The Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), will hold an International Conference on resilience against slavery.
Ikechukwu Erojikwe, the convener of the conference and a senior lecturer at the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, UNN, disclosed this in Nsukka on Monday while briefing reporters on how to commemorate the 220 years when Igbos who were forcefully taken to the United States for slavery, known as ‘Igbo Landing’.
He said that the conference, slated to hold from May 23 to 24, would feature a stage play, titled “Ikenga: The Dramatic Recreation of the Igbo Landing Story,” and an exhibition that would capture the events of 1803 in various dimensions.
Mr Erojikwe recalled that Igbo Landing was the first black civil rights movement in human history in 1803 when 75 Igbos were captured by slave raiders in the Otuocha/Aguleri area of Anambra State.
He explained that the slaves were taken through the Omambala River in Anambra to Calabar and then moved to the United States of America.
He noted that at Dunbar Creek in Georgia, US, the Igbo captives said no to slavery and walked into the sea in mass suicide.
“The aim of the conference that would bring people from different walks of life is to showcase the Igbo worldview, their spirituality, arts, technology, science, and other concepts that will inform the world on the rich cultural heritage of the Igbo people.
“The stage play, titled “Ikenga: The Dramatic Recreation of the Igbo Landing Story,” and exhibitions, will capture the events of 1803 in various dimensions which will enable participants to understand what transpired 220 years ago.
“This conversation on forced slavery will tell the story of the heroic deeds of our forebears, while the exhibition will preserve, promote and document this historical monument of our history,” he said.
The convener also disclosed that Chima Korieh, a professor at the Institute of African Studies, UNN, would be the keynote speaker, while Damian Opata, UNN emeritus professor, and Water Hawthrone, a professor of History from Michigan State University, US, would be among the lead paper presenters.
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According to Mr Erojikwe the two-day event would kick off on May 23 with exhibitions and a candlelight procession that will take place from UNN’s Arts Theatre to the Pavilion of Theatre and Film Studies for an evening of chants, poetry, and cocktails.
He said that, on May 24, there would be a courtesy visit to Charles Igwe, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, before the commencement of the opening ceremony.
Mr Erojikwe listed some partners to the conference to include the Institute of African Studies, Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Department of History and International Relations and Centre for Igbo Studies, UNN, Council for Igbo States in America, and Centres for Igbo Studies, Dominican University, Chicago, United States.
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