Lagos, Johannesburg:A tale of 2 cities

Posted: August 16, 2012 in arts/culture

The best of Nigerian and South African traditional lifestyles and art as well as fashion sense, cuisine, business opportunities, among others will be on showcase as both countries ready plans for an exposition of tourism and business in a fiesta tagged; A Tale of 2 African Cities.

Scheduled for commercial hotbed cities of Lagos and Johannesburg, the project is an initiative of Lagos-based Inspiro Productions with the full endorsement by The South African High Commission in Lagos takes centre stage.

Tagged an exposition of arts/culture, tourism and business and with participants drawn from both countries, the events follow in the wake of a renewed vigour to strengthen relations between the two countries with two editions of the Nelson Mandela International Day celebrated elaborately commemorated in Lagos.

“This promises to be an exciting cultural exchange extravaganza in Lagos by showcasing both countries cultures through art, music, fashion, South African and Nigerian cuisine and so on, which will without doubt remain a footprint of two countries in action for positive change. Our view is that this is an opportunity for south Africans and Nigerian to come together as Africans and share life experiences, appreciate each other’s culture but at the same time showcasing other talents in various facets,” said South African High Commission (SAHC) Counsellor-Political and Head of Lagos Office, Ms Thandi Mgxwati,

The fusion showcase which is billed to run alternately in both cities of Lagos and Johannesburg will have the Lagos leg opening at the Federal palace hotel, Lagos from October 3 to 6, while Johannesburg leg will play out early next year.

According to observers, with these events, it is believed that the economic and social roles of both Lagos and Johannesburg in shaping trends in Africa will come into focus as the event kicks-off.

The West African commercial hub of Lagos with a population of over 15 million people is Africa’s second largest city. With strong cultural, tourism and business potentials, it serves as a business hub for the sub region and beyond. Lagos attracts many people seeking a better life from all parts of Nigeria and beyond and can be described as Nigeria’s most prosperous city. A port city, Lagos has one of Africa’s largest and busiest ports. It also has one of the largest and most extensive road networks in West Africa.

As the seventh fastest growing in the world, Lagos is also known for its tourism potentials by virtue of various festivals including the Eyo Festival, the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, the Lagos Carnival, Fanti Carnival and much more. It has a vibrant night life and thriving music industry and is the traditional home of Afrobeat, Fuji and Juju, Apala and now Naija Flavour Hip-hop among others.

Lagos music has continued to flourish influencing sounds across Africa, beginning with Highlife greats like legendary Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and now 2Face, D’banj, Flavour, P Square and a host of others. The city is also the centre of the Nigerian movie industry known as ‘Nollywood’.

Johannesburg on its part is the home of Kwaito and Jazz music, known as ‘Egoli’-the city of Gold; it generates approximately 40 per cent of the South Africa’s income. Manufacturing and banking also play a key role in the economy.

From a town of tents, Johannesburg has evolved into a thriving metropolis and South Africa’s largest city with strong tourism potentials, a thriving banking sector and its own sound boasting legends like the late legendary Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie and Hugh Masakela. With a strong live band tradition, it has a vibrant Jazz heritage. Popular Johannesburg landmarks include the Hill brow Tower, The Nelson Mandela Bridge, New Town and O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Against this backdrop, the similarities between Lagos and Johannesburg as mega cities and the leading roles they play in shaping trends and how they could be harnessed in promoting peaceful co-existence in view of the African agenda and the opportunities thereof cannot be overemphasized.

Among others, A Tale of 2 African Cities is expected to explore arts and culture, business and tourism initiatives by creating platforms for exchange which will open up insights into both cultures, their heart beats and dynamism and help build capacities through Knowledge transfer and ideas exchange/interaction. Their nature as entry ports to their economies makes the two cities set the pace for cultural diffusion across the continent.

With both cities located at two strategic positions on the continent, the event will also showcase tourist potentials of both cities with a view to harnessing these potentials for business, peaceful coexistence and development in line with the African agenda.

The event is designed to host business seminars, workshops with themes for stakeholders and investors and further X-ray business opportunities and incentives beneficial to both countries.

The SA High Commission has in addition to an endorsement, has reiterated its agreement to endorse and the initiative because, according to the Mission, ‘it will further showcase both countries’ rich cultural heritage and by extension promote the African agenda’, just as it noted that it remains committed to advancing the objectives of the African Agenda through partnerships with like-minded Nigerians.

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