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Ukwa discusses politics, comedy

I GO for social functions but once you make it political, I’ll not attend no matter how much you pay me, says Nigerian actor and comedian Nkem Owoh, popularly known as Ukwa.

And Ukwa says “made in Africa” goods are good.

Speaking on ZNBC TV’s Sunday Interview, Ukwa said it was his conviction not to go for political events in Nigeria, let alone feature in political theatre.

“I was in politics before even [joining] the film industry but I was playing a minor role there. But I found out that God gave me my own political party [acting] and I decided [that] I wasn’t going to feature for any political thing. Politicians generally, all over, like popular people to campaign for them and all that but I found out that I was going to concentrate on this (acting). Anything political in Nigeria, don’t call me!” Ukwa explained. “[But] I’m very close with most of the governors and even Presidents. I don’t think there is a President, apart from the current one [Muhammadu Buhari] whom I haven’t really associated with, that I’m not close to. I go for social functions but once you make it political, I’ll not attend [it], no matter how much you pay me! It’s just my own conviction.”

He further advised Africans to start branding themselves, as opposed to re-branding.

“Made in Africa goods are good! I can give an example of hair plaiting; footballers are plaiting their hair and soon they will tell us that hair plaiting comes from there (Western world). But let us own it; it’s ours! We have to start branding ourselves and not re-branding – I don’t accept re-branding,” Ukwa, who last week said Africa should endeavour to ‘colonise’ the world with its cuisine, noted.

Asked about piracy, a vice that has perpetually watered down artistic works across the globe, Ukwa responded that: “I have always told people that you cannot stop piracy anywhere in the world. In the US, there is piracy. It depends on the approach [you’ll use] to minimise it…”

Last week on Friday night during Night of Comedy Explosion at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Ukwa observed that without rigorous support from Zambian journalists and investors, local artists would not make it.

“Zambians must be ready to encourage and support artists. I appeal to people in the media houses to promote and protect artistic works from Zambians. Your foot has to be on the ground if you want to make footprints. So, Zambian journalists and Zambian investors must invest in Zambian drama or Zambian film industry that is trying to grow right now,” Ukwa told a fully-packed auditorium.

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