Saturday, April 11, 2009
Chief Forest Whitaker & Chief Danny Glover of Imo State, Nigeria
April 6 was a really beautiful day. The people of Nkwerre village in Imo State, Eastern Nigeria might have thought they were just luckky to have a day as nice as this but the reason that day was all shiny and new was because a lost son had returned.
Forest Steven Whitaker,an Academy Award-, Golden Globe-, and Emmy-winning actor, producer, and director returned home to Nigeria.
I was the only journalist that got luckky to be right there as he was welcomed with fellow star, Danny Glover. Right there before my eyes, they were given prestigious chieftancy titles reserved for nobel and well respected men.
Whitaker, sorry chief Whitaker was given the title-"Nwannedinambe Of Nkwerre" meaning "A Brother in Foreign Land" while Chief Glover received the title- "Enyioma of Nkwerre," this means "A Good Friend."
It took me a while to believe I was actually there with world stars in a small village in Nigeria. I have not fully recovered.
I was really proud to be who I am when Chief Whitaker thanked the King for allowing him to breathe the air and feel the wind in a different way. To feel his blood differently. I was moved to tears and filled with mixed emotions when he said "Now I know where I stand, it is the greatest gift anyone can receive."
Chief GLover was also honoured and said this was home for him. We all moved on to the Ayiam-Osigwe family house to celebrate. I took in slowly, the priviledge of seeing them dance to the beats of Africa and savouring every mouth full of Jollof-rice, semovita and egusi soup, our native dish.
For me, a 24 year old Newswatch magazine senior staff writer in Lagos, I would never forget this day. Since I got back to my desk, I have recounted the stories to my colleagues over and over, now I want to tell the world.
I beleive his visit, his new identity, his title, his words and who he is would inspire Nigerians especially those on the road to shunning corruption and believing in hardwork.