TFAA 2020 Winners Profile
Acting – Jide-Kene Achufusi, 28.
To the uninitiated Jide-Kene Achufusi, better known as Swanky JKA, seemed to fall out of nowhere to land the most coveted film role in all of Nollywood in 2018, the lead in the Charles Okpaleke remake of Nollywood classic, Living In Bondage. But the reality is that Jide is a Nollywood veteran, starting his career nearly a decade before in bit roles before an opportunity to travel abroad had him put his film career on hold while he pursued other interests. A chance meeting with Okpaleke put him back on film and auditions that showed his range and his ability to embody the duality of Nnamdi Okeke, the titular character of the Living in Bondage sequel saw him reintroduced to Nollywood in grand style.
Born in Enugu with an education that saw him relocate to Ebonyi state and then to Imo state for his Secondary School education, Jide-kene was steeped in Igbo culture and had the context from which to draw nuance for his performance. Diplomas and degrees in film and business provided the technical knowledge he needed to seal off his career defining performance.
He is widely known for his brilliant and flawless performance as ‘Nnamdi Okeke’ in the blockbuster award-winning movie ‘Living in Bondage’ which was released in the year 2019 and his role as Neo in Trace TV’s campus drama series ‘Crazy, Lovely, Cool’, a role that he played without fluttering—thereby gaining him loads of recognition, nominations and awards in the past year including Best Actor nomination and a Trailblazer award, at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards in 2020.
Arts – Ayogu Kingsley, 26
In January 2020, Kingsley Ayogu Ifeanyichukwu was chosen as one of the six cohorts to participate in the Rele Gallery Young Contemporaries boot camp and exhibition. Informally regarded as the definitive incubator for promising young artists, Ayogu’s inclusion in the 2020 exhibition was a cotillion of sorts, introducing him to the art world. And not a moment too soon, because the artist has the skill level of a master and a carefully defined point of view that separates his hyper-realistic art from the wave of hyperrealism that has swept over the Nigerian visual arts community. With a degree from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Fine Arts and a short stint in the civil service, Ayogu draws from these experiences to inform the subject matter in his art.
Born in Enugu, the eastern part of Nigeria, Ayogu developed an interest in painting and art from a very young age; this interest led him to study painting and graphics from Enugu State College of Education (Technical). In an interview with BBC Igbo, he revealed that he started painting as a child before developing an interest in hyperrealism and parlaying that interest into a thriving visual arts career.
He became one of the Top 25 Artistes in Nigeria at the age of 23, and in January 2020, his work was showcased at the Rele Art gallery.
Content creation – Debo ‘Mr Macaroni’ Adedayo, 27
Over the years, Instagram comedy has grown to become an easy sell in Nigeria due to its instant availability, relativity and easy access. However, over the last two years, a lot of Instagram comedians have taken social media by storm, reigning and fading away. For some, they have been able to create a niche for themselves and maintain their relevance while for others, the flames have gradually burned out.
One person whose flame has however continued to burn even brighter and has taken everyone by surprise is Debo Adebayo popularly known as Mr Macaroni.
Since his emergence in the Nigerian comedy space, his followership has grown to over 2 million across his social media platforms and in just one year, he has successfully become a household name. His style of comedy can be best described as hilarious, sexual, tasty and morally conscious. Lest we forget, his now-famous trademark slangs like ‘You are doing well’ ‘freaky freaky’ ‘fantabulous’ ‘Are you there’ have become regular slogans around the country.
Debo is just not another funny voice, he is also a seasoned activist whose comedy has taken a new, urgent bent in response to the #EndSARS protests that have occurred around the world in response to police brutality in Nigeria. As a leader of early protests and an active commentator, Mr. Macaroni has used his platform to spread the message to hundreds of thousands of listening Nigerians.
Entrepreneurship – Akomolafe Henrich Bankole, 27
2020 in particular has been a difficult year for our country’s entrepreneurial spirit. The COVID19 pandemic compounded already existing economic challenges, closing borders and halting trade. This is why the success that Akomolafe Henrich Bankole, 27-year-old entrepreneur who describes himself as a self-starter, who is a master of multitasking with a serial entrepreneurial experience in Engineering and Real estate, construction, and Information Technology is so inspiring.
