Kanayo O Kanayo, MFR, needs no introduction when it comes to Nollywood. The veteran actor who has spent close to 30 years in the industry has quite a number of films to his credit. He has also decided to give back to society through his Kanayo O Kanayo Mentoring Academy (KOKMA).
MENTORING THE YOUTH
According to the prolific actor, he set up the academy to be able to directly impact on young talents. In his words, ‘We just created a platform where we could mentor and educate younger people who need direction. Hard work is good, but if you work hard without going in the right direction, or you don’t have a mentor, you may not get to where you want to go. We have decided to enlighten them to get the best out of their lives because we have been there before them so we know what it takes. I want to use this medium to mentor and educate youths because we have identified a gap in the new Nigeria and the new Africa that we want to build. If we begin to mentor and educate these youths before they go into the university, they will become the best part of themselves. I have travelled to America and some other countries across the world. I have never seen Americans talking bad about their country. We want to make our young people to start speaking well about our own country. This country has a lot of potentials; we still have our best brains who are working for other countries.”
CONNECTING THE DIASPORA
How have we been able to connect to our people who are in the Diaspora? Chinese people who are in Diaspora are the ones who built the present China. My advice to the present government is to find a way to bring back Nigerians who left the country out of anger, because it is only Nigerians who can build Nigeria.’
Speaking on the type of mentorship he had while starting out in the industry, KOK quipped, “I joined the movie industry just because I wanted to act and be seen on television; that is why I am very interested in this mentoring academy. A lot of us who have put in over 25 years on this job were not mentored; we were, by the grace of God, just acting and God blessed us, even though we were not prepared. What I am trying to do now is to give people direction. If you want to become an actor, we will give you direction on how to do that. If you want to become a mass communicator, or anything you want to be, we will also give you direction and tell you what it involves. We want to identify the real strength of the young adults and leverage on that because the earlier we catch them, the better. My belief is that whatever we lost, our children should not lose it as well.”
Considering the fact that many parents determine the kind of courses and professions their children should engage in, KOK says his mentoring academy will redirect their minds. He said, ‘Times have changed. Parents are always busy at work; when a child closes from school, she will meet no one at home. The next person the child meets would be the lesson teacher. We have children who are coming from the background where their parents still tell them what they want them to be in future. So the wide gap between who these children are and what they want to be in future is filled with the wrong values.