LAGOS: French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Lagos on Tuesday evening to the Shrine, Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti’s music venue, to celebrate Nigerian and African culture.
“I’m very happy to be here with you tonight,” said Macron, addressing the cheering and whistling crowd in English.
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, who had taken off his jacket and tie, 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.
The choice of venue surprised some Nigerians, who associate the Shrine with the anti-establishment musician.