Doha: Premiering on Al Jazeera English on August 24, My Nigeria is a series of six half-hour documentaries that pulse with the energy of Africa’s leading economy, telling the human story.
“The series was commissioned to support the channel’s brand ‘Hear the human story,’ to bring people’s stories directly to our screens, told in a first-person style without mediation, offering authentic views,” said Ingrid Falck, Head of Documentaries at the channel.
“For every stereotype of corruption or extremism, there are millions of ordinary Nigerians making this African powerhouse tick. Our series focuses on them to see first-hand how Nigerians are busy making a difference.”
Award-winning South Africans directors Brian Tilley and Clifford Bestall shot the series in Nigeria, which is home to one in five Africans.
Basketmouth: Trash Talking (August 24): Basketmouth (Bright Okpocha) is Nigeria’s most successful stand-up comic. Born and bred in the notorious Lagos slum Ajegunle, he discovered his gift for comedy by chance and has never looked back. His take on the Lagos elite is upbeat, irreverent and challenging.
Kate Henshaw: Playing a part (August 31): Henshaw is known as one of the Nollywood stars with integrity. Having made over 70 Nollywood films, she decides to leave the fictional world and run for a seat in Nigeria’s House of Representatives. She wants to change how people are represented in her hometown of Calabar in Southern Nigeria, but politics in Nigeria is not for the timid…
Gbenga Sesan: Connecting A Million (September 7): As a school student, Sesan was denied access to the computer room at his school and told he was not clever enough to operate one. Years later, Gbenga is an information and communications technology expert, with international awards and a successful consultancy business. He’s spreading his fortune by teaching ICT and life skills to young adults in Nigeria’s poorest neighbourhoods.
Deola Sagoe: Top Drawer (September 14): Nigerian fashion has broken out, gracing catwalks of New York, Johannesburg and Monaco. Sagoe was one of the designers who led this Nigerian fashion expansion. The House Of Deola Sagoe is on Lagos’ Victoria Island and caters for Nigeria’s who’s who. Deola’s father, prominent Nigerian businessman Chief Ade Ojo, never wanted her to go into fashion. He discouraged her, wanting her to take over his lucrative business. But Deola had other ideas.
Femi Bamigboye – Local Man (September 21): Bamigboye is coach and founder of Remo Football Academy in the small town of Iperu. You have to look for Iperu on the map, but Femi has managed to produce a line of young players who represent Nigeria at age group level, including two who will represent Nigeria at under-17 World Cup at the end of the year. This is some achievement in a country of over 180 million. Femi is also a pastor with a loyal congregation who worship every Sunday in a lean-to church in the middle of the thick forest that surrounds Iperu. He feels his job is not just to teach football; he wants to develop world-class young men.
Sandra Aguebor: Lady Mechanic (September 28): Aguebor is the first lady mechanic. Growing up in Benin City in a polygamous family, Sandra’s mother discouraged her from following her dream, sometimes beating her when she would be out tinkering in an engine instead of doing kitchen chores. But Sandra responds well to adversity. She has built a network of lady mechanics spreading from city to city by training former sex workers, orphans, and victims of trafficking to be mechanics.
Her Lady Mechanic Initiative has spread to the north with its first project in Kano City, where the response from Muslim women has been unprecedented.
This story first appeared on ThePeninsulaQatar.com