In an age when some Nigerians are behaving badly abroad thus giving the most populous black nation the infamous image of a rogue nation, some young Nigerians are determined to rebrand what is left of our battered image. Among such young Nigerian is 22-year Ashimi Nimota Adebukola studying Building Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in the city of Konstanz Germany. If you think Nimota has become a household name and representing her country positively just by studying engineering, then you are mistaken. This young Nigerian has found fame and love and ultimately become the symbol of the positive traits and resilience Nigerians are noted for in theatre. Her exploits on stage in her University and her success in passing through rigorous audition on her way to becoming a professional in the European theatre circuit and in a predominantly Caucasian environment where an immigrant is considered not just good enough to turn a professional is a testimony to the true Nigerian spirit that has made ordinary Nigerians (and not our leaders) stand out in their chosen professions. I first met Bukola when I returned from a trip to Germany in early 2008.
She was in the final year of a Language course at the Goethe Institut Lagos. The first impression you have of this young Amazon is her almost shy and unassuming nature. She seems to disappear into her environment. How come then that she was later to defy her elusive personality to become a lead actress in a play that premiered to a large audience, critics and journalists and which was later taken around Europe and the Americas? In an online interview I had with her, she confessed her initial apprehension at taking the role even when she made the rigorous audition, considering that she was the only black non-European cast in the production. But according to her, her arrival in Germany changed her perspective about what she needs to do to contribute her quota to the positive image of Nigeria which was daily taking a battering in the Western media.
Her daily experience on the paved streets of Europe also shaped the medium which she was later to use as an avenue to change the stereotypes the average Nigerians in Germany. Theatre for Bukola became the way out of her loneliness but it also became a life-changer; because on the day after the première of the production every major newspaper reported her exploits and she was recognized as the Nigerian. Now she has become a rallying point for Nigerian students studying in the university and as a symbol of what young Nigerians are capable of in spite of the difficulties at home.
“Raw War” one of the plays which Nimota played a leading role was directed by Gerhard Dressel, and has recently just come back from a tour of Canada. The 24 scene production which first premièred in theatres around the city of Konstanz and in theatres across Germany has various thematic preoccupation of terrorism (9/11), physical disasters and explosive subjects that have made the planet an increasingly dangerous place to live. The play started wit a scene where passengers were stranded at the airport for days, a reference to the Iceland volcano that grounded aviation travel globally. It depicted how people of different culture relate to each other holed-up in the confines of airports across the world. It also addressed the issue of racism. The other scenes addressed the issue of terror, natural disasters and how the media portray and shape our understanding of these fast changing phenomenons. Raw war is a collage of scenes with different subjects and thematic concerns that sought to address the tensions among cultures using both present and past events that have shaped human history. The play which has gone on a tour of Canada has attracted rave reviews in the media in Europe with the role of our own Adebukola attracting generous comments from critics and theatre practitioners.
A Professional Career
Expectedly, the young Nigerian’s role in the play which has also taken her on a tour of some cities in Europe and Canada has attracted interest from professional theatre companies and productions. She has also become the toasts of the media who are never tired of requesting for interviews. “Where are all these leading to? I posed this question to her on her Facebook page recently. Clearly, Adebukola is still shocked at the fame her role is bringing her and the constant mention of her roots. But it is how her exploits is rubbing off positively on her country that she has found satisfaction. Talk of patriotism! But she is not thinking of a professional career just yet. She reminded me that she is first and foremost an engineering student but of course she now has her eyes set for a future career on stage. A strange thing happened to her days after appearing in newspapers when people waved to her on the street and referred to her as the Nigerian actress. At her local grocery in Konstanz, people now offer to pick the bills! What a way to begin a career!
Name:Ashimi Nimota Adebukola
Primary school: Staff Nursery nd Primary school, Ijanikin
secondary: Emergency Comprehensive High School, Okomaiko
Gothe Institut, V.I
University of Appllied Sciences Konstanz: Building Engineering
title of the production is” Raw War”, it was directed by Dipl. Päd. Gerhard Dressel, M.A.
the production had 24 scenes in it,it started wit a scene were passenger were stranded at the airport for days. this scene acctually describes d sitution d world was at wen the volcano in iceland broke out,nd how people of diff culture relate 2 each other in this stressed situation,it also adressed d issue of racism. the other scenes adresseed very sensitive and recent topics were people tend 2 shy away 4rm,like terror,safety (how safe does 1 feels in the current society 1 find himself), natural disasters over d world, sucide, 9/11, nd not to forget the media. it was not only scenes wit recent happening but also once 4rm d past. nd d main porpose of the production was 2 show d audience d daily scenes we all experience nd dont pay attention 2, nd how d media tries 2 decorate some part of d world nd do d opposite 2 d other part. nd 2 make dem realise we didn´t start havin problems today, but dat it has always been there all along. nd d fact dat they happen very often does not necessary means it is d end of d world ,or maybe it is.