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5 things we learnt about the African culture from the 2018 African Drum Festival

Drums and African Culture are synonymous with one another as it is popular belief that the history of drums in Africa is as old as the continent and its people.

The 2018 edition of the African Drum Festival held in Abeokuta, Ogun state from the 19th to the 21st of April 2018, powered by MTN Nigeria, with a line up of distinguished speakers including Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III; Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; Legendary Music Producer, Laolu Akintobi and Veteran African drummer, Bakossa Cocou Armel.

Here are 5 things we learnt from them about drums and African culture:

  • Did you know Drums are used to wake traditional rulers up daily?
    According to Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo, “every morning at 5am, drums wake up Yoruba kings to remind them of the oaths they took to serve their people”. In his words, “we need drums to wake our leaders and policy makers in Nigeria’.


  • Amazingly there’s no African country that doesn’t have a rich history of drums.
    Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, in his address at the festival said, “there is nowhere that you don’t have drums in Africa. If we are to revive our ideals and ideas as a continent, we must start with a culture, like drumming, that cuts across”.


  • Did you know drums were used back in the day as telephones are used now?
    Veteran African drummer, Bakossa Cocou Armel stated at the festival that drums in those days were used as telephones to pass messages across and also as signals to show when a boy has become a man.


  • According to Legendary Music Producer, Laolu Akintobi, our culture is very rich and drumming in itself is an art. Most of our children however, don’t see this. They do not know how important drums are to our culture. We need to quickly return to our history and bring our rich heritage upfront.


  • The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in his welcome speech at the festival, noted that we have a very rich heritage in Africa and platforms that showcase our robust culture, like the African Drum Festival, should be supported.

    In his words, “The drum festival keys into our objective of turning the creative industry into a thriving industry, one that provides jobs and promotes the economy. I will also appeal to the corporate world to partner with Ogun State and support this festival by providing the much needed resources to ensure its sustenance,”

    “This festival is important to Africa because it provides us an avenue to showcase our rich cultural heritage as well as an opportunity to preserve the culture for the future heritage,” Mohammed added.

The festival was sponsored by Nigeria’s leading provider of communications services and widest reaching network, MTN, known for supporting a wide range of segments in the creative industry.



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