Voices of Youth Inspire! "I’m not out to be the greatest I just have to do something worthy and something different..."

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Se registró el día 28 de mayo de 2013
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Please tell us your name: Obiamaka Frances Ifejika... Obidara... Obii... Never Amaka.

And your age:
(uses calculator) 23

Where are you originally from and where do you currently live?

Onitsha Ado N’Idu, Anambra state. I live in Lagos most of the time.

According to your business card – what’s your job title?
The front says spoken-word artist, flip it and you get photographer.

And how does that compare with what you wanted to do when you were 10 years old?

When I was 10 I had no idea where I was going as far as ambitions were concerned, anytime i was asked, I’d say different thing. Surprisingly what I am today never came up in any of my choices. At all.

“How I became
the artist I am today.”
I fully consider myself an artist, not just because I have high regard and appreciation for art but because I live it as well. I’m a performing poet, I draw and write calligraphy, I do graphic design, photography, I make film and when it’s absolutely necessary I write stories or music, I fiddle with the guitar... and in everything I have fun – in everything I make sure I’m creating something worth listening to or reading or looking at. Being a poet and a photographer is my front because so far it’s what I have been recognized for. I started reading books since I could read but I focused a great deal on poetry in JSS2; anthologies and so on... I never performed till a year ago when I won my first slam... somehow without actually being aware, I prepared myself for the future by just doing what I loved to do by default. I know for certain that without the kind of attention I have given and love I have for poetry, I wouldn’t be here today... so yes, it’s been years and years of practice without actually practicing. I’m not out to be the greatest I just have to do something worthy and something different and that will be enough for me.

Give us 10 words that describe your typical work day:


In a nutshell, how did you get to where you are right now?
Name some of the most important milestones.

I failed a lot and was clueless most of the time. Nobody needed guidance quite more than I did -nobody I know. I’ll say friends -friends are how I got here. I made friends that were good to me and for me; I made them the standard because they were better than me, I learned from my own mistakes. Believe it or not, the first mile stone was my final thesis in the university. It was entirely me. It said to me that I was indeed different and that difference wasn’t a bad thing. All before the age of 24 I have won two National competitions Naija Poetry slam- October 2012 Cannes Young Lions award, Nigeria- March 2013 If I have any challenge, being aesthetically sound is not one of them.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome to get to your current position and how did it help you to grow as a person?
Myself. I was my greatest obstacle. I tend to over-think and second-guess a lot; so I had to admit to myself that I was in my own way and I when I step aside, good things happen. I became positive and confident in my abilities.

How important was your choice of degree/field of study at university for what you’re doing now?

It was everything. If I could do it again, i would study Mass Communication. I had good facilitators and a lot of exposure. It is too interesting to give up.

What are the top three things someone needs to excel in your field?

Open-mind - so that you keep learning.
Focus - so that you remember what’s important.
Calm disposition - because there’s always chaos.

What do you think is the MOST important thing governments and/or companies can do to help young people get started in their careers?
They can refocus the purpose of National Youth Service Corps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Youth_Service_Corps) to allow young people to not just serve their country but to start their lives. How? You are allowed to serve in a place where you can learn more about your ambitions but you must have a focus project in a community where your input is recognized as you complete your program. If we look around there’s a lot to do in this country, so who better to do it than the generation most likely affected.

On a lighter note, tell us about the strangest day you’ve ever had at work or the strangest thing you had to do?

The work day after my slam, I was ambushed in the office and asked to perform – they wanted a piece of what I did in the Naija Poetry Slam competition. It was entirely awkward for me.
1. I wasn’t used to performing.
2. I wasn’t used to performing but I guess I did okay.
I still cringe when i remember that morning.

Some words to youth out there: What advice can you give them when chasing their dream position?

There’s never just one dream. Give yourself permission to change and refocus, you shouldn’t die trying to achieve a dream... at the end of the day would the sacrifice have been worth it?

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