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ENTERTAINMENT: The Nollywood pioneer seeking perfection in African storytelling

To an entire generation of Nigerian millennials, Ego Boyo was their first encounter with onscreen celebrity. Three decades after her first grand appearance on the scene, the Nigerian actress, filmmaker, activist and philanthropist has lived several lives in one, wearing each phase confidently.

As the star of the popular early ’90s television series, Checkmate, Boyo’s celebrity predated her success in the direct-to-video film industry that would come to be called Nollywood. In Checkmate, Boyo, who played an ambitious and resourceful young heiress, was on primetime national television every week, at a time when television was the central medium for distributing entertainment content.

“Her onscreen career predates Nollywood,” Rejoice Abutsa, a film and media studies scholar at Cornell University, tells Al Jazeera. “It is a career that has survived the gendered, industrial and technological shifts that have transformed Nollywood. In making the transition from acting to producing, Boyo went beyond performing in roles that were already determined for her, staking her capital in the field and ensuring that she too could determine the type of stories that were told and how they were told.”

Nollywood’s growth has favoured quantity and speed in filmmaking, but with her three-decade career, Boyo, now 55, has favoured slower production. As a producer, Boyo has assumed a leadership role that her peers have said often points new directions to where the industry should be headed. Her films, ranging from 1996’s family drama, Violated, to 2019’s, The Ghost and the House of Truth, have been industry leaders, winning multiple awards.

This commitment to artistic excellence has not always translated to popularity but as Boyo tells Al Jazeera, she wouldn’t have it any other way, “I normally start with the story. The script has to get me excited not because everyone else is doing it but because I am interested in it. I ensure that the script is where I need it to be and start to visualize who I want from crew to cast.”

This pre-production process can often last for years, during which Boyo’s peers might have churned out multiple titles in quick succession.

Ego Boyo

But Boyo remains committed to a detailed development process,

“The criticism I get is that we take too much time, but I like that process because then when I make the film, it is something I have thought through,” she tells Al Jazeera. “I would have assembled a team that is committed to the project, and we know exactly what we want to achieve. I know people have other processes, but this has worked for me. If I can get it to a place that is as close to perfect as I can then that is very satisfying for me.”

Her work has the accolades to back her up.

The Ghost and the House of Truth, a contemplative drama about forgiveness and redemption won awards for director Akin Omotoso and leading lady Kate Henshaw and was named best world film at the Urbanworld film festival in New York City where it premiered.

Even her second outing as a solo producer – the little-seen, 30 Days, about a crew of skilled female assassins – punished boundaries. The film had an oral sex scene considered risqué for its 2007 arrival time.

The 2002 romantic comedy Keeping Faith essentially changed the way Nollywood approached romance and helped launch an aspirational romantic comedy sub-industry. Boyo also championed innovative publicity campaigns for some of these films, hosting themed, glamorous big-screen premieres even when the industry had no theatres to support the films.

In 2017, after plans to adapt Sefi Atta’s radio play, The Engagement, fell through, Boyo refocused and made A Hotel Called Memory, an experimental film with zero dialogue and very few box office prospects.

Mildred Okwo, a childhood friend who directed, 30 Days, and has cast Boyo in two films considered Boyo’s legacy, “Ego has shaped Nollywood considerably even though the industry never really stops to figure out the people that have shaped it. Many years from now someone who is objective will do a survey and they will find Ego’s films will be among the very important ones. Each one of her films has moved the industry forward in significant ways. If you track the progression, you can see someone trying to get better.”

Shuaibu Husseini, an industry veteran and jury member of the Africa Film Academy Awards agrees.”She is one person who invests in production values and ensures every aspect is taken care of,” he says. “She breaks out of the usual Nollywood model of quick, microwave filmmaking and takes her time to make films that are critically acclaimed. We still reference, Violated, and, A Hotel Called Memory, today for their quality and substance.”

Boyo on set in Asaba, Nigeria as a producer for the 1996 film, Violated [Courtesy of Ego Boyo]
Boyo on set in Asaba, Nigeria as a producer for the 1996 film, Violated [Courtesy of Ego Boyo]

In July 1967, war broke out in Nigeria after its eastern region declared itself an independent republic.

Ego was born Nwakaego Nnamani in the middle of this chaos, to a Nigerian father and a mother from Barbados. Her late father, Augustine Nnamani was a former supreme court justice and justice minister.

Her birthplace was the city of Umuahia, which was at a point the capital of the new republic but is today part of the southeastern state of Abia in a unified Nigeria. She was only a few days old when she was taken to Barbados where she lived with her maternal family until after the war, returning in 1971.

Showing an early proclivity for the arts, Boyo was admitted to the University of Benin where she studied theatre arts with a focus on television and film. She was fresh out of school when she landed the plum Checkmate gig, created by the late maverick producer Amaka Igwe.

Boyo recalled being overwhelmed by the opportunity. “I remember driving to the location in Ikorodu [area of Lagos], meeting other members of the quite impressive cast and feeling intimidated because they were all professionals, and I was just starting out.” She credited Igwe, who was also a young woman at the time, with ensuring everyone blended seamlessly.

Checkmate wasn’t just the most popular soap on television at the time – it ran from 1991 to 1994 – it also had a significant cultural impact. At the time, actors were not considered reputable members of society, but Boyo said people would come up to tell her that they found her role as the independent-minded businesswoman Ann Haatrope dignifying, and this made it less stigmatising, for women in particular, to go into film and TV.

