The 7th edition of the Lagos International Poetry Festival ran from October 21st to October 24th, 2021.
It was four days of banter, thought provoking conversations and performances, as the festival drew virtual and physical audiences to a city hungry to get back into the groove of things.
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Stirring from the pandemic, Lagos’ frenetic cultural scene is beginning to welcome people back into brick and mortar spaces, also at a time where its global cultural influence is at an all time high.
LIPFest, like most festivals forced into hibernation in 2020, or compelled to adapt wholly online, returned this year with some of its physical elements, including two well attended performance events and a film screening, at the African Artist Foundation and Terra Kulture respectively.
The festival held a total of eight events with 20 guest writers, poets and public intellectuals from across Nigeria, Ghana, the US, Kenya, and South Africa.
Activities kicked off early afternoon on October 24, 2021, with a virtual writing workshop facilitated by American poet and activist, Aja Monet.
This was followed by a conversation moderated by broadcast journalist, writer, and editor, Buchi Onyegbule, featuring, human rights lawyer and activist Ayo Sogunro; author of the bestselling political memoir, Love Does Not Win Elections, Ayisha Osori; and political pundit and party stalwart, Demola Olanrewaju.
Living up to its title, Danfo For Sale: Party Politics as a Vehicle for Change, the conversation explored the systemic disenfranchisement of young progressives from Nigeria’s ideology free and historically corrupt system of partisan politics, with its arguments straddling two diametrically opposed points: engage the existing system from within, or organize to pull it all down and rebuild.
On its hills was an equally charged panel featuring award-winning Journalist, Mercy Abang, lawyer and activist Dele Farotimi, and tri-sectorial leader Abosede Geroge-Ogan, on the role of civil society in salvaging Nigeria from the wreckage of political leadership.
Nigeria’s democratic space, in spite of its many challenges, is the fruit of hard won battles fought by activists of all shades who for decades relentlessly dared series of dictatorships at the risk of jail time, exile and death, delivering a democracy largely inherited by new generations of courageous technocrats determined to expand civic and political spaces leveraging on technology, and a fearless willingness to challenge the old order without compromise.
Old struggles, new tools, and the very present struggle to lift Nigeria’s political class to the competence, daring and ambition of the rest of its population, was the crux of this deftly handled panel.
The Lagos International Poetry Festival, LIPFest, which over the years has provided a global platform for the showcasing of emerging and established storytellers, poets and musicians, launched its inaugural poetry slam for young poets and spoken word artists between the ages of 18 and 35, an initiative which according to the organizers is geared toward encouraging and rewarding new waves of storytellers, poets and spoken word artists.
Below are pictures from the event.