Introduced into the world of business by co-founding a company with his father, where he still serves on the board of directors to date, Akomolafe has branched out on his own, making his way as a serial entrepreneur and innovator. He started his career in the elevator industry in 2016 and has assumed the position of the managing director of Akotex Nigeria Limited; a company concerned with the delivery of Engineering services (Elevators and Escalators). In the last six months, Akotex has installed over 90 elevators across Nigeria; each is using a smart controller.
Akotex has moved from 7th to 3rd in the elevator business in Nigeria with 100% Nigerian workforce.
Film – Dafe Oboro, 26
In 2020, after months of sitting on the news, Dafe Oboro was finally able to announce he had joined one of the most elite groups in the world. He had worked as a director on Black Is King, the transcendental companion visual album to the 2019 remake of the much beloved The Lion King, conceptualized and executed by global superstar Beyoncé Knowles. This come up put Dafe Oboro heads and shoulders above his peers and necessitated his inclusion to the Future Awards class of 2020 for excellence in film.
But Oboro’s new status as an in-demand film maker is an honor that he has earned squarely. He began his career as a fixer and film maker from his university days while studying Journalism in the U.K before returning to Nigeria to craft a new vision of Nigerian cinema that embraced the chaotic, dystopian glamour that exists in most of Nigeria’s small towns and incorporated his long-held interest in fashion design. Oboro made in his name in film through forward thinking fashion focused collaborations with fashion savant Mowalola for the Kilonshele Gan Gan editorial for Love Magazine and Miu Miu Babes (which pays homage to the camp classic Blackberry Babes) in collaboration with in-demand photographer Ruth Ossai. Oboro has created a niche that is all his own, and he has only at the start of his career.
Leading conversations – Damilola Odufuwa, 30
Damilola is known for not holding her tongue, especially when it comes to defending individual freedoms. She launched Wine and Whine with her co-founder, a support group for women and an intimate space where they can express themselves about the challenges they face in the Nigerian society, after spending years in the media industry as the editor-in-chief of Zikoko and then Konbini Nigeria.
She is very vocal about issues as relates to women’s rights and sexuality, always leading conversations and trying to create a medium that addresses all issues that the media does not cover from wage inequality to professional career and more. In 2020, she and 9 other women formed the Feminist Coalition, a non-profit organization dedication to the advancement of feminist causes and equality for all. Feminist Co was instrumental to the success of the #EndSARS protests in 2020, raising funding for protests and crowdsourcing security, shelter, feeding, legal aid and transporation for protesters as they demanded their rights from the Nigerian government.
Odufuwa’s vocal stance on human rights and her consistent use of her platforms to amplify the voice of the disadvantaged is the kind of mettle we all wish our heroes were made from.
Music – Divine ‘Rema’ Ikubor, 21
If you asked a room full of music enthusiasts where Nigeria’s next mega popstar would come from, no one would have mentioned Edo state. The sleepy city best known for its thriving culture and its phenomenal bronze artists, is woefully underrepresented in the Nigerian music industry’s top echelons. Divine ‘Rema’ Ikubor has come to change that. Discovered by D’Prince and signed to Jonzing World, an imprint of Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records, Rema has quickly proven himself a chameleonic singer, songwriter and rapper able to bring a sense of wonder to multiple genres while holding the collective interest of the world.
Rema’s debut E.P. will be remembered for defining a new era for Nigerian pop. He was one of the first Nigerian rappers to create music specifically for a Gen-Z audience, tailoring his earlier work to visually appeal to younger teenagers while meeting the strict expectations of their parents. His adventurous writing is delivered with a distinct voice and a rare mix of afrobeat rhythms and western sub-genres. He has released two more projects since; ‘Rema Freestyle’ – a collection of trap-influenced Instagram freestyles hewn into radio-ready singles and October’s ‘Bad Commando’ which ushered him onto the global stage with a delicate balance of the styles he’s become known for.
His ascent to global recognition was defined by landmarks such as the Barack Obama summer playlist and multiple hits including ‘Iron Man’, ‘Dumebi’, ‘Lady’ and ‘Bad Commando’. He continues to evolve, experimenting with his sound and appearance and winning fandoms as he goes along. As a young innovator with a global sound, Rema has the added challenge of serving as an ambassador of the continent to a world in turmoil and trying to unlearn nearly a century of negative stereotyping around Africans. It is a tall order for someone so young, but Rema has proven himself a keen observer of human nature with a distinct point of view and no hesitations sharing it.