“That is also when I realized we were changing minds and convincing girls that the corporate world was for them,” Boyo added.

The success of Checkmate made it clear to Boyo though that she did not particularly enjoy the exposure that came with acting. She said, “I didn’t realise at the time how interested people would be in my life beyond the screen. It did scare me.”

Still, when Igwe invited her to produce Violated, their next project together, she leapt at the opportunity, “When the opportunity came to produce, it almost felt like something clicked and I had found what I was supposed to be doing. Amaka was a great teacher. I was a first-time producer, and she gave me free rein and I thrived.”

Producing was such a fit for Boyo that she disappeared from the screens totally, bidding goodbye to her leading lady era. Over the years, she has popped up in the occasional supporting role in a handful of films by trusted directors.

Ego Boyo, middle, joins a walk against rape in Lagos, Nigeria [Courtesy of Ego Boyo]
Ego Boyo, middle, joins a walk against rape in Lagos, Nigeria [Courtesy of Ego Boyo]While she was away, Boyo had three children, started her production company, Temple Productions and went to work making projects for corporate clients.

She also founded a school, after a real-life plot twist that launched one of her philanthropic pursuits.

The proprietor of the school where her children were enrolled decided to shut it down permanently, potentially leaving the children without an education. Boyo teamed up with eleven other parents to start the Lagos Preparatory School in Ikoyi.

Her childhood friend Okwo was far from surprised at this turn of events.

“Ego is a person that reads far and wide and goes out of her way to learn new things and stay informed,” she told Al Jazeera. “I doubt that there is any subject she doesn’t have some knowledge about.”

Her passion for education has also informed the advocacy and philanthropy work that she does. In 2016, the Oando Foundation, a non-profit focused on education, reached out to Boyo for assistance with an unbudgeted project. Boyo’s husband is the deputy chief executive at the foundation’s parent company, the oil company Oando PLC.

A school in Ewekoro, a suburb of Ogun state was relocated temporarily to a poultry pen because a number of the pupils had been killed in accidents while attempting to cross the road to get to school. The poultry pen was, however, infested by snakes and uninhabitable during the rainy season.

After being contacted by the foundation, Boyo sprung into action.

She sent a film crew pro bono to document the story and amplified the project, involving many of her celebrity contacts like actress Kate Henshaw who helped drum up support to eventually raise the funds that completed a new school building.

Henshaw told Al Jazeera, “The first time I went to the school, I was in tears and to go back after a year or so to see a completed building, toilet, laptops for the students … It was a joy to behold.”

“Ego’s impact is huge,” she added. “She has integrity. She is about the detail and quality of work, but she cares about people. She is a huge asset to the film industry.”

She has also delved into the roles and treatment of women in Nigerian society after an immersive theatre production on sexual assault left an indelible impact on her and she began to pay closer attention. At a rally to support victims of sexual violence, Boyo met Itoro Eze-Anaba whose foundation set up the Mirabel Centre, Nigeria’s first sexual assault referral centre.

Boyo was gratified when she received the invitation to join the Mirabel Centre’s governing board and has thrust herself headlong into the work, advising on communication strategies and media initiatives.

Eze-Anaba offered her immediate impressions about the Nollywood star: “Ego Boyo is not silent on issues she is passionate about. She lends her voice loudly and takes a stand.”

She further praised Boyo’s passion and generosity, saying, “We have made contact with celebrities who are not even in Ego’s league only for them to demand payment to work with us. Ego is committing her time and resources to ensuring that the Centre continues to provide free services to survivors and without asking for anything in return. She is a treasure.”

Disturbed by the careless misogyny she has often come across on the internet, Boyo who calls herself an “unapologetic feminist”, is presently interested in advocacy programmes looking to change the ways women are represented in media and has set up a foundation to support non-profits with media services.

She has encouraged writers and filmmakers to reconsider the kind of images they put out into the world. “Instead of having the woman browbeaten all the time, we can have a woman who stands up for herself or one who is not dependent on a man for her livelihood. In 2023, we still see ads with women in the kitchen and the man watching television. Would it be so shocking to have a guy in the kitchen making food? Isn’t that the reality for some people? And in any case, can we not imagine a better world?”

She continued, “I believe women should be treated equally to men with same opportunities and expectations. This has come out a bit in my work sometimes intentionally or otherwise. If there is any opportunity that I can give to a competent woman, then I am happy to.”

“I have waited long enough, seen enough, experimented with failure in the market and at the box office to now see that this is the way it has to be" - Ego Boyo [[Courtesy of Ego Boyo]
“I have waited long enough, seen enough, experimented with failure in the market and at the box office to now see that this is the way it has to be” – Ego Boyo [[Courtesy of Ego Boyo]

With streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon now helping Nollywood filmmakers reach global audiences that were previously inaccessible, Boyo is cautiously optimistic even when the industry has given her several reasons to doubt. Her movies are largely self-funded by profits from her corporate output, and she stresses that she wouldn’t be making movies if she didn’t have this privilege.

But she has had her challenges.

Despite its cultural resonance, Keeping Faith, failed to turn a profit for her as she sold the video rights to a middleman marketer upfront for a price she describes as “negligible,” effectively cutting herself out of future profits. This marketer would later confess to her that the film was one of his biggest-selling titles.

