Southern Fest proves to bring peace,unity and continuity of culture amongst the seven local government areas in the southern senetorial district of Cross River State.
Mr Ekeng-ewa Emmanuel Okon, CEO of Cenuel events and Host of the Southern Festival, affirms the above assertion in an interview with the reporters from the Nneme Blog on the 21st of August,2021 at Echoes Of Calabar, 6pm.
Below is a documentation of the interview:
Interviewer 1: (After exchange of pleasantries,she procedes), How did you come up with the idea of Southern Fest ?
Interviewee: The negligence in our culture made me think of a what I can do to bring peace,love and unity amongst us, so we brought up the idea of a festival and as a means for transfer and continuity of our culture,we have to carry the youths along thereby incorporating the cultural pageantry and other activities to spice up the festival week.
One of the criterias for participation in the pageantry is that the contestant must come from any of the seven local government areas that make up the southern senetorial district of Cross River State.
Interviewer 1: What are the processes involved,what are the stages involved in the southern festival?
Interviewee: It happens every November because we don’t want it to clash with the Calabar Christmas Festival, so we begin preparations early enough.
Forms were out as at May, contestants pick the forms which is free,they convey for an auditioning which often holds in the month of August,after the auditioning is a photo session,after that rehearsals, then the main event week.
Interviewer 1: How long or how many times have the southern Fest event been staged?
Interviewee: The idea came up 3 years ago but it came into a reality last year, so this year is it’s second edition.
Interviewer 1: What should we (the public) expect from this year’s edition and what is the theme for this year’s edition?
Interviewee: Let me begin with the theme, the theme for last year was “cultural Reineisance” that is rebirth, we wanted to let the public know that we were not just hosting a festival but we were telling our stories.
The theme for this year is; “Culture and it’s beauty for economic growth”, we want to drive home a message than we should not dump our cultural artifacts,these cultural artifacts can be monetized for economic growth.
About the expectations of the masses, all I can say is that it’s going to be bigger and better than last year’s edition.
Interviewer 1: what part of culture is the southern Fest laying emphasis on? Personally,I believe that my culture is my identity and culture encompasses food, dressing, language and many more.
Interviewee: I want us to Correct the impression that Efiks don’t love themselves. We are we’ll known for hospitality and rich culture, we can maximize that aspect for economic growth. There is barely any home that you’ll go to and still find our cultural artifacts like paintings and others. H
we have the food/cooking competition, Arts/artifacts display, masquerade display,Tours and cultural pageantry within the festival week, I believe that as we keep growing we’ll keep unfolding new dimensions of culture that has been lost.
Interviewer 2: what has been your setbacks and how do you intend to overcome them this time? Secondly, you and I know that projects like this are capital intensive,how do you intend to get funds and support?
Interviewee: Last year was rough,it was not easy to host an event in the midst of covid lock down and the global pandemic.
Funds were not easy to come by but I and my team were able to host an event that was a talk of the Town,worth 1.7 million naira.
We’re still awaiting endorsement from the ministry of culture and tourism which we partnered with last year and also the events department, Governor’s office to see if cars can come in as prizes this year. I believe that southern Fest will be massive on the 28th of November this year.
Interviewer 2: What do you have to say to the young person out there?
Interviewee: I urge them to follow their dreams and pursue their passions.
Interviewer 2: we will wrap it up here, thank you for having us and thank you for your time.
Interviewers and interviewee exchange pleasantries and depart.
Interviewer 1: Racheal Bassey.
Interviewer 2: Victor Ekpe.