You know that she began her education project at age 9 when she interviewed Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings as part of a school project. She inadvertently stumbled upon the gross educational disadvantages of the girl child and the illiteracy plaguing some African countries. You know she is the youngest professional filmmaker in the world today.
You probably also know that she was featured in Forbes Magazine at age 10- still the youngest person to be featured.- You definitely know she has interviewed 14 Presidents/Prime Ministers, heads of industries, Ministers, tennis queens Venus and Serena Williams among other prominent dignitaries and opinion-leaders. You may know that she was listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in New African Magazine and has been a guest on numerous shows including BBC, Bloomberg TV, Arise TV and CNBC.
You may have been told that she is the first African child to be appointed honorary ambassador position by a foreign government as conferred in Tanzania by the country’s first lady, Mrs. Salma Kikwete in 2013. You should know that her parents’ are from Nigeria and Mauritius and she has probably visited more countries than any child of her age. Do you know she’s not even a teenager yet?
Here are 15 things You Didn’t Know about Nigeria’s child prodigy, education and girl-child advocate, 12-year old Zuriel Oduwole:
- She has made four documentaries about Africa, including A Promising Africa (2014), Technology and Education (2014), The 1963 OAU Formation (2013) and The Ghana Revolution (2012). More documentaries are in the pipeline.
- She refers to former Presidents of Malawi and Ghana, Joyce Banda and Jerry Rawlings as her ‘good friends.’
- She met Bill Cosby and talked with him about serious issues. She hopes to have her own Talkshow someday.
- Her documentary, “A Promising Africa” premiered at Civic Centre in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014. It was sponsored by Heritage Bank, Ethiopian Airlines, Hertz Nigeria, IBIS Ikeja amongst others. Ace Nollywood Director, Kunle Afolayan was in attendance. She is a Financial Literacy Ambassador for Heritage Bank.
- She is a global brand ambassador for Ethiopian Airlines, and the airline sponsors all her travels across Africa and South America. It also won Best Airline in Africa Award in Los Angeles in 2014. They flew her to Brazil for the world cup for her #FollowTheBallForEducation project, and other countries including Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Malawi.
- Her #FollowTheBallForEducation Project received worldwide acclaim and was signed by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka amongst other eminent personalities.
- Zuriel, Azaliah, and Arielle- her two younger sisters, launched a TV production company chronicling their travels through Africa: African Youth Travels
- She has partnered with the biggest e-learning company in the world – PEARSON, to promote E-learning.
- She was invited by Columbia University in New York to speak at their annual African Economic Forum series. Other speakers were the former Prime Minister of Tanzania and the CEO of Citi Bank for Africa.
- She premiered her documentary “A Promising Africa” in South Africa after it showed in Lagos and London. She also visited Ashesi University to talk about the documentary which also showed y in Japan where she addressed some African Ambassadors to Japan, including the Ambassadors of Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.
- She has instituted an annual Gender Minister Award. She presented it to Ghanaian Minister Lithur in 2015, and in 2014, it was ‘won’ by the Mauritius Gender Minister.
- She addressed 16,300 screaming and cheering students from across the USA, Africa and Canada during the annual WeDay event in California.
- Amongst other things, she hopes to tell the world that Africa is not all about wars, Ebola, famine, Boko Haram, disease and corruption. Through her Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up initiative, she hopes to empower young girls and re-brand the image of Africa.
- She was a special guest at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards Event because she is the youngest person in the world to premiere a movie in a cinema.
- She loves Jesus, and believes He is the coolest. She also thinks her father is cool because he stays awake, does her hair, travels with her and fusses over her.
Bonus: She was made a Goodwill Ambassador by the Founder of the Rainbow Book Club at the UNESCO World Book Capital Port Harcourt in 2014.
Did I forget to mention that Zuriel Oduwole is 12-years old?
In her words, “Africa and the youth can change the world. I really believe it more now, that if someone wants to do something, no one can stop them, unless they did not really want to do it before.”
*All images sourced from Zuriel Oduwole’s Facebook Page.*
© 2015 – 2017, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.