It wasn’t until, The Ghost and the House of Truth, that Boyo first turned a profit on one of her projects. Overcoming a disappointing theatrical run at home, the film scored a couple of streaming and video-on-demand deals that reaped a tidy profit.

As she’s grown as a businesswoman and prepares her next slate of films – at least two features and one historical documentary – Boyo is learning to balance her artistic instincts against the cut-throat demands of the business.

Now reluctant to assume all of the financial risk, Boyo says collaboration is key and financing and distribution must be in place before she makes another film. “I have waited long enough, seen enough, experimented with failure in the market and at the box office to now see that this is the way it has to be. But I have great faith that I would be able to get the deals done.”

Many in the industry believe it would be wrong to bet against her, given her precedents in weathering its different phases.

“She has always brought her A-game from her days on television through the transition to movies and then to producing,” Husseini tells Al Jazeera. “A lot of people have looked up to her and she raises the game each time.”

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‘My most amazing moment is the wedding I did for someone who didn’t have the funds to pay me’- Peggy Graham

Peggy Graham is a Pharmacy technician,  Travel agent, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lesia’s Elite Event Planning, LLC

Born and raised in Rembert, South Carolina, Peggy is the oldest of three children from her parents, and her journey as a travel agent began at a very young age when her family would travel during holidays and vacations to visit relatives in other states. She was always intrigued by the differences and similarities of people from all walks of life.

In 2003, Peggy moved to Mableton, Georgia, and joined the healthcare industry by becoming a full-time, certified Pharmacy Technician but as a born businesswoman and traveler who has been helping her clients to plan everything from business trips to weekend getaways for years. She began to see just how much of a positive impact traveling can have on one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

She decided to become a travel agent, which allows her to combine her love of travel with her passion for caring for others. As a natural planner and traveler, Peggy takes pride and careful consideration to ensure that each of her clients has travel experiences that are not just affordable, but also unforgettable. Whether you desire to stay close to home or travel abroad, She can help you make memories that are worth every penny. She owns Lesia’s Elite Event Planning, LLC. When she’s not working, she enjoys traveling, shopping, and playing kickball.

Summer and Dejon’s Wedding

In this interview, Peggy Graham shares her experience, challenges, and the growth of Lesia’s Elite Event Planning LLC with ADEWALE ADENRELE

Below are excerpts:

  • Please introduce Lesia’s Elite Event Planning, LLC

I’m Peggy Graham, The Owner of Lesia’s Elite Event Planning. We are a mobile company

  • How did Lesia’s Elite Event Planning, LLC come to be?

It all started back in November 1990, When I got married, I found myself disliking everything my planner was trying to do so I jumped in and voiced my opinion and concerns so after that I decided that it was something I could do on my own.

  • Did you quit your job to start Lesia’s Elite Event Planning, LLC?

No!!! I’m still working a full-time job as a pharmacy technician, so I’m working Lesia’s Elite Event Planning as a part-time job, one day I will come off of my 9-5 job.

  • What is most rewarding about running your own business and how were you able to combine Event planning and interior designing?

Being able to work, when I want to work and also meeting new people at the same time. Planning and doing interior design are about the same in the same field. You had to learn how to match colors and how set things in appropriate places and stay in tune with trending changes. Also hearing here from God. I only designed what he wants me to design after I hear from the Holy Spirit.

  • Who are your clients?

My Clients are a variety of people, including Church anniversaries, Schools, Birthday Parties, Weddings, Graduation Parties, Wedding Anniversary Parties, Baby Shower, and Engagement parties. Etc  Family Reunion

  • What can Lesia’s Elite Event Planning, LLC do that other outfits cannot?

Lesia’s Elite Event Planning offers a relationship with all her clients and is also a budget-friendly company

  • What does Lesia’s Elite Event Planning, LLC need to be able to grow?

Lesia’s Elite Event Planning needs more customers and more business partners

Peggy at a bridal show
  • What are your ambitions in terms of (international) markets, and growth especially in Africa?

I’m excited about international travel, especially in Africa

  • What do you want people and companies that read this interview to do?

Lesia’s Elite Event Planning would like for any potential customers to reach out to us and let’s see if we can collaborate on so events or just network with each other

  • African ethnic groups and tribes have customs and traditions that are unique to their culture. What do you like about African Culture?

Lesia’s Elite Event Planning always loved the African transitions weddings, it’s like a piece of art how everything is so unique and different.

  • African Development Magazine would like to promote your events, and reporting activities, will you give us this chance?


  • Amazing memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory?

My most amazing moment is the wedding I did for someone who didn’t have the funds to pay me

  • What advice would you give the younger ones?

Stay true to your dreams, Don’t give up, and even if you’re not sure what you’re doing don’t let them see you sweat



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Thando Ntuli unveils new collection, revives family history at South African Fashion Week

Thando Ntuli, a young designer who just unveiled her new collection at South African Fashion Week, hopes her clothes will convey a sense of home.

Models present creations by MUNKUS during the second day of the South African Fashion Week (SAFW), at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 21, 2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The 25-year-old, who grew up in the township of Soweto, took inspiration from the dresses and skirts she used to borrow from her mother and grandmother in the 1980s and 1990s.

“I just want this sense of home to be given, or transferred to the people wearing the brand,” said Ntuli, whose brand is called “Munkus” after a term of endearment that her family uses for her.

The designer dedicated her Autumn/Winter 2023 collection to her mother and explored the different roles women play in society.

