French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said he was thrilled with his visit to the Shrine, Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti’s music venue, to celebrate Nigerian and African culture.
Macron, who arrived in the company of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos and Fela’s son, Femi Kuti, addressed the cheering and whistling crowd in English, saying: “I’m very happy to be here with you tonight.”
Macron went directly to the Shrine from Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari on the second day of his visit to West Africa after Mauritania on Monday.
The French president said he was happy to return to Nigeria, where he had done an internship at the French embassy in 2002 and had visited the Shrine.
Describing the concert hall as “iconic”, Macron said that “we have to build a new common narrative” in Africa.
“You have to recognise the bad and negative pages of this history, but you have to move forward,” he said to applause.
Macron was at the Shrine to announce the launch of the African Cultural Season which takes place in France in 2020, showcasing music, fashion, cinema and theatre.