New-Look CNN African Voices Changemakers In Story Of Nigeria’s Child Empowerment Champion, Oluyole

Seyi Oluyole

The second guest to be featured in the new format magazine programme, African Voices Changemakers on CNN International is Nigeria’s child-empowerment champion, Seyi Oluyole. The show is sponsored by data grandmasters, Globacom.

The 27-year-old graduate of English and Literary Studies will be featured alongside 60-year-old South African, Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe. According to Globacom, the two guests who are choreography and dance experts will discuss how they are changing the fortunes of street kids through dance and story-telling in their respective countries.

To achieve her aim of assisting poor children scrounging a living on the streets, Oluyole founded a non-governmental organisation called The Dream Nurture Foundation to provide succour to them. She also offers educational opportunities to the children through the NGO. Similarly, her dance academy, Dream Catchers, uses dance as a way of getting impecunious children back to school because she believes that “every child deserves to succeed irrespective of their background”.

Thus far, she has been able to engage such children in activities including dance, drama and sports. She has also been a script writer for high profile television series such as Tinsel, Hustle and Gbera, a short film directed by her. Renowned artiste, Rihanna, recently endorsed her commitment to the cause of children by tipping Oluyole’s mentees for stardom.

Mhlophe’s story which she will also share on the programme is similar to that of Oluyole. The dancer, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author sees storytelling as a means of re-enacting the tales of subjugation during the apartheid years and the gains of freedom which South Africa currently enjoys.

Mhlophe’s career trajectory shows she started off as a domestic servant, later became a newsreader at the Press Trust and BBC Radio, and thereafter became a writer for Learn and Teach, a magazine for newly-literate post-apartheid South Africans. She remains one of the few female storytellers in the country and has employed her charismatic performances in four languages including English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa as a vehicle for encouraging South African children not only to read, but also to imbibe the values espoused by her stories.

Mhlophe has performed in theatres in Soweto and London. A good number of her works have been translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili and Japanese, while she has won the Obie Award for Performance as well as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She continues to traverse Africa and other parts of the globe, giving storytelling workshops on folklore, historical information, current affairs, songs and idioms.

CNN African Voices, Changemakers will be broadcast on DSTV on Friday at 9.30 a.m. and on Saturday at 12.30 a.m., 4.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. Other repeat broadcasts come up on Sunday at 5.00 a.m., 9.30 a.m. and 8.30 p.m. with more repeats on Monday and Tuesday at 5.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. respectively.

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