David Oyelowo introduces Nigeria to the world at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

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The Toronto International Film Festival decided to honour Lagos this year as part of their City to City feature, and what a triumph it was! The film festival strives to bring international cities to Toronto audiences. Through a series of films, they give you a snapshot of where’s hot right now. This year’s spotlight is Lagos, Nigeria, and as we are excellent at doing, we brought the fiyah! ??? And none was hotter than David Oyelowo!

 

The actor and producer provided the opening speech, and quite frankly, he couldn’t have been more appropriate. I really could just transcribe his short speech here and wrap up this post. There is nothing more to add to that speech. His words spoke the truth about what makes us proud to be Nigerian. His vocabulary on hip Naija words might need some work, but his flawless pronunciation of his name; the evident pride he has in said name and the power of the words will make you proud. Proud that you come from a royal lineage of storytellers and noble confidence. Listen to David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo tell you who he is. Who we are:

“I have no doubt that this is the start of something fantastic for us because we’ve been doing this for a long time. Telling stories traditionally, filmically, poetically. We are story tellers by nature.

Something I learnt {from my 7 years as a youth in Nigeria} was how to walk into any situation as a king. We don’t know how to be shy. We don’t know how to walk into a room sideways.”

There is no word of a lie in any of the above. Nobody can weave a yarn like a Nigerian. Whether used for good or bad, our ability to tell a story is an innate and  powerful skill. And our confidence? Our confidence leaves the rest of Africa certain of the fact that we are kings. From Algiers to Zanzibar, the rest of the continent views us with fear, jealousy, hatred and awe. We don’t mean to be magnificent, we simply are.

A heartfelt thanks to David Oyelowo for being a worthy ambassador of this sleeping giant. We are yet conquerors. Nay, more than conquerors. And this week, Toronto sat up and took notice.

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