Theatre as transcultural capital in the Sino-Nigerian relational context: cultural celebrations at the Confucius Institute in Lagos, Nigeria

  • Philip Olayoku Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies/Institute of African Studies University of Ibadan Nigeria


Studies on Afro-Asian relations have mainly focused on the grand narratives of economic, academic, and diplomatic engagements at the macro level, while discourses on the micro level cultural interactions have been given very little attention. This study, thus, addresses these fault lines by investigating exchanges at this level using the case study of theatre performance at the Confucius Institute in Lagos, Nigeria. The study examined how the use of theatre is integral to the Sino-Nigerian cultural exchanges by means of the teaching curriculum and cultural celebrations with specific focus on the Spring Festival. The study specifically investigated how performances such as drama, music, dance, martial arts and magic, project the Chinese culture in line with Mao Zedong’s and Yoruba functionalist approaches to theatre. It contends that Chinese theatre in Africa serves as an integral cultural component of the Sino-Nigerian economic, diplomatic and academic exchanges while advocating an infusion of a multiculturalist approach to the festival in which both cultures recognize and respect the ‘other’ in line with Hanban’s objective of building a harmonious world.