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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Monday, August 27, 2007

Whilst you were away

It was supposed to be a quick, 'blink and you miss it' business trip. There was no reason l should have missed you on this page, and it all seem like it would work as planned. Arrived Johannesburg Sunday morning, went on a drive around the country side with my friend Dele, Monday to site see in preparation for my meetings and Tuesday, short successful meeting, Wednesday gastronomic and nature exploration and Thursday back in Lagos by 3pm. Right? Wrong! Now l must tell you a bit about my friend Dele. He is the very definition of that Yoruba term omoluabi (child born of the god of values), one of those hard to find, fine human beings l like to collect. A lovable, slightly nerdy, thinking human, Dele is one of the most non egoistic, non-chauvinistic, unselfish, giving and effective people l know. I arrived jbourg burnt out and apprehensive (our creativity and expression stifling space, the insecurity, the police dress drama and a death threat) and was ready to leave renewed in hope and vigour to keep plugging away at my part of the equation. You see Dele is a fellow "perplexed at our crase situation but determined to not just deconstruct the Nigerian space but to construct his part of the space and encourage others to do so" spirit. We spent our time looking at what works in SA and why it works and how we can apply base principles to make something work in Nigeria or at least develop something Nigerian in roots but global in perspective.

We devoured our books and videos (Steve jobs in Stanford, Chris Abani, Ayittey and Ngozi Iwealla Ted talks as well as back dorm boys and other innovation driven phenomenon) as well as rubbed minds on what we need to do and the order of how to do them fully aware that it is a journey, one that we might not see to the end in our lifetime but one which is crucial. I know Dele's humane and ethical values not only in his work but in his personal life because l have seen them tested in the extreme and by some of the most unbelievable "respected" members of the Nigerian society. We did not forget to laugh and have fun too; the only area we differ fiercely is on food. Watch ratatouille, lets just say that l deeply understand what the grim eater food critic Anton Ego meant about not swallowing unless it is of certain quality. I like my food fresh, rich, colourful and flavoursome with all the goodness and nutrient sealed in and l don't care what corner of the world it comes from once it meets those standards. Dele likes his food Nigerian and cooked period! Aside the superb egusi soup at commendable Nigerian restaurant homebaze in rosebank, l did not see him eat anything with fruit, vegetables or water in 6 days! Only the good lord knows how he digests it all.

The short of this rather cheesy monologue is that after spending time with Dele l was ready to return home to fight the good fight and focus on highlighting and supporting the Nigerian people, brands, products and services that are doing well. That is until Virgin Nigeria slapped me in the face. Now note that l am still of that mindset and l tell this story and take whatever action l choose against Virgin Nigeria from a place that was hurt badly by what is becoming of them but also one that seeks to jolt them out of complacency into action. We need as many super brands out of Africa as we can build and Virgin Nigeria, which l used to champion is loosing the plot.


Anonymous said...

I just love your blog and I missed you a great deal while you were away.It's a wonder how you make me feel what you write.You also inspired me to start a blog of my own and I'll really love it if spare me a couple of minutes to check it out.It's www.crazieskillz.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

An English Friend of mine being reading a Nigerian book on the war(I introduced her to your blog).
She asked me why do we always say 'go well' when a friend is travelling, your experince is a good testament to the rationale behind such statement.
So many issues to ponder on this monday morgn, i better get back to work....

Funmi Iyanda said...

Hey cutie, just checked you out and all l can say is aaaaaaaah! Your innocent is refreshing, your potentials obvious. l like your command of language and fleeting self effacing flashes. l am looking forward to being educated in the way a 17year old smart female mind works today. Welcome to the big bad wonderful blogoshere.


sisi funmi? iru cheating wo ni eleyi??? u didnt say all these nice things to me when i started blogging ke??? crazieskillz i hve mad beef for you o! lol.

ki le mu bo lati SA now? and u didnt even invite me to your birthday do sef, hey plenty beef o!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 36inches of brown legs, all these love words. I am beefing also.

Anyway, i really like it when you talk about your travels it really inspires me. Saving my money for my Ghana trip, i have said if none of my friends come with me i will go alone.(No man yet).

Welcome back!!

Anonymous said...

@pumping if ur game i will go with ya. Like adventure...

Emz said...

You're covered on all sides by angels, and no one that threatens your life will succeed. Keep doing what you're doing, and good luck with all the work you do!