It all began with the 80 kids (finalists of the #WS80 National Essay Competition) dressed in the bright colours of their respective ethnic groups, all seated inside the June 12 Cultural Centre in Kuto, Abeokuta. A moment later, singer Edaoto Agbeniyi’s walked in decked in a rich green ankara print buba-and-sokoto (and a very black guitar case hanging on his back); then there was that unforgetable flash of a smile from #WS80 producer, Lilian Amah-Aluko shortly afterwards.

It seemed like someone opened the floodgates of the rainbow as every single activity of the Nobel laureate’s birthday celebration onwards shifted into higher gear, including the palmwine reception and the trip to the awe-inspiring open-air amphitheater inside the ‘Ijegba’ Forest, where the play “Dance of the Forests” was to be performed.

Here are a selection of our most outstanding moments from Abeokuta as the world celebrated an African Icon. By Pelu Awofeso

 

Nigerian kids dressed in local traditional costumes
Nigerian kids dressed in local traditional costumes
Celebrant and Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka inspects the set of "Dance of the Forests"
Celebrant and Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka inspects the set of “Dance of the Forests”
A guest at the #WS80 event is all smiles just before the palmwine-laden reception
A guest at the #WS80 event is all smiles just before the palmwine-laden reception
Journalist and spoken word poet Akeem Lasisi performs a love medley titled 'Udeme' to a rousing applause
Journalist and spoken word poet Akeem Lasisi performs a love medley titled ‘Udeme’ to a rousing applause
Jamaican dub-poetry grand-master Mutabaruka is looking all regal with actress and #WS80 producer Lilian Amah-Aluko
Jamaican dub-poetry grand-master Mutabaruka is looking all regal with actress and #WS80 producer Lilian Amah-Aluko
Ogun State Commissioner for Culture & Tourism, Mrs Yewande Amusan, pours Yeni Kuti (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti's first daughter, a serving of palmwine
Ogun State Commissioner for Culture & Tourism, Mrs Yewande Amusan, pours Yeni Kuti (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s first daughter, a serving of palmwine
PR maestro Steve Babaeko and professional photographer wife, Yetunde at the palmwine reception for #WS80
PR maestro Steve Babaeko and professional photographer wife, Yetunde at the palmwine reception for #WS80
For as long as anyone will remember #WS80 celebrations in Abeokuta, there will always be reference made to the spooky evening trek through the 'Ijegba' forest and the haunting yet pleasant 80 old women at the 'gates'
For as long as anyone will remember #WS80 celebrations in Abeokuta, there will always be reference made to the spooky evening trek through the ‘Ijegba’ forest and the haunting yet pleasant 80 old women (all dressed in white wrappers and headgear) at the ‘gates’
old women at the gates
old women at the gates
folklore musician, Edaoto Agbeniyi
folklore musician, Edaoto Agbeniyi

 

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