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My Aim Is To Build A Unique, Unified World-class Cultural Platform, Through The Pan-Afrika Drum Festival – Prince Segun Akanni



Prince Segun Akanni, the publisher of the Drum Online newspaper, has disclosed that the next edition of Pan-African Drum Festival in Canada next year would be more elaborate in terms of quality of participants and celebration of culture and tradition.

The maiden edition of the festival was held in Mississauga Canada, last year July 28th.

Akanni spoke to some top journalists, on the success of the first edition of the Drum festival in Canada in June 2023, and plans he is making to improve on the first edition’s results.

Tell us about the success of the first edition of Ayangalu Drum Festival that you hosted in Canada.

The first edition was massively celebrated by Nigerian-Canadians, the Africans, Canadians, Europeans and a lot of people from different parts of the world. It was more successful than what we expected. In the caliber of people that attended the event, and how the event went.

My target was just to start it in a small way. I never expected it was going to snowball into that kind of a big, carnival-like event. Because our projection was to have about 100 people, but the attendance we had on that day was much. People came in a large number and they enjoyed themselves.

The event was very successful with goodwill messages from the Canadian Prime Minister, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Premier of Ontario, Hon. Doug Ford; Nigeria Ambassador to Canada, Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun; Mayor of Brampton, Hon. Patrick Brown; Canadian Secretary of State and Former Minister Of Immigration, Hon Gerry Weiner; Arole Oodua, Oba Ogunwusi Babatunde Adeyeye, the Ooni of Ife; Osun State governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke; The Olota of Otta Awori Kingdom, His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Prof) Adeyemi Abdulkabir Obalanlege; Councilor Ayo Owodunni, the Oniba of Iba, among other eminent personalities. The guests had fun and experienced the real Yoruba, Nigeria and African culture to the fullest.

What were the attractions of the event?

It has never happened in the history of the blacks in Canada, assembling about 25 drummers to perform live on a stage. We had a different set of percussionists and they all came from different parts of the world. A lot came from Europe, some came from the United States of America (USA), and some came from Nigeria while others are Canada based.

I was thrilled by their performances. We had a European talking drummer who came all the way from Europe. He is a white guy from Germany. He speaks our language (Yoruba) fluently. He is a Bata drummer, and he is married to a Yoruba woman. The guy is so passionate about our culture. He is so passionate about Nigerian culture.

Everybody was thrilled to see a white man beating our drum and speaking our language. The culture that some of us are neglecting, the culture that some of us are abandoning, a white man flew all the way from Munich in Germany to identify with us. We were able to showcase the new African culture in a positive light.

What are your plans for the next edition of the Pan-African Drum Festival?

I have a lot of people from US, Europe, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania, calling and assuring me that they would be part of the next year’s event. They were asking me to make the festival bigger than the way it is currently.

They want me to stage a Pan-African Drum festival here in Canada. So, as soon as we finished the first edition, we started reviewing how it went. When we are done with the review, we fixed dates for the next edition, June 27th and 28th, 2024, which will be a “Pan-Afrika Drum Festival”.

Would you like to discuss the budget for the maiden edition?

The maiden edition was self-funded. I did not get any grant or money from anyone to host it. The event was packaged by myself, my wife, kids and my team. Now, we are looking at inviting major stakeholders; corporate sponsors and institutions that have interest in promoting culture, tourism and other sectors to be part of it. We want them to support us to make the event bigger. They should come on board and support us morally and financially.

Tell us about the activities lined up for the next edition of the event.

The activities for the second edition will include a courtesy visit and interactive sessions with the Premier Of Ontario, Hon. Doug Ford, Mayor of Brampton, Mayor Patrick Brown and Mayor of Toronto, Mayor Olivia Chow, Mayor Of Kitchener, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, Cultural and Tourism sectors, such as Canadian Council For The Arts, as well as some Canadian media organizations.

There will be entertainment and other fascinating activities such as lecture presentations, art exhibitions, drum competitions, beauty pageant/ fashion show, award presentation, cultural performances, and other colourful mind-blowing side attractions.

And as part of the strategic efforts to facilitate visa applications processes for invited guests, cultural icons and festival enthusiasts coming from different parts of the world, the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has accredited the festival with a special event code. Another attraction is that the new theme of the festival is expected to incorporate other African Drum festivals into a unified festival which serves as an opportunity to showcase our rich and diverse cultural values and aesthetics to a global stage.

There will be exciting and new programmes and it will commemorate Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, which is held across major cosmopolitan cities in Canada every year.

Other activities lined up for the epoch-making festival include the inauguration of Africa Media Nite Out, which is expected to honour and celebrate African journalists who have made remarkable contributions towards the growth and development of journalism in Africa. We hope to integrate this as one of the cardinal components of the annual event in Canada and with this kind of exposure, African journalists will experience the serene and harmonious haven that characterizes Canada’s multi-ethnic and diverse culture.

Tell us what you want to achieve with this cultural promotion?

My Aim Is to build a unique and unified world-class Cultural Platform, through the annual Pan-Afrika Drum Festival. We are fast loosing our cultural identity and orientation. There is a need for us to revive and preserve cultural heritages and values Culture encompasses a lot of things.

I have started working on how to establish a standard Art Gallery here in Toronto. Canada, where you can find a unique paintings, works of art, Canadian and African traditional drums of all kinds, artifacts and many cultural and historical items. The blueprint is ready and I have consulting and reaching out to some professors, scholars and researchers of culture and history on it.

I know it’s going requires a lot of funds, but, with time, we’ll get it done. I am so passionate and determined about it. The journey of a thousand kilometres starts one day.