Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Funmi Iyanda: A Hero or A Villain

Funmi Iyanda

This lady has created an image for herself, one many people that grew up with her New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda will basically call "amazon". However to many who have loved to loathe her, she is nothing but a thorn in the flesh and one that they will be very happy to get rid off.

 Funmi has an imagine of a non nonsense woman, a social critics and one you will not expect from a social corrupt setting like Nigeria. She reminds one of the "The Man" in Ayi Kwei Armah "The Beautyfuls Are Not Yet Born". And more important many will attribute the personality of a fearless feminist, one who will crush every obstacle on her path.

 Her breakfast show that ran for over 10 years in Nigeria (New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda) was the talking point of social discourse in the 90s, she treats her issues with passion while at the same time tries to remove herself from her passion. During her time on TV, she quizzed many people from high flying politicians to celebrities and to ordinary citizens who are trying to salvage their country. No wonder she got the title "Oprah Winfrey" of Nigeria, one title she does not take lightly to as she believes she is an enigma on her own.

 The major issue in Funmi television history came on the morning of 6th October 2004 when innocently (Yes! innocently)she interviewed Bisi Alimi, the controversial Nigerian gay rights activist. This simple interview sent a shocking waves round Nigeria, and the aftermath left Funmi coming to the reality of the country she so loved.

 So it was not surprising recently when on twitter she started a conversation about a newspaper report of the sexuality of Nigeria female singer Asa.  The backlash was overwhlming. The hate tweet that followed was beyond believe and it was interesting to see her losing many of her followers that day for saying as a matter of principles that she is open to discuss on LGBTI issues in Nigeria, and that she will not in any way discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 Her religious conservative followers threw tantarum, they called her names and stated in clear terms what a disgrace she is. Many even accused her of being a Lesbian. However, while these group of people were busying themselves slagging her off, there was another group of progressive Nigerians who got drawn into the debate and the interesting thing was, for every one religious conservative she lost, she got 3 progressive followers.

 This shows that even in Nigeria, the war of homosexuality is fought on both sides, and Funmi with her controversial views on the issues and many other issues ranging from Women's rights, abortion and single parenthood is found right in the middle of it. No matter what you think of these fearless woman, whether you see her as someone to love or loathe: Funmi has come to stay as Nigeria mermite.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one woman I find so natural and real! Take it or leave it, she has said what she needs to say and already moving on! You can chose to sleep or die with it, your choice not her business.