He just might be what we need for these times.
Health and wellness – Chioma Nwosu, 26.
For Chioma Nwosu, having personal experience helped contextualize the reality of people living mental health and impressed on her the urgency of using her privilege and access to clear the path for others who need but are unable to access healthcare tailored specifically for people living with mental health challenges. She does this through her work as a mental health and positive psychology advocate, speaker and founder of Olamma Cares Foundation; an NGO focused on promoting the social acceptance of mental illness by building public awareness and empathy while providing support for people living with mental illness.
Through her NGO, she has facilitated a interventions for 4000 people, reaching them through open events, outreaches and intervention programs. She is very passionate about life, family and making an impact. Nwosu’s work focuses not just on sufferers, but seeks to change the perceptions of care givers for these sufferers, as well as the environments in which these people must live and work, she believes a more tolerant culture will significantly influence health seeking behaviour in people living with mental health challenges.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nwosu took her crusade online, launching an online help desk for mental health care. Chioma writes her weekly column on Businessday newspaper titled Mind Body and Soul, and she is also a TEDx Speaker.
Disruption – Adegoke Olubusi, 27; Tito Ovia, 27; Dimeji Sofowora, 28
This isn’t Goke, Tito and Dimeji’s first time being honoured as nominees for the Future Awards Africa, but this time they return older, wiser and with the backing of a VC funds for their ideas to democratize the process of accessing healthcare by digitizing health records across the continent.
Their startup Helium Health is a smart, robust and intuitive electronic medical records and hospital management system designed for the African market. The platform accesses the medical facility’s needs and peculiarities first to fit the software to their standard operating procedures and then customizes it to meet the unique, requested requirements of the facility within 24 hours. It includes creating customized hospital forms and processes that fit the facility’s day to day operations.
Their product is a cloud-based/offline electronic medical records/hospital management solution (EMR/HMIS) that is simple, robust, easy-to-adopt, highly customizable and built around the peculiarities of the African market. It’s accessible on any device, runs offline, syncs to the cloud and requires minimal or no data to operate. It is by far the most frictionless and instant way for healthcare facilities, regardless of their size or attributes, to go-digital.
Lawyers – Georgette Monnou, 27.
Finding challenging work is a primary concern of young Nigerian lawyers entering into an already saturated job market. The only way to best the competition is to exhibit a level of excellence that leaves others in the dust and gains the attention of the country’s most competitive firms. Georgette Monnou’s excellence has always spoken for her and continues to as she is honoured as a nominee for this year’s The Future Awards Africa.
A polyglot with fluency in multiple languages, an excellent grasp of legal history and an eye for a legal loophole, Georgette puts her talents to use as an Associate of Olaniwun Ajayi’s Power and Infrastructure Practice, currently advising clients on a wide range of infrastructure projects. With previous experience in the Firm’s Finance & Capital Markets Practice, her experience also spans advising on diverse, complex finance matters including equity financing, local and international debt financing, derivatives and structured finance transactions. Owing to her fluency in French, she routinely advises the Firm’s french and francophone clients.
Her other in-depth experience includes advising members of the creative arts sector on their rights, contractual needs and potential areas of expansion in the Entertainment Industry with her commercial knowledge stemming from having gained experience working in radio, film and television.
Governance – Oluwaseun Temidayo Fakorede, 28.
Hon. Oluwaseun Temidayo Fakorede, professionally known as The Seun Fakorede, is a proactive, seasoned and dedicated professional with over ten years of experience providing comprehensive administrative, operational and managerial support to various organizations. Seun’s expertise lies in coordinating and leading administrative and operational functions for senior-level personnel and executives.
In August 2019, Seun was appointed as the Honorable Commissioner for Youth and Sports, by the executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde. Furthermore, he firmly believes more African Millennials are going to lead a tremendous impact in the next few years of human history than ever before, and he is committed to raising more men to lead this vanguard.
