Younger generation makes a stylish mark

One of the performances before the Soweto final of the African Cup of Nations was that of Oliver Twist, a popular number by Nigeria’s Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo, better known as D’Banj. The whole stadium erupted as fans from across Africa sang along.

D’Banj is not the only Nigerian star on the rise in Africa. Another is 2Face Idibia, who had a hit with his song African Queen in 2006 and has gone on to win a series of international awards. As the entertainment industry expands, the swagger of Don Jazzy of Mo’ Hits records and other Nigerian stars has become funkier as the money rolls in.

Nigeria is now a top entertainment destination, with producers arriving to find and sign up new hip-hop talent, while popular American rappers come on the lookout for collaborations. Endorsement is ripe with mobile phone companies spending millions of dollars on adverts for local shows and artists. Serious money is also being made in the Nollywood film business, which turns out some 200 videos for the home video market every month. In short, Nigerians are making their mark across the continent.

Actress Genevieve Nnaji is well-known enough around the world to have appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show, while CNN has interviewed her alongside other Nigerian stars such as Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Tontoh Dikeh, Mercy Johnson, Desmond Elliot and Ramsey Noah. In Malawi, Kenya and Botswana, Nollywood star Rita Dominic is a household name, winning commercial endorsements as long as her legs.

In the swanky Eko Hotel in Lagos, fashion shows are held every weekend, all with locally made fabrics and local models – some of which, like Adaora Akubilo, have an international profile. The streets of Lagos turn into catwalks at the weekend as fashionistas dress to kill.

And this creative boom is all down to Nigerian youths staying and making their mark at home rather than seeking fame abroad.


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