“I looked into the five personas that my mum represents: she’s basically a giver, a nurturer, a lover, a fighter, and a leader,” Ntuli told Reuters.

This multitude of roles is reflected in different silhouettes and colours the designer used in her collection, which includes a dress with an image of Ntuli’s mother printed on the front.


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ENTERTAINMENT: AFRIMA 2022 voting starts Sunday September 25

The voting portal for the 2022 edition of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) will be opened on Sunday, September 25, at 21:00 (CAT),  to the public, globally, to decide the winners of each of the 39 award categories.

The International Committee of the All Africa Music Award (AFRIMA), in conjunction with the African Union Commission (AUC), made this announcement, on Friday, encouraging African music lovers to vote intensively using the voting portal live at, before the portal closes on December 10, 2022, which is the eve of the awards.

More information on the voting process, which would also be audited by the International auditing firm, PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC), can also be found on the website, as well as AFRIMA’s social media (Instagram/TikTok – @Afrima.official; Facebook – Afrimawards; Twitter – @afrimaofficial).

Like it did at the AFRIMA 2021 edition, the PWC, which has audited other major global awards including the Oscars, will audit the voting portal, collate the votes and present them at the awards.

According to AFRIMA’s Executive Producer/President, Mike Dada, “AFRIMA’S core values of FACE IT – Fairness, Authenticity, Creativity, Excellence, Integrity and Transparency remain at the heart of our operations. With PWC, we are further reinforcing these value drivers, ensuring that we remain as inclusive, credible, and authentic as always.”

Recall that the list of nominees was unveiled globally last Wednesday, revealing 382 nominations across all 39 categories. The nominations, which have been greeted with positive acclaim across the world, are the fruit of a rigorous 10-day adjudication held by AFRIMA’s 13-member jury, in July. Also, only entries within the validity period of August 20, 2021, to August 5, 2022, were considered for nomination for this year’s awards.

As the ultimate recognition of African music, globally, we are a source of inspiration to both music gatekeepers and music lovers across the entire industry

According to AFRIMA’s Executive Producer/President, Mr Mike Dada, the awards body remains the ultimate recognition of African music globally, also serving as a muse to other award bodies across the continent.

“We are not oblivious to the fact that there are some other award bodies that copy our nominations every year. As the ultimate recognition of African music, globally, we are a source of inspiration to both music gatekeepers and music lovers across the entire industry. AFRIMA continues to blaze the trail in celebrating African talent and developing our creative ecosystem, and this year’s edition is a step further in that direction,” he said.

On her part, the African Union Commission’s Head of Culture, Mrs. Angela Martins encouraged music lovers to vote decisively and objectively.

She said, “We have done our part. It is left to you the fans to now decide your winners. Remember that these categories are highly competitive and are based on merit. Let your votes help the best person(s) emerge as champion.”

2022 All Africa Music Awards will now be held from the 8th to 11th December 2022. A special announcement will be made on the host country and location for the awards, on 30th September 2022.

The AFRIMA awards ceremony will feature a 4-day fiesta of music, glitz, and glamour aimed at celebrating Africa, recognizing talents and expanding the economic frontiers of the culture and creative industry on the continent. The event is scheduled to commence with the welcome soiree, followed by the AFRIMA Music Village, the host city tour, Africa Music Business Summit, and the exclusive nominees’ party and concluded with the live awards ceremony broadcast to over 84 countries around the world.

African music lovers can take part in the events on social media, live stream on the AFRIMA website at and visit the social media platforms (IG/TikTok – @afrima.official; Facebook – Afrimawards; Twitter – @afrimaofficial; LinkedIn – AFRIMA) ), and they can watch the event coverage by tuning in to their local and cable TV providers.

In partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA is a youth-focused music platform that recognizes and rewards the work and talents of African artists across generations.

AFRIMA primarily stimulates conversations among Africans, and also the rest of the world, especially on the potential of the creative arts for fostering real human enterprise, as well as contributing significantly to social cohesion, as well as sustainable development in Africa. The Programme of events is in line with the AU Agenda 2063 which outlines Aspiration 05 as the development of the arts and culture sector including its cultural and creative industries, to boost the development of the African economy

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ENTERTAINMENT: Lack of funds is killing actors in the movie industry- Martini

Martins Omosigho Ogbebor is a fast-rising actor who has got a lot to offer in the movie industry.

Since 2016 when he joined the industry, he has been putting on foot ahead of the others gradually and he has been working hard to make sure he’s part of the new breed of actors who are changing the narrative of Nollywood movies.

In this interview with ADEWALE ADENRLE, the fast-rising actor Martini shares his experience and challenges in the movie industry and how eager to work with living legends.

Below are excerpts:

Can you tell us briefly about yourself, your family, and your educational background?

I am Martins Omosigho Ogbebor, popularly known as Martini. I was born on the 8th of May in Benin City but grew up in Lafiaji, Lagos State. I am the first child with two siblings. I graduated from the University of Benin (Ekenwan campus), Edo State where I obtained a Degree in studied fine and applied art. I later joined the Itele D-icon school of performing art and graduated with a certificate.

How did you begin your acting career?

I started my career professionally in 2016 as a trainee and in 2017, I was introduced to the ” D-icon school of performing arts, owned by Ibrahim Yekini Bakare a.k.a ITELE, by one of my big sisters, Bimbo Oshin. Where I was awarded Theatre Art Certificate in November 2019. I met Bimbo Oshin through her elder sister MUMMY OGUNYE, who handed me over to sis Bimbo Oshin and she advised me to join the school of art then since then my Acting Career.