A highly sought-after International Speaker and renowned Pan-African Leader, Seun is regularly booked to speak, facilitate workshops and deliver keynote speeches at notable high-profile events locally and Internationally. His passion and work have promoted leadership development and accountability for Millennials as critical indices to Africa’s development through seminars, conferences and other platforms.
An Engineer, Entrepreneur, Consultant and Author, Seun together with his fantastic team at Home Advantage Africa (HAA), the non-profit devoted to promoting local dominance and global stardom in Africa through digital storytelling and other sustainable development projects.
Intrapreneurship – Lehle Baldé, 28.
As a senior associate, Strategy Innovation and Partnerships at Business Day Media, West Africa’s leading provider of business intelligence and information on diversified media platforms including online, mobile and print, Lehle Baldé has to be on the pulse of the African economy. She uses her platform and the access her position affords her to promote financial literacy and inclusion and works to ensure that her employers remain profitable while maintaining share of voice in financial services related media.
As the anchor of Financial Inclusion Today – a radio show program on Rhythm 93.7 powered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Balde takes her knowledge to mass audiences, explaining how abstract economic policies trickle down to the common man and in what ways the proletariat can empower themselves financially. The show is the first of its kind in the world, started as an effort to foster conversation and raise awareness on financial inclusion issues in Nigeria, which struggles as the poorest nation in the world by metrics of citizens in extreme poverty.
Ms Lehle Baldé holds a B.A in communication from the University of Waterloo in Canada and a master’s degree in international marketing Strategy from the University of Northampton in the United Kingdom.
Ms Baldé is also the columnist behind BusinessDay Culinary Delights’, a weekly column that tells positive food stories about the fantastic restaurants in Nigeria. The editor of the Business Day CEO magazine and the co-producer of The Bridge Talk Show season 2 and 3, a television program aimed to bridge the financial knowledge and information gap for millennials.
Beauty – Doyinsola Afolabi, 26.
With a knack for reinventing herself, Doyinsola Afolabi went from top of her finance class at The Bells University of Technology where she studied Finance, straight into the beauty industry. Her experience in finance (including a 3 year tenure at Afrinvest) gave her the structure she needed to grow her business, but her creativity and passion for connecting a generation of women just embracing the freedom of taking pleasure in their personal appearances with the vast and wonderful world of cosmetic beauty. Not content to sell, Afolabi began to experiment with formulations to create her own beauty products.
It was a gamble that paid off. In the past year, Doyinsola also known as Didi, offers unique products to her large clientele from the eyebrow pencil to powders. She creates sophisticated looks for her customers. Her products are simple and easy to use. During the Pandemic, in ensuring she shares her knowledge to as many people as possible, she embarked on tutorials and training for aspiring makeup artists. She has a large client base all around the country, and her products are some of the top sold items on Jumia and other beauty platforms. Her brand has over the years been very supportive of makeup enthusiasts and makeup artists. She has collaborated with beauty professionals to impact over 5,000 women in the beauty industry.
Recently, her brand ‘Beauty Line By Didi’ organized a free brow masterclass, empowering over 2000 individuals and giving back in her own way.
Journalism – Aisha Salaudeen, 26.
It is easy to underestimate just how much impact Aisha Salaudeen has had in the last four years she has been working as a journalist out of Lagos. For most of 2017 and 2018, Salaudeen’s work with Stears Business became the gold standard for immersive journalism in Nigeria, inspiring dozens of young women to take on journalistic endeavours and to amplify the voices and challenges of women in fields where their impact has been erased. She has worked in full time and freelance journalism, using images, videos, and text to report and investigate diverse human-interest stories in Africa. Her work has appeared in the Financial Times, Al Jazeera English, Okay Africa, and TRT World where she covered thorny issues like alleged police brutality, sexual abuse and surviving Boko-Haram.
With a reputation and platform to boot, Salaudeen currently works as a multimedia journalist and feature producer at the CNN Africa Bureau in Lagos, Nigeria writing/editing features on China-Africa relations, business, culture, and technology in Africa.
With years of experience in storytelling, she works with the teams producing sponsored CNN specials such as African Voices Changemakers, Inside Africa, and Marketplace Africa to create digital stories after the episodes air on T.V. Her clarity of voice, commitment to telling a multi-perspective story and network of contacts have made her a valuable resource wherever she works and brought a more empathic perspective with a focus on Gen-Z sensibilities to CNN.
