This year, the francophonie festival in Abuja, coordinated by the Embassy of France and the Institut français du Nigeria from March 17th to 25th, took many shapes. First, the presence of the Ivorian writer Edwige Dro and the writing projects organised with her were a good opportunity to celebrate the French language and its literature around the world. French gastronomy was celebrated with “Goût de France” in 3 Abuja restaurants with two gastronomic diners in two Abuja restaurants, and one cooking lesson lead by famous Togolese chef Victor.
The francophonie brings together countries sharing and promoting the same values of humanism, democracy and diversity of cultures. Several embassies in the city organised discussions and film screenings around these topics. The closing ceremony took place at the Embassy of Belgium on March 24th, in partnership with the Institut français and the International Institute for Creative Development (IICD Centre). About 300 people attended the evening, composed of one artistic performance, speeches by the ambassadors of Belgium and France. Several pieces of the Lagos focused photographic exhibition “Dey your Lane!” were exhibited.
The week ended in a full day and night of festivities at the Institut français du Nigéria. The students of the Institut français, of the French school and other Abuja schools had worked around the French word “Emoticône” with their French teachers. They create collages, paintings and poems, which were all hung on a cord around the building so that the public could vote for the best one. 90 children from these same primary schools also participated in a performance competition and in a quiz about French culture. The winner won a flight to France offered by Air France. The International Food Fair brought together 7 francophone communities (Belgium, Senegal, Burkina-Faso, France, Côte d’Ivoire, Switzerland, Cameroon), as well as Nigeria, who showcased traditional cuisine from their countries. Finally, the iconic Jos based singer Jeremiah Gyang gave a 2 hours long performance in front of an audience of 250 people.