF

 

Further Remarks

BCFF 2019 is laudable but there is still room for improvement in its organisation, use of first-rate screening equipment, publicity and institutional support drive. We observed that the film festival was supported by the University of Benin, Benin City (UNIBEN), via the provision of a venue and other logistical support for the event at its Ekenwan Campus. Aside UNIBEN and one or two other government and nongovernmental institutions, there were no other sponsors. This is not good for a fiesta such as BCFF which promises to be the tour de force of Nollywood. For it to realize its fullest potentialities, we suggest that the organizers of BCFF increase the level of corporate tie-ins in terms of sponsorships in future editions. Benin City is a growing industrial hub with many banks, broadcast outfits; radio and television stations, schools, manufacturers and multinational companies such as Guinness Nigeria Plc, Nigerian Bottling Company, Okomu Oil, MTN, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, among others, and these could form the sponsor base for the BCFF as part of their corporate social responsibility and product or service branding.

This will enable the organizers to invite important cineastes, industry ‘movers’ and ‘shakers’ from across the world to endorse the growing festival. Such tie-ins are also expected to allow BCFF expand its scope that is unfortunately highly circumscribed at present and include award categories such as emerging actor of the year, best screenwriter of the year, best documentary, best student film entry, best African indigenous language film entry, best Diaspora documentary, best animation, best female filmmaker, among others, that have not been captured but have the potential of making BCFF a world class edutainment event. Other areas where BCFF requires sponsorship and support for future editions are travel logistics and accommodation for filmmakers from various countries and whose films get nominations for the BCFF awards; remunerations for resource persons; publicity for all programmes of the festival; award plaques for winning filmmakers; awards endowment and endorsement by interested companies and individuals; printing of festival materials; screening equipment for movies; and gala night/red carpet events, etc. 

What's more, the BCFF must forge working relationships with the various guilds in the film and performing arts sector in Benin City and its environs to give fillip to its noble efforts and dream of making the city the creative and entertainment hub of Nigeria. If the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Edo Female Artistes Association (EFAA), Edo Artistes Association of Nigeria (EAAN) and other support institutions are well mobilized, sooner or later, BCFF will be better placed with huge followership. Another area of concern that requires retooling is publicity. The BCFF organizers must take advantage of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and strategically combine them with the available traditional media of radio, television, film and print (RTF and P) to give the widest possible publicity to the film festival. The second edition has come and gone but all hands must be on deck to pursue a well thought out programme to make future editions grander.

Conclusion

The BCFF is a growing film festival that requires the support of both government and nongovernmental agencies in Nigeria and beyond to realize its vision of being a considerable force to reckon with in film festivals in Nigeria. It has the potential of becoming a foremost African film event for the people of African descent and the promotion of African indigenous cultures and languages.

 

*Professor of Mass Media, Theatre and Communication Studies

Department of English and Communication Studies,

Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Nigeria

osakueomoera@gmail.com;

 osakueso@fuotuoke.edu.ng

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Omoera, O.S. (2015). An inquiry into institutional support for the Benin video-film culture in

Nollywood. Venets: The Belogradchik Journal for Local History, Cultural Heritage and Folk Studies, 6(2), 259-279.

Omoera, O.S.  & Atuegbe, C.O. (2010). Packaging the dramatic contents of Igue festival for

national and international audience: The small screen option. Emotan: A Journal of the Arts, 4, 61- 69.

Omoera, O.S.  & Obanor, M.N. (2012). Theatrical elements in Olokun worship in Benin,

Nigeria. In S. E. Ododo (Ed.), Fireworks for a lighting aesthetician: Essays in honour of Duro Oni @ 60 (pp.405-420). Lagos: Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization.

Programme of events (2018). Benin City Film Festival. Benin City: BCFF.

Programme of events (2019). Benin City Film Festival. Benin City: BCFF.

 

 

**  Email: elielotote@yahoo.co.uk

Instagram: @elielotote Facebook: Eliel Otote A

 

BOARD:

Gloria Emeagwali 
Chief Editor
 
emeagwali@ccsu.edu

Walton Brown-Foster
Copy Editor
brownw@ccsu.edu

Haines Brown
Adviser
brownh@hartford-hwp.com

Dann Broyld
Asst.Editor
d.broyld@ccsu.edu 

 

 

ISSN  1526-7822

REGIONAL EDITORS:

Olayemi Akinwumi 
(Nigeria)

Ayele Bekerie
(Ethiopia)

Osakue Omoera
(Nigeria)

Alfred Zack-Williams 
(Sierra Leone)

Gumbo Mishack

(South Africa)

 

 

TECHNICAL ADVISOR:

Jennifer Nicoletti
Academic Technology, CCSU
caputojen@ccsu.edu

For more information concerning AfricaUpdate
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