Literature – Logan February, 21.
Logan February was recently featured on the BBC World Service for their poetry. Such is the diverse reach of this young prodigy and such is the promise they bring to the execution of the genre in Nigeria. Logan February is a diverse Nigerian poet, essayist, music reviewer, and singer/songwriter whose works have been featured recently in The Rumpus, Dazed, The Guardian Life, Lambda Literary, Washington Square Review, Africa In Dialogue, and more. They are also one of the few poets in Nigeria whose work has transcended literary circles and found purchase in mainstream pop culture via collaborations with creators working in other fields.
Their debut full-length collection Mannequin in the Nude (2019), a freeing exploration of grief, God, the erotic, and the sexually diverse, gave them a popular audience and a lot of recognition, which in turn placed them in the limelight as a poetic force emblematic of Gen Z freedom.
In 2020 they collaborated with the duo behind music group The Ignis Brothers, contributing a poem to their debut album, The Cost Of Our Lives. They also collaborated with Burberry on their global campaign celebrating queerness, a major theme in February’s poetry. February also collaborated with fashion brand Orangeculture NG on their Fall 2020 media campaign contributing a poem that was used as a voiceover for the brand’s fashion film. In the process of starting a MFA in the USA and publishing a new body of work with a US publisher, February proves there is a different path for poets who do not conform to the standards and expectations of Nigerian society.
Fashion – Daniel Obasi, 25.
The Lagos-based Artist, Stylist, Art director, photographer and filmmaker, Daniel Obasi often uses local styles and collaborates with local designers to achieve ‘better visual representations’ of disempowered communities within Nigerian society to signify the importance of diverse and feminine subjectivity. In a series shot for Vogue Portugal in 2019 tagged Nne M, Obasi employs his dreamlike and ethereal style to create ‘an alternative family portrait’ where black models are imagined as single mothers and honoured for their commitment to raising and loving their children.
In recent years, his work has been featured in i-D and Niijournal. In editorials, his work has been featured in Vogue Portugal 2019 July issue, Dazed Magazine, ‘Carnival Couture’ February issue, Billboard Magazine for his styling of Davido and Tiwa Savage and Daniel’s, The Face Magazine, Vogue Italia January 2020 issue, ID MAGAZINE ITALY, Schick Magazine for the styling and creative direction of ‘Out of dreams’, New York Times for styling the Cover shoot with Beverly Naya, photographing Burna Boy and styling Tiwa Savage.
His works have been featured in multiple music videos like, Tiwa Savage’s ’49:99′, Davido’s ‘Sweet in the Middle’, Sauti Sol’s ‘Suzanna’, Ladi Poe’s ‘Know You’, Wurld’s ‘Wayo’, Wurld’s Story, Burna Boy’s Wonderful, Burna Boy ft Chris Martin Monsters you Made. He’s also worked on ‘Chaos and Creation’, GTBANK Fashion Film Campaign ‘Fashion is freedom’, Eyimofe ‘Berlinale Film Festival Berlin and Beyonce’s ‘Black is King’.
He also won Best New Director at Fashion film Festival Milan for his Fashion film ‘UDARA and was featured in Black Vanguard Book and Exhibition Newyork alongside the best Black photographers around the world.
Activism – Hassana Umoru Maina, 22.
Hassana Maina is an advocate against sexual violence and also the coordinator for North Normal rally for the Arewa Me Too movement in the North East domesticating the VAPP(Violence again persons prohibited) act. Her work is pivotal to challenging the status quo for women in Borno State where she is from and helping emancipate women and girls from archaic practices that violate their human rights and deny them opportunities.
Maina started the movement in Maiduguri, Borno state, and she and her team members took the advocacy to schools and educated students on Gender-Based Violence. She has been involved with connecting victims of sexual violence with adequate resources for rehabilitation through partner NGO’s and is currently on a journey to see the end of GBV. Maina’s energy and resilience in this movement are second to none as she has lent her voice to conversations surrounding these issues on various radio and television stations.
The impact of Maina’s work is tangible and she has become a beacon of hope to everyone from students to people in her local community. Maina is also a writer and a graduate of law from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She has used her voice using several platforms like radio and television stations.
