I am very fortunate to have experienced some milestones in my career as an actress quite early. Coming from a proficient IT background it was with some form of scepticism that family and friends watched me dive into a different field entirely.
I have always loved acting. I would catch myself playing certain roles of movies that I enjoyed growing up. It is an innate ability that I did not want to watch go to waste. As much as I relished my life as a corporate career woman, I was glad to take the leap into Nollywood. I left a great life in the UK to start all over in Nigeria. I have had my doubts, of course. There were times I just wanted to pack it all up and head back to the UK- to a job I know would gladly have me back. But I would pause and re-think; the desire to be what I truly want to be would lead me back to peace where I would look through my doubts and patches of pessimism and find something to hold on to. There is always something to hold on to as long as you recognise you are on the right path. If it gives you peace then just maybe it is what you should pursue.
I was talking about milestones- yes! When CNN came calling two years ago for an interview about Nollywood, I was elated. Friends from all over the world called and talked about the video for weeks! It was like the baptism of assurance I needed. Working with some of the pioneers of Nollywood has also been great highpoints for my career; so there is a lot to be grateful for. While still counting my blessings and looking into a future that looks bright, I got a call from a representative of African Youth Panel in The Gambia recently.
I had been selected, along with 19 other representatives from different African countries, as an Ambassador of the Africa Youth Panel (AYP)- a Pan-African youth organization with strategic focus on youth participation in governance and youth employability, established under the auspices of the Danish Africa Commission (DAC) in 2008 in Addis Ababa.
As part of celebrations of International Youth Day 2013, the African Youth Panel organised the Africa Youth Charter Ambassador program- an extensive training platform aimed to duly equip its Ambassadors for the crucial youth activity ahead, and grooming “young voices” that would be heard and respected all over the world.
With notable African figures of diverse backgrounds including academicians, civil society experts, entrepreneurs, art managers and politicians in attendance, the 4-day meeting organised in collaboration with the Children and Community Initiative for Development (CAID), with support funds from the Roskilde Charity Society of Denmark was an eye-opener to the potential that can be duly utilised in creating a more vibrant youth-drive in the continent, channelling all the necessary resources- both material and intellectual- to building a strong network of young-changers. Being a part of that was amazing!
In attendance were youth leaders, musicians, actors, celebrities and the media participating in the training along with relevant partners like the African Union Commission Youth Division, Pan African Youth Union, Ministry of Youth and Sports of The Gambia, Gambia National Youth Council and the Mandingmorry Foundation for Performing Arts (MANFOPA).
Working with AYP gives me and other representatives the ability to affect different cultures and countries in Africa through the strong network that it provides, developing activities to make sure that the Ambassadors are actively engaged in national, regional and continental themes affecting the continent.
All of over Africa, Nollywood is noted for being an influential sector and representing this industry, yet again, makes me so proud. The impact we can make as a nation towards building a better future for the youths are immense. I feel like it is a good time to be African.