Martini on the movie set

What are the challenges faced when you started acting?

The only challenge I have is finances, leaving a paid job for acting. It has not been so easy but I still thank Almighty God that has been using my Boss “Itele” for me all along. Financial assistance is killing all actors in the industry, the Government is not supporting too and Pirates are not helping as well because we hardly see our profit.

Who are some of your contemporaries in your industry?

I’ll say Rilwan Ologolo (BENZEMA), Olotu Yusuf (OLOTU), Akeem Adeyemi(SUGAR BOY) Kiki Bakare, Feranmi Oyalowo, Babatunde Aderinoye just to mention a few.

How many movies have you produced?

Two movies at the moment OLOGBOJO and ASOGBA ( the gardener). But presently working on another project, so my fans should be expecting another great movie from me. Y’all should watch for my next production.

Do you have any favourite actors whom you would love to act alongside? Yes sure,

I’ll love to work with Zubbi Micheal, Ramsey Noah, Gabriel Afolayan, Osas Ighodaro, and other great icons. Though have worked with big shots in the industry but still wish to work with the likes of Richard Mofe Damijo, Kemi Adetiba, Funke Akindele, Dakore Akande, Joke Silva, and a lot more. I will love to work with these people because their acting inspires me, when I see them acting, I can see other professional acting skills in them.

Which particular Yoruba movie brought you to the limelight, and which is the defining movie?

‘WURA MI’ brought me out, produced and directed by ITELE D’icon. The magnificent role in the movie earned the attention of many producers and directors. WURA MI is an intriguing movie where a child decided to marry his mother as a wife simply because of the love he had for his mother and the promise the mother made for his husband before his demise. I played the role of the husband (Bode) a man who loves his wife but dies when his wife was pregnant.

How do you take negative stories and comments?

Critics is very important to growth. Negative critics make me double up, I don’t let negative comments bring me down because people will surely talk even when you are doing the right thing, I am not perfect and I go with the positive ones and it makes me work harder.

If one pays too much attention to noise, one would put oneself in trouble.

What do you do next?

Like I said earlier if one pays too much attention to noise, one would put oneself in trouble. I ignore the ones that are not useful to me because if you pay attention to it, it’s gonna bring you down. People will surely talk but for me No Negative vibes

Martins Omosigho Ogbebor a.k.a Martini

When did you get your first shot at a financial breakthrough?

I’m yet to get that financial breakthrough though, still praying for more grace upon my career so as to get to the peak but I still thank God that I’m not where i used to be. Hallelujah!!!

Poor subtitling of Yoruba movies has been recurring; do you think it can be nipped in the bud?

The subtitle is very important in both Yoruba and English movies. However, the mistake is inevitable though, I’m not indulging them, and I can only beg the part of production that handle it to please pay attention to details.

What do you like about African Culture?

African culture is rich in cultural values. Edo, for instance, has the most beautiful traditional wedding attire, I like our language. I also love Yoruba food, dance, traditional festivals, and many more.

Amazing memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory?

The most amazing memory is when I emerged the 1st runner-up in Glo Rock and Rule in 2011 in Benin City. Because I remember I was not even expecting it. Someone back then in school forced me to go for it. And he noticed I was reluctant to go get a form that was free. He told me “MARTINI, go get the form, I believe in you”. I now thought about it that someone else believes in me and I don’t believe in myself. So I went to get the form. And the rest was history.

What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue your profession?

Advice to those who are coming into the industry, firstly, they have to be sure they are really passionate about it, and focused, they have to go to either a film academy or University to study it because fundamental knowledge about the industry is very important. Again, they should remember persistency and consistency wins the race here.

No competition but be determined to win and bring others up. Lastly, they should put every in the hands of God.

Thank you for sharing with African Development Magazine (ADM)

Thank you.

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PROFILE: Meet H.E. Mrs Nasseneba Touré Diané

H.E. Mrs. Nasseneba Touré was born in Korhogo (Côte d’Ivoire) where she began her schooling. At the age of 19, after the baccalaureate, she left to continue her studies in the United States.

It was there that she began politics. With a degree in computer science and telecommunications, she began her career at Comsat, one of the American leaders in the sector, before landing at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), then at the World Bank in Washington.

In 2007, she joined the Ivorian administration as a Technical Advisor to the Ministry of New Information and Communication Technologies (NTIC). She was then appointed to become Technical Advisor to then Prime Minister Guillaume Kigbafori Soro in 2008.

In April 2012, she became the first woman mayor of Odienné, a municipality in the northwest of Côte d’Ivoire, and the 4th Vice-President of the Union of Cities and Municipalities of Côte d’Ivoire (UVICOCI).

H.E. Mrs Nasseneba Touré has received several awards over the years. Most notably, in 2014, she obtained from the President of the Republic Alassane Ouattara, “The Excellence Award for the best mayor of Côte d’Ivoire”, after two years of municipal management. She also received, in 2015, a Commander in the Order of National Education of Côte d’Ivoire.

H.E. Mrs. Nasseneba Touré is married and a mother of three children, is very involved in social actions. As designated godmother of the Dominique Ouattara Foundation, Children of Africa, H.E. Mrs. Nasseneba Touré is very active in the field of health.

