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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Beyond Négritude: black cultural citizenship and the Arab question in FESTAC 77
Author:Apter, AndrewISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1469-9346)
Geographic terms:Africa
Abstract:When Nigeria hosted the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77) to celebrate the cultural foundations of the 'Black and African World', it was fashioned after Senghor's festival mondial des arts nègres (FESMAN 66) held in Dakar 11 years earlier. What began as an alliance between festival co-patrons, however, soon developed into a divisive debate over the meanings and horizons of black cultural citizenship. At issue were competing Afrocentric frameworks that clashed over the North African or 'Arab' question. Should North Africans fully participate, as Lt-Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo maintained, or should they merely observe as second-class citizens, as Leopold Sédar Senghor resolutely insisted? If Nigeria's expansive and inclusive vision of blackness was motivated and underwritten by its enormous oil wealth, Senghor refused to compromise his position, precipitating a face-off that ultimately lowered Senegal's prestige. To understand why North Africa became the focus of these competing definitions of blackness, the author turns to the 1969 Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers, where Négritude was disclaimed as counter-revolutionary. Placed within a genealogy of postcolonial Afrocentric festivals, the struggle over North Africa in FESTAC 77 shows that the political stakes of black cultural citizenship were neither trivial nor ephemeral, but emerged within a transnational field of symbolic capital accumulation. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]