54.60 Africa is a stage adaptation of Femi Elufowoju jr’s 500-page travelogue of the same name.
We’re grateful to Arts Council England for funding the 2021 R&D for 54.60 Africa.
Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Cairo (Egypt), Banjul (The Gambia) & (Conakry) Guinea Republic.
The book is a seven-year detailed documented account of the author’s sojourn through the entire length and breadth of the continent of Africa. He has visited 41 out of 54 so far. His last port being Sao Tome & Principe in March 2020, the very day the world shut down to the paralysing pandemic.
The production will convey a dramatic story based on the author’s experience in each one of the continent’s 54 nations, drawing upon the ancestral and colonial past, sharing legacy and cultural encounters of the present, with a sharp focus on the economic plight of people and governments pledging a promising future.
Audiences will, at breakneck speed, experience a rapid sequence of connecting stories of survival reflecting the indominable human spirit and longevity of optimism associated with each triumph.
Nouakchott (Mauritania), Mon Tresor (Mauritius), Windhoek (Namibia), Ore (Nigeria) & Brazzaville (Republic of Congo)
Using the continent’s rich heritage, the production promises to use her eclectic tapestry of music, song and dance to accompany tales of human endurance against the earth-shattering backdrop of colonialism.
54.60 Africa will not shy away from the impact of overzealous government ambitions and the new wave of colonialism infiltrating the continent. In essence the Elufowoju jr Ensemble aims to present the creation of an imaginative and accessible theatre piece which conveys a multi-culturally pan-African story in a radical way for an all-inclusive British audience.
Africa is often seen as an ignored continent of progress in human development.
Raison d’etre for 54.60 Africa, and the many things this production will address
Tropes of old include Africa being
- a cankerworm of terrorism, poverty, forced migration, and health disease
- home to electoral mismanagement, corruption and fraud
- devoid of accountability and democracy
- a continuous imminent global threat,
- a child in need of development,
- a debilitating economic power.
Mbabane (Swaziland now Eswatini), Lome (Togo), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Tunis (Tunisia), Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare (Zimbabwe)
I have always been keen to redress the imbalance in history of the impact of the African presence on the world, and the continent’s stories within and outside the diaspora. The black presence and history in Britain are especially heavily persuaded by the Caribbean exodus to these Isles. Regrettably, the African narrative is often marginalised, or for the best part hardly referred to.Femi Elufowoju jr
Without shying away from the challenges that remain in our continent, 54:60 Africa will build bridges between her and the diaspora’s mindset. That Africa is not a threat, nor a failure. Africa is an opportunity shaped by and for African people.
Yet there is much to be said and found in British archive institutions (symbols and artefacts) such as the British Museum etc of how Africa and her descendants have influenced the world and grand design of Europe’s makeup. It feels more imperative now than any other time to correct that perspective and use theatre to release the obscure and suppressed stories of the continent’s formative upbringing, the ingenious values, science and knowledge which has been and continues to be offered to global lifestyle, culture and politics .
Everything in the press coming out of Africa for decades seems unsavoury and unkind but the continent has led the way in science and innovation with most world affairs headlines remaining silent on these platitudes. Despite the post-colonial hinderance, there is much to celebrate and share as the economic and social change in Africa is rapid and hard to ignore.