She is currently the Minister of Women, Family and Children.

Credit: African Partnership to end violence agianst children


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ENTERTAINMENT: Finally, R. Kelly found guilty of sex-trafficking and racketeering charges

R. Kelly on Monday was convicted of leading a decades-long sex crime ring, with a New York jury finding the superstar singer guilty on all nine charges, including racketeering.

After six weeks of disturbing testimony, the jury deliberated just nine hours before finding the incarcerated 54-year-old celebrity, trailed by sex abuse allegations for decades, guilty.

R. Kelly’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 4, 2022. He could spend the rest of his life in prison, representing a remarkable downfall for the singer who once stood atop the world of R&B.

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Imperial-Majesty Empress Elham Madani Reveals How She Became A Powerful Modern Queen of Humanitarians

In this Interview with African Development Magazine, Her Imperial Majesty, Dr. Elham Madani speaks about her life journey and experience during the war.  She also discussed her plan in unifying royal houses across the globe, service to humanity, women’s empowerment, engaging youths through art, culture, and tourism, and her lead role as “Princess” in the coming movie titled “Legends of Africa”.

Below are excerpts:

Can you tell us briefly about yourself, your family?

Thank you so much. I am the only child of medical physician parents and was raised to be very independent to rely on myself but during the war, I lost my mother and home and it is the reason that caused me a lot of emotional pain and trauma because my father had to take care many wounded patients in the war. I was facing and feeling a lot of pain from the people around me and that caused me to be different. Elham since my childhood as known from Elham to Empress Elham. I passed through tremendous difficult journeys and of course, the spiritual line of the God calling causes me to be very different in a positive way.

I was supposed to be a medical doctor but then I decided to be the eyes and vision of the people that suffered during the war in order to protect them. I chose to be the mental doctor to heal the spirits and I became the professor and a spiritual Queen.

You are the founder & CEO, WIND International Film Festival, Mighty Vision Pictures, INC, and World Cinema Academy, what are the motivation, vision, and mission of this great concept?

To save the world through art and culture, bring peace through creativity, to make people busy in their own self-power. Instead of destroying, we are building with the colour of their beautiful dimensional creative spirit.

Queen Elham Madani

You are popularly known as the‘’ Empire of Madani” can you tell us the secret behind it?

The way that Yoruba is Yoruba today. Madani is and shall be Madanis forever to come. My old Madani royal from Madani’s dynasty served the world thousands of years ago with dignity and hardworking, they were the highest educated in their society, to advance humanity and we shall be the same. I am hoping to see true Madani’s in the world through being connected to the Empire of Madani to build things right altogether.

It’s not a one-way road, you bring things, we build you and  use generation grow. It’s like that.

Promoting culture has been your priority, what motivated you into this?

To bring heal the people and to communicate to the world together through the art and beauty of God. The world is a gift to us and I try to let people be united by using their voices and visions through art, culture, and creative aspects. Though it consists of good and bad things but if we create more good things, we can create a weapon against the dark side of it that is why I celebrate and use this artistic weapon to unite the works with peace with love.

What do you like about African culture?

African spirituality path history mystery and historical roots and colourful traditional aspects of it

How many languages can you speak fluently?

English, Farsi, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu

Have you ever met with any Yoruba Monarch before, if yes, how would you describe Alaafin of Oyo and Ooni of Ife?

Although, I have not met him but through video conference and webinars, of course, Ooni of Ife is one of our imperial patrons of the Empire of Madani but a worldwide humanitarian role father and the traditional king which is being recognized many times through my royal awards since few years.

Alaafin of Oyo is our other great example a true powerful Monarch, highly cerebral who believe in education as Madani royal dynasty. We wish our Ambassadors and students to celebrate them through us and I have outstanding great news I shall tell in your next video interview about Empire of Madani and world Cinema Academy there

Do you believe in Yoruba culture, tradition, and heritage?

Of course yes, otherwise I would not serve my past 8 years, being in Hollywood and learning Yoruba, well it’s not easy it seems that you are president of a country but promoting another country.  (LAUGHS)

Are you a spiritual person?

Obviously! Do you think big things can be happening if we are not connected to the source?

How would you promote culture and tourism in your empire?

A lot of possible ways through the movie field, for example at my World Cinema Academy or Empire of Madani. Umbrella of many organizations collaborated with us, which is like a mother source for learners to know many possible ways to be connected the source of knowledge in acting, cinematography, modeling, directing, producing, and scriptwriting.

I am a co-Producer and co-director plus being the main lead actress of this epic adventurous historical feature movie that has about 20,000 casts and crew in few seasons the aim to make. The first part that is called the legend of Africa ( the land of bows) is going to be shot around early November 2021 in Delta state of Nigeria.

It is my privilege to come to Africa for the first time and associate with great movie makers Celebrities Royal House and Elites by adding value to African history through the Empire of Madani’s and World Cinema Academy …
I have faith this project will be amazing and invite many celebrities and investors to involve
Meanwhile, I am going to shoot a Feature a Documentary about the areas that I am going to visit Royal Kingdoms and what they want the World to know that can be Mainly the importance of the relation of traditional rulers with the people and the power of spirituality in unity in the world

L-R: Queen Elham Madani anchoring a show

These studies help them to build their own life, It’s not acting for the sake of acting but it’s acting for the sake of saving their lives from the slavery of their solo spirit in order to expand them to be a multi-directional and best possible version of what they can be about. So it’s not Acting but it’s making the person a true self, as stronger to be a depth in full spirit to understand themselves, to know themselves and the society knowing the character of each person in the movie allow them a pattern norm for many to learn from them.

