Amina Yuguda Wins 2017 BBC World News Komla Dumor Award

Amina Yuguda, a Nigerian journalist has won the third BBC World News Komla Dumor Award [2017].

Amina Yuguda is a news presenter on local network Gotel Television, from north-eastern Nigeria where she has reported on high-profile news stories, including the Boko Haram insurgency.

She will commence a three-month placement at the BBC in London in September [2017].

The BBC World News Komla Dumor award was created to honour Komla Dumor, a presenter for BBC World News, who died suddenly aged 41 in 2014.

Ms Amina Yuguda said her win was a “huge honour”. According to her:

“I was overwhelmed with joy. Storytellers have always had an important role in Africa… this is what defines us. Today journalists are taking on that responsibility.

With little or no formal education, my countrymen can hold their own in a variety of topics, including the Trump presidency in America, North Korea’s defiance, Russia’s foreign relations under Putin, and more.”

She impressed the panel with her story-telling and her ability to convey complex ideas in a way that resonates with a wide audience.

BBC World Service Group Director Francesca Unsworth said Ms Yuguda was a worthy winner:

“To find someone who possesses many of Komla’s qualities is something for us to celebrate, and we are very excited about working with Amina.”

Previous winners of the Komla Dumor Award were Ugandan news anchor Nancy Kacungira and Nigerian business journalist Didi Akinyelure.

Mercy Abang Emerge 2017 Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fellow

Mercy Abang, a Nigerian journalist, and three others have emerged recipients of the 2017 Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fellowships.

Mercy Abang is a syndicated freelance journalist reporting on issues facing vulnerable populations and had covered communities under siege from the Boko Haram terrorists as well as maternal health, poverty and biodiversity.

The three other journalists are Zeinab Mohammed Salih of Sudan, Mir Wais Jalalzai of Afghanistan and Ray Mwareya of Zimbabwe.

Salih is a freelance journalist for websites, mainly The Niles bilingual website sponsored by Germany.

Jalalzai, a war correspondent for the Khabarial News in Kabul, has covered the most dangerous conflicts and devastating events in his country.

Mwareya is the news editor for Women Taboos Radio Africa covering Southern Africa and a correspondent for Rural Reporters Africa based in Nigeria.

Ms Evelyn Leopold, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists, praised the exceptionalism of the four fellows out of the thousands of applicants for the fellowship.

According to Ms. Leopold on the criteria for choosing a fellow:

“We are looking for journalists who write well, who show some creativity, who do not just re-write the government press release, who are not censored by their media and come from developing countries.

We try to rotate the countries, it’s very hard, we get like 7,210 applications – and so it’s a ‘crack game’ who to choose.

And this year, we have the three Africans, that’s unusual and we have an Asian.”

The Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, represented by the spokesman of the Mission, Akinremi Bolaji, said Nigeria was proud to be associated with Abang.

He said Abang’s emergence as one of the four recipients out of thousands of applicants was a positive achievement in addition to the many Nigerians who had distinguished themselves and had been recognised by the UN this year.

Mercy Abang said she was interested in sustainable development goals of ending poverty and hunger and improving health and education.

Hammarskjöld, the second UN Secretary-General, was killed in a plane crash while on a peace mission to the Congo in 1961.

The Fund was established as a not-for-profit organisation more than 50 years ago by journalists at the UN as a living memorial to the legacy of peace, progress and justice of Hammarskjöld,

The Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fund’s programme for journalists seeks to advance a fuller understanding of UN deliberations to alleviate human suffering and promote peace.

It is also to support and encourage the journalism profession and to inspire a strong and diverse community of journalists who would give voice to the challenges facing their countries.

Four journalists are selected each year and the award money varies, while the fellowship includes travel, accommodation and a per diem allowance.

The journalists, who are awarded fellowships, are given the opportunity to observe international diplomatic deliberations at the UN in order to gain a broader perspective and understanding of matters of global concern.

The 2017 Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fellows spend up to three months in New York reporting the UN General Assembly from September to December.

‘Blessing in Disguise’ Comic Set Launched by Marvel [2017]

USA comic book publisher, Marvel has launched the first superhero comic set titled ‘Blessing in Disguise’ geographically themed in Nigeria’s Lagos state and inspired by the adoption of the Chibok girls in 2014.

Blessing in Disguise features Ngozi, who is a superheroine fighting evil in Lagos state, Nigeria. This is the first story to be set in an African country by Marvel.

Created by science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor, the story was published as part of Marvel’s Venomverse comic with Ngozi appearing alongside Black Panther and Spider Man villain Venom.