Community action –Derick Omari, 24, Ghana.
The Founder of Tech Era, a tech-based social enterprise, Derick has bridged the educational gaps for over 2500 persons living with disabilities in Ghana. Derick has been able to train and equip 15 college students in assistive technology innovation, 3D technology, Programming, and electronics to develop assistive technology prototypes that can be scaled and mass-produced.
In 2019, he launched 2 of such prototypes as products for the pilot phase which has reached more than 50 persons with disabilities. He also provided digital skill training to 10 children with autism, down syndrome, and cerebral palsy as an avenue to build communication skills of the individuals, increase their digital literacy, as well as unleash their talents and potential.
In the same year, he also launched the first version of IXAM – a virtual classroom digital platform for the blind that bridges educational gaps visually impaired students face.
He also organises Career Fair for persons with disabilities which connects individuals with disabilities to employees. He emphasizes how technology and digital skills can bridge several employment gaps that exist for persons with disabilities.
YPY – Ogutu Okudo, 28.
In 2012, Lucky Okudo found herself at a conference on the outskirts of Nairobi discussing environmental sustainability and the strategic role women play. At the same time, on the opposite end of the continent in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, communities were protesting the negligence in operations by oil companies resulting in oil spills. She was struck by the gender disparity of those conversations and how the opinions of men, many of whom were only indirectly affected by the adverse effects of oil explorations deigned to speak for women. She was inspired then to create a platform that centered women professionals in these all-important discussions.
She founded the Women in Oil and Gas East Africa (WIOGEA), later changing the forum’s name to Women in Energy & Extractives Africa [now known as WEX] to better reflect its objectives. Okudo couldn’t have predicted that merely a year later, Kenya would be forced to contemplate the same dilemma that had inspired her to start her forum when Oil reserves were found in Kenya’s disadvantaged Turkana County, endangering the livelihoods of pastoral Turkana women. Part of WEX’s role then was to speak for women in the energy and extractive sector, informing industry participants and decision-makers of the challenges and opportunities women are finding in pursuing careers in these sectors. Okudo works tirelessly to increase the visibility of WEX and encourage women in Oil and Gas to embrace it as a viable forum for their concerns.
Today, WEX Africa is a social enterprise bridging the gender gap in the oil, gas, mining and alternative energy sectors in Africa with 15 employees in five countries and over 75 volunteers in 10 countries and counting. At only 28, Okudo has already been hailed potentially as the next Folorunso Alakija of Africa.
CNN Africa Voices referred to her as “the woman on a mission to disrupt the energy sector” and is a recipient of numerous of awards including President Uhuru Kenyatta recognizing her in 2018 as one of the young female Kenyan trailblazers, being awarded the Under 30 Women in Energy East Africa (2018) and in 2019, the Kenya Upstream Oil and Gas Woman of the Year.
Okudo sits on numerous boards advising their strategic operations in East Africa including Bboxx Kenya, the London-based next generation off-grid utility platform operating in 15 countries developing solutions for off-grid communities by providing affordable, pay-as-you-go solar power, impacting over a million people.
Service to Young People – Sam Adeyemi
Sam Adeyemi founded the Daystar Leadership Academy with the vision to raise exceptional leaders and managers that would transform the world. His passion to help people realize their life purpose, led him to start the programme. In the past one year, Sam has helped many young people succeed in their endeavours by providing them with the motivation they need in the race of life. The Academy offers the following courses – Basic Certificated Course in Leadership, Weekend Leadership Certificate Course (Basic and Advanced), Executive Leadership course (Basic and Advanced), Basic Leadership Course for Teenagers. Over 20,000 students have graduated from the academy since its inception.
As a religious leader, Pastor Sam Adeyemi is not afraid to model exemplary behaviour and use his influence to sway public opinion in favour of progressive ideas. He was one of the first pastors to publicly question Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’s refusal to publicly address accusations of sexual assault, crystallizing the church’s position on assault and assuaging millions of religious adherents. His leadership was also integral in ensuring Christians adhered to the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions earlier in the year, saving lives and helping to flatten the curve on the country. Pastor Adeyemi has also shown solidarity with the #EndSARS protest against police brutality and ensures he is always on the side of the youth and the side of progress.