African Development Magazine would like to be part of your team, and showcasing your activities, will you give us this chance, and what will be your commitment?

Definitely YES! Perhaps you know I am so picky and you’re going to be given a lot of commitment and tasks. I hope you can do that. I hope so yes!

Memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory?

I have a lot, which one, spiritual ones or physical ones? By this God-calling responsibility as the Empress and a guru on my way, I move forward and have forwarded many to their success.

I passed tremendous difficult trials that are almost not possible for human beings, I did not lose my hope and never quit, which made me very strong and be the fearless Queen that people call “Queens of all warriors” or  Empress to Impress or Phoenix Empress.

That is the power of spirituality I enjoy assisting others indeed to be the same way and I get things done even no one is with me because I know I have God and I go forward.

My Techniques in teaching actors as a director is I make them to know themselves better and get the depth of personality of the characters easier therefore they’re not going to act for the sake of acting they change themselves to be the character that is of course very hard but will give the steps to the character to be connected with the viewers

What advice would you give the younger ones?

To believe in their real self, do not relent. Use the mentorship of their chosen mentors

Thank you for sharing with us.

Thank you too. We want Success for all.  It’s great for all to join us. Thank you once again African Development Magazine. We are connected to God. Be the one to serve and build the nation with love

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Culture & TourismLifestyle

LIFESTYLE: The importance of traditional caps in Yoruba men’s attire (See Photos)

Nigeria’s traditional fashion styles are not complete without a matching cap. Dressing and fashion keep evolving, however, the native cap known is still the same as many years ago. There are different native caps with designs depend on the choice of fabrics and type of style.

Traditional fashion styles are not complete without a matching cap. It is a unique part of the outfit that makes every man wearing native looks dashing and elegant.

Yoruba native caps are popularly known as ‘Fila’ which is the Yoruba name for the cap and are made of different types of material which are mostly from Aso-Oke fabric, velvet, cotton, or damask to complement native attires such as Agbada regalia different and types of other fabrics prints and designs, etc

The most important thing to note when using the native cap is that it must match other clothing you are putting on or colour combined.

Traditionally, some believe that wearing your cap to the right shows you are married, if left, it means you are single. But nowadays, it’s about fashion and promoting Yoruba culture.

There are different types of Native caps and styles.

Abeti Aja ; means “like the ears of a dog”. This style of Yoruba cap looks like a triangle with two edges sticking out like the ears of a dog. This style is common among both young and old Yoruba men.

Gobi style is the most common style of Yoruba cap these days. Before buying one, make sure that it fits your head properly. You can fold this any way you like. You can fold it on the right or on the left, a bit on the front part, or a bit to the back.

Kufi style is very common among Yoruba Muslims and also royal people. It is usually worn in a dashiki lace style.

Below are Nigerian prominent rocking with their choice of traditional cap style.


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EntertainmentInterview storyInterviewsLifestyleMusic

Interview: Nikki Spooner, American–Born Nollywood Actress Embraces Yoruba Language & Culture

American Born gospel singer, Nollywood actress Nikki Spooner in an exclusive interview with Adewale Adenrele of African Development Magazine speaks about  her experience , challenges , lifestyle and insight in learning Yoruba , African languages and culture, also how King Sunny Ade has influenced her to become a singer .

Can you tell us about yourself ?

 I am Nikki Spooner, I work as an MCNA (medical certified nursing assistant) I am a mother of two amazing kids and I also sing in Yoruba and act in Nollywood movies.

What motivated your decision to learn a new language and culture?

 I fell in love with Yoruba culture after seeing an official introduction, I thought it was beautiful and decided that I will learn this culture….. the love for the language came in when I heard king sunny Ade singing merciful God and I fell in Love again saying “wow’ I have to learn this language.

Nikki Spooner
Nikki Spooner

How many languages can you speak fluently?

 I can’t speak any language except English but I can sing in 5 different languages.

How do you sing in different languages, explain this?

 Yes, Music is a love language and just like your kids will learn the lyrics to the songs you play in your car, I learn by listening and singing along practice! Practice!! Practice!!! LAUGHS!!!

Why do you choose African Language especially Yoruba language and culture?

It’s beautiful why wouldn’t I choose it.

Language is very essential for any culture to survive. Yoruba is a foreign language in America, how did you learn how to sing in Yoruba? 

I studied by listening……. I played the music and wrote it out how it sounded to me. Then I practiced. It’s so interesting and amazing.

What are the challenges you faced while doing this and how did you overcome them?

 The biggest challenge I faced was those closest to me expecting me to fail, or the people who said I can do it but I can’t ever do it well enough to be accepted. I faced the word of God and stayed focused.

What do you like about African culture?

 Even with Everything America has, it’s amazing to me that all we lack in America is in African culture.

What did your family say when you decide to take up African culture?

  I didn’t ask my family’s permission, I didn’t get opinions or question my own choices. I followed the voice of God and didn’t look back.

You also dress like a typical Yoruba woman, how do you get the clothes and the designers?

 I met so many people who gave me cloth and sewed attire for me. Most designers contact me, especially during shows and events however I use sun-wealth clothing for all my fashion designs.

Do you have American friends who speaks Yoruba language or were you able to teach them the yoruba language ?

