Tuesday, March 28


By Tony Onyima (Ife Idemili) 

It’s usually a festival of colors. The glitz, glamour and grandeur are like honey. Every year, it attracts people from all walks of life. They all come to eat, drink and revel from the culture pot of Umuoji, a semi urban community in Idemili North LGA, Anambra State. 

From its rustic and ritualistic origins, Uzoiyi Festival  has evolved over the years to be what one writer calls “a synthesis of theatrical performances” of different masquerades in artistic animal forms. Essentially, the festival marks the beginning of the farming season hence its name Uzoiyi. The last six years, there has been  gradual and consistent effort to reposition the festival as a major event in the cultural calendar of the State. The vision is to make a global cultural brand like Nottingham Hill carnival, Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Running of the Bulls in Spain, Holi in India, and Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. The ultimate objective is to stimulate economic development. 

Culture, scholars agree, is an enabler for economic growth when it’s properly packaged as a commodity. Examples abound. According to PwC, Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil attracts an average of one million people every year and in 2012 only it contributed $628 million to the Brazilian economy. The festival which delights the world with its elaborate and colorful costumes, intricate and erotic dance routines, and creative thematic blend of past, present and future, has become one of the world’s biggest cultural events in terms of economic impact. 

Is there a festival in your community that can be commoditized into a brand? Briefly tell us about it. For me, Umuoji Uzoiyi Festival is it!

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