Emmanuel Ikande is a young Nigerian with a big vision. He is the Chief Executive Oficer of Venikbox Entertainment and Founder of Africa’s Biggest Multicultural Photo Contest, PhotoAfrica.
A multiple award winner, global youth ambassador and Nigeria’s South-South youth ambassador, Ikande is a pan-Africanist and cultural enthusiast who has been promoting the unique ideals of African culture through his annual photography competition, PhotoAfrica.
He adds value to brands and the entertainment space as a Brand Influencer, Media Strategist, Analyst, Talent Manager and Entertainment consultant.
Ikande also impacts the digital terrain as a Content Creator and Developer, Copy and Digital writer. MANNY ITA spoke with Ikande about the upcoming 3rd edition of the PhotoAfrica contest and other sundry issues.
My name is Ikande, Otroyin Emmanuel. I am a native of Cross River State and studied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Calabar. I come from a family of five and I am the first born. I love the arts, music, photography. I believe in the power of imagination and I am a go-getter.
What is the whole idea about Photo Africa?
PhotoAfrica was founded because the perception of multiculturalism has not enjoyed widespread currency in the wider African social thought. Built upon this, we believe that the best way to solve this problem is to raise strong, committed young men and women who will represent their communities as custodians and repositories of their people’s collective ideology and on the long run, strive to restore the fluidity in the appreciation of culture and self-identity beyond nations. This has been the inspiration behind our yearly online photo contest – Photoafrica.
What inspired the idea?
We believe every individual has an inborn gift that sets them apart from others and this gift lies in the uniqueness of the individual’s unique personage, culture, racial identity and tradition. And in projecting our cultural heritage as Africans and promoting our culture as blacks, PhotoAfrica is aiming to promote multiculturalism across Africa and this objective is drawn from the fight against racial subjugation. This is the reason we project the Black Lives Matter as we also project Africa’s beauty to the world.
Just like a photograph could connote a true reflection of self-image as well as the projection of our personal beauty, photography to me is an art and also an act, likewise a way of life because it captures moments and keeps memories. In projecting PhotoAfrica, many do not believe in the vision, but despite the odds, I still keep the focus.
Who qualifies to participate in the contest?
To be a part of the Photo Africa competition, one has to be of an African descent, because the allusion to Africa is self-defining. The tag “Africa” in PhotoAfrica means self-identity projecting its racial identities, and to all black nation. Hence, PhotoAfrica is open to all Africans. This perennial project is aimed to promote multiculturalism, fashion modelling and photography.
The 3rd edition of the photo contest comes up November. How do you intend to make this year’s edition different?
The progressive impact of this project is expansive such that its first two editions attracted more than 600 participants across 13 African countries. Its inclusiveness and extensiveness made both earlier editions open to all body shapes and sizes which endeared a grandiosity that amassed many audiences. This year, we want it more robust and we expect 30 African countries for this edition, of which, we have over 500 registered candidates already.
How is the event funded annually?
In the past two editions, we were self-funded and this has limited our scope considerably. In this edition, we have decided it is best to solicit support from sponsors and partners of like-minds, to help actualize our vision.
What are some of the challenges in projecting Photo Africa?
What is your projection of PhotoAfrica in the next five and seven years?
In the next five to seven years, we aim to reach all 54 African countries as we have ambassadors of goodwill – strong men and women – who will help develop their communities while projecting their nations to promote Africa.
What are the other projects in the offing?
For now, I will keep other projects enclosed as we surprise the world
Who are your role models?
Well, they are Nelson Mandela, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Apostle Joshua Suleman.
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit; my source, my father, my foundation, my way maker, my provider and my helper because in Him I find solutions, help and comfort. Yes, my inspiration comes from the Holy spirit.
What candid advice do you have for fellow youths, many of whom today seek life on easy street and tend to get caught up in a number of vices?
To my fellow youths out there; believe in yourself, keep your dream alive and trust in God to open doors, while you, every day take one step in the direction of your dream. Refuse to ever give up as you will probably encounter many situations that would beg you to give up. Remember, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
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