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It Took Macron to Appreciate Our Own Cultural Heritage

Itohan Ferguson

Nigeria is abuzz with the visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, admidst such fanfare, he came to Lagos and paid a visit to the New Afrika Shrine, yesterday July 3, 2018 in Ikeja, Lagos. Those who are familiar with the New Afrika Shrine, know that it is a veritable part of Lagos cultural heritage, albeit uncelebrated. It is a place where the annual Felaberation music festival is being hosted and it is also a hub for open air entertainment of the local kind .

If you are familiar with its history , then you would know that it was first created by the late music icon, Fela Kuti in 1970, until was burnt down in 1977. The New Afrika Shrine was rebuilt and is being currently managed by Femi Kuti and Yeni Anikulapo Kuti. Within the Shrine are several photo galleries of Fela’s music performances and African art.

With the visit of the European leader to the New Afrika Shrine yesterday, suddenly it has become validated as a cultural heritage that must be preserved. It becomes unimportant that several past administrations have made efforts to demolish it, because it is seen as an eyesore or a hub for the morally derelict. Sadly it took a foreigner to open our eyes to its innate beauty as an embodiment of our cultural heritage.

Leaving obvious a Nigerian malady – we never appreciate our own cultural heritage if it is not validated by the West. According to Macron, this would be his second visit to the historic site, as a president, since his first visit as a student in 2002.

With Macron’s visit, watch many Nigerians who never knew of the existence of the New Afrika Shrine, flood the place to satisfy their morbid albeit temporary curiosity.