 No American friends who speak or want to speak the language.

A Yoruba musical album was launched recently by you, what is the title, where can it be download ?

“O Nbe Sibe” is the title, was launched on May 14th in Ikeja, Lagos and it’s not available for download yet as I am about to do the music video ,then they will release together

Can you sing for me ?

I would love to sing for you. ““O Nbe Sibe” Oluwa n be…. 3ce

 Have you met with Yoruba Monarch? 

 Yes I have, in fact I have been to see many. pure enjoyment.

 King Sunny Ade Album inspires you to learn Yoruba language, can you sing the song?

  I wish I could claim to sing all of them but the only one I know is “Merciful God”

Do you believe in Yoruba tradition, worshiping the deities?

  I am so intrigued and interested in learning the culture and traditions sometimes It may seem like I am a believer, contrary to that I am a firm believer in Christ Jesus. I Love to worship and praise him. I believe that God would want us to learn everything we can learn while we’re here on earth.

What is your relationship with Chief Otunba Gani Adams?

 Oh that question is simple as an amazing man, he is quite the leader and a great teacher of Yoruba culture and traditions. Because of my curiosity and drive to want to learn Yoruba culture I am grateful to have him as not only a Teacher but also a friend.

Nikki Spooner

Are you a spiritual person?

 Yes as a proud member of Redeemed, I love God. I love his daily presence in my life and I trust his judgment.

How long have you been in Nigeria and Africa?

 I have been coming since 2000′ and I have also been to Egypt, DRC, Ivory Coast and Ghana and I love it…..

What can you say about NIGERIA?

I love Nigeria so much, it is my prayer that western worlds be reminded to teach their children where they come from with pride. It is my belief that even with everything America has all that we don’t have Nigeria does have it all.

Do u like to cook, what is your favourite meal both foreign and local?

 I love to cook…..  my favorites are diverse I love (African) Eba and efo rio, (Jamaican) curry Goat with rice, (Haitian) rice and beans with Goat and sauce (American) steak and corn on the Cobb with mashed potatoes (Italian) stuffed sausage manicotti

Eba (Cassava grains) and Efo riro (vegetables) is one of your favourite, can you teach how to prepare it?

Yes I can ……… in fact we should be filming this, when we do it….. Hope you will take me on a video to prepare it for Nigerians to eat.

How would you promote culture and tourism?

 I promote it with the best form of advertisement “Word of mouth” I tell everyone about my positive experiences and I involve myself in all culture festivals and events involving culture.

Have you attended Nigeria festivals, what can you say about it?

I love them! I am always excited when I know festivals are coming….

How many tourist site have you visited in Nigeria and Africa?

I have been to a few places but never have time to actually be a tourist. I am always busy…. I really want to tour …Laughs …anyone wanna take me……….???

Do you wish to tour Nigeria with African Development Magazine to take you around?

I haven’t toured any sites but I have seen some with my eyes and a promise to go back……… wow …..if African Development Magazine wanted to take me around Nigeria as a tourist,  I will be so honored and overwhelmed with joy!

What’s your secret?

 I am in Love with GOD.

What do you value the most?

My relationship with God, and my relationship with my kids.

How is your relationship with your father and did he ever support you even when you decide to go African?

My father died when I was 14 years old.

 Who influenced you the most in life and why?

 My greatest influence in life is my Sister Denise and my Best friend Kiki and King Sunny Ade.

Is there something you stopped doing, even though you love it?

 Everything in life has an expiration date, life is too short not to try it and move on to the next big thing.

What is the hardest lesson you had to learn in life?

That you cannot pocket God, he’s a big God. Yes He is.

What would you do tomorrow if you would become president today?

 I would find a way to make sure everyone had an opportunity to travel and experience another country.

What is your most amazing memory?

 The day my kids were born and the day I performed live on stage with my Yoruba idol King Sunny Ade.

Can you Mention a few of the Nollywood films that you have featured in?

 Baba lawo lamerica ,Oyin ni ,Village idiot 2, Twins, Kowe, Osun….Just to name a few of them……….

Who are your favorite nollywood actors?

I love so many actors and actress and they are all blessed with many different faces it would be hard to choose between so much raw talent.

 Are you single or married and do u wish to marry an African man?

This is a two part questions and the only way I can answer this is to say I am in love with an African man.

What is your relationship with Alh Wasiu Alabi Pasuma?

Pasuma and I were friends and we first met in America and then I was on set of his music video and then present at the same shows, then finally seeing him again in Nigeria after a long time. I am a fan and a friend. I look forward to working with him on a collabo effort.

What advice would you give your younger self?

  “Life to the fullest, meet everyone you can and don’t ever look down on the people who look up to you.

Who are those that have supported your dream so far?

 A sovereign God, My sister Denise, my children Fabian and Olivia ,my best friend Quianna, Redeemed Church of Christ  Pastor Oni and his amazing wife. Nollywood and King Sunny Ade, My PA Joyce , Famed Music producer Mr. Julius Olagoroye (Julieking), Manager Seyi Allen, Mr. Moses Adeyemi and family, as well as Mr Jimoh and everyone who worked with me.  Chief .Dr. Otunba Gani Adams, Oba Onimole & House of Assembly’s  Hon .Babatunde Brimoh especially as cultural icons . I thank you for all you have taught me and I look forward to the promotions of Yoruba culture. So many people to thank these are just a few………


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