Ngozi is a character based on one of the Chibok girls and is expected to serve as a role model for girls, said the award-winning Nigeria-American writer Nnedi Okorafor. In the words of Nnedi Okorafor:

“I had asked the artist to make Ngozi in the likes of one of Chibok girls … I asked her to draw Ngozi in her likeness.

They were normal girls who suddenly had to deal with a huge change in their lives … and their story of perseverance is so powerful. Like many Nigerian girls, Ngozi comes in a small package but is strong-willed and determined.”

Nnedi Okorafor has created over 20 novels and short stories including award-winning Binti and her debut novel Zahrah The WIndseeker, which won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa award.

Okorafor said her dream is to see the Ngozi character create diversity in the world of superheroes which will inspire the creation of more African comic book characters.

Hakkunde Wins IndieFEST Film Award of Merit [2017]

Asurf Oluseyi has won a prestigious Award of Merit from the IndieFEST Film Awards for his debut feature film, Hakkunde.

Hakkunde is an intriguing story of a long-time unemployed graduate; Akande, faced with life’s pressures, he decides to relocate to Kaduna from Lagos when an opportunity presents itself.

His expectation is however cut short and Akande must make a decision to either learn to survive in a faraway land or return back to failure.

According to Asurf Oluseyi:

“I’m super excited about the news as this is the first award to the title, and connecting to juries out of Nigeria shows the power of story telling.

“The movie stemmed from my personal experiences and it is a universal entity that must be discussed and creating this movie is my own attempt to help solve this universal problem from my own understanding of it, and this award is a big motivation to do better next time.”

The movie features Frank Donga, Ali Nuhu, Maryam Booth, Ibrahim Daddy, Isa Bello Ja, Rahama Sadau and Hadiza Soja.

Shot in Kaduna and Lagos, Nigeria, Hakkunde is produced and directed by Oluseyi and was written by Oluseyi, Tomi Adesina and Gift Imafidon.

Monsuru Alashe Wins 2017 African Crafts Competition

Monsuru Alashe has emerged as first prize winner of the 2017 annual African crafts competition organised in Lagos by Cultural Arts of Waco, Texas, USA.

The second place went to Enitan Raji whose mixed media works were especially captivating, while the third position was won by Ibrahim Afegbua, a sculptor who specialises in wrought wire.

Monsuru Alashe beat other competitors because of added criteria such as originality and resourcefulness in the employment of innovative media.

He used weaver’s threads to produce paintings that really appealed to the jury,’ according to the judges.

The Cultural Arts of Waco in Texas, USA, decided late in 2016 to hold an annual competition of African crafts in Nigeria to benefit Nigerian artists. The competition would be an annual event in which the top three winners would be issued with certificates. Artists who make the shortlist are also to receive certificates of participation. The artist who wins the overall first position gets an all-expenses-paid ticket to participate in the main cultural festival in Waco, a major event which holds annually and enjoys a mass regional appeal.

Exhibition of works by artists on the shortlist for the first edition of the programme (African Crafts Competition) is currently open at the Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology, attended by a large enthusiastic audience that comprises of some major Nigerian artists and staff and students of the School of Art, Design and Printing of the college.

Artists on the shortlist whose works are being exhibited include Akinrinola Hamed Abiodun, Djaku Kassi Nathalie (Lagos-based, Cameroon-born ceramist), Sotonye Jombo, Kessa Babatunde and Eni Bassey. The show is expected to run till August 15 [2017].

Monsuru Alashe who leaves for Waco in October [2017] will be a guest artist at the Waco Cultural Festival where he will show his works, hold workshops and interact with audiences from all over Texas.

Annual theme and the emphasis for the competition is Telling African Stories. Waco Cultural Arts, in a statement, explained that it desires African artists to tell Africa’s own stories because news reports in international streams about Africa are mostly negative and uninspiring. “It is time to hear African narratives from African perspectives,” it added.

One of the objectives of the African Crafts Competition is to provide a platform especially for, but not exclusive to, younger studio artists, the venue for the exhibition could not have been more appropriate. Major artists in attendance included Adeola Balogun, Hamidu Ibrahim, Kehinde Sanwo and Sam Ovraiti (who also served as judges) with Ato Arinze, Aderinsoye Aladegbohungbe, Festus Akindolie and Tony Emodi.

The show was opened by the Dean School of Art, Design and Printing, Yaba College of Technology, Dr. Kunle Adeyemi, who thanked the main sponsors of the programme, Cultural Arts Waco, and their president Doreen Ravenscoft as well as the national organisers of the competition, Back Page Productions, a multimedia (publishing and film making) company based in Ikeja, Lagos. He expressed the hope that the cooperation with Waco will grow and that many more artists would participate in the competition next year.