By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
Chisom Udeoba is the Creative Director of Creatives in Africa, a group of Nigerian creative content creators. The 22-year-old graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, who is currently doing her National Youth Service in Ibadan, Oyo State, is an author, who has spoken on different stages, including the Tedx. In 2018, she won AEA’s Award as the Most Enterprising Female of the year, while in 2019, her social entrepreneurship project #Your Child Can Be Creative was selected as one of the winners of the South East Volunteerism Challenge. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, she shares her vision on the project, and the forthcoming virtual summit for creatives in Africa.
This Week on Octal Number
What informed your decision to put together a summit for creatives?
The state of the world is actually a great motivation to put in work; I don’t believe that it is okay to just complain. Instead of complaining, I believe in taking action that will bring about the desired result. This is one of the reasons why we embarked on this project. The world needs as many ideas and solutions it can get now and the more solutions we provide, the more problems we can solve. This is why this project has been conceived to spur creatives into coming up with ideas that will be beneficial in solving world problems and shaping the African narrative.
What should we be expecting at the summit?
The Summit will run for three days and it will be a learning phase where creatives from different fields will be equipped with all they need to know for the post COVID-19 era. Some of the speakers are Joel Kachi Benson, a filmmaker; Marilyn Oma Anona, a multimedia entrepreneur; Fil Stephen a digital media consultant and Ademola Morebise, a global investor and creativity expert. There will be trainings on different topics, including Marketing and Sales, Innovations and problem solving, Mental Health, Digital and Productivity.
Do you think that Africa has enough talents to deal with current challenges?
Yes, there are a lot of Nigerians with a lot of potentials, but they just need direction and guidance; this is what we do at Creatives in Africa. There is so much we can achieve, but before we do this, we must first come to the realisation that our voices, stories and outputs are important. Then, we can intentionally show it to the world. I believe strongly in the fact the major way for us to fully harness our
talents and resources is to pay due attention to it and take actions that will ensure it is amplified.
What peculiar challenges do you face as a young person, especially on this path?
Young creatives and entrepreneurs face a lot of issues every day ranging from doubt and fear to uncertainty, to financial limitations. But one of the major issues I have found to be very common is that of fear and doubt. A lot of us often ask ourselves the question ‘Am I sure? Is this truly the path for me? What if?’ One major way I handle this is by reminding myself that the only way to live fully is by taking all the baby steps now; it will help me make the mistakes that will ensure I learned and do it better next time.
What do attendees stand to gain at the summit?
Attendees of the event will be learning a lot from our power-packed sessions. We have topics from different fields and persons; we will also be launching our virtual hub, which will be an E-learning and E-Commerce hub where creative, both small and big, can learn, offer their skills and also sell to other creatives around the world. By doing this, we will be sharing our own stories through our works and thrashing the single narrative surrounding Africa.
How much as the COVID-19 pandemic affected creative in Nigeria?
The pandemic naturally came with its bout of pain in the creative industry; theatres and cinemas were closed. There were a lot of issues from rape to racial issues and this affected the mental state of people. But I would not like to only amplify the negative angle; I would also add that this season ushered creative people in the realm of providing relief to the world through our abilities and through this summit, we will be pushing for more. This season has shown us the importance of technology and how the world would quickly move into a more digitalised state.
What role should the government play, especially with policies to support creatives?
The government has a huge role to play in advancing the level of creative output that comes out of every country. Creatives generally put in a lot of time and money into producing and generating ideas and projects. Instead of coming up with policies that will continually gulp the resources generated from this, the government can invest in promoting localised productions and contents, as all of these are stories that will redefine the African narrative. There should also be more projects and institutions dedicated to training and funding creatives and their projects.
What advise do you have for young people, especially as post COVID-19 era approaches?
The post-COVID era might seem ambiguous, so I would love to explain that it is the basically the remaining nine years in this decade. It will bring a more intriguing season, but instead of waiting for that time, it is better to start laying the foundation now, start building now. Invest in yourself; learn skills, take courses and attend programs. Learn all you need to learn, but do not stop there; practice too.