Kenneth Okonkwo and Tonto Dikeh, two prominent Nigerian movie stars, have received cultural titles at the 2019 Nollywood New Yam Festival, an annual thespians’ fiesta showcasing the country’s cultural heritage.
The duo were honoured at the annual cultural event which held at the Heritage Africa Centre on Saturday in Abuja.
Okonkwo was honoured with the title ‘Agujiugo of Nollywood’, while Dikeh was named the ‘International Ambassador of Culture for Nollywood’.
Agility Onwurah, the chief executive of Agile 247.com, the organisers of the event, commended the awardees, stating that the honour was in recognition of their contribution to Nollywood and a reminder of their duties as ambassadors of culture.
“Nollywood is our own. Anyone who has contributed to its growth and development, in whatever capacity, should be celebrated. We hope that this honour will spur them to do more for our dear industry,” he said.
“Culture defines a people and anyone who forgets their culture forgets their root and identity. The festival is simply a platform where celebrities identify with the culture and promote it to their fans and followers. No matter the influence of westernisation, we must uphold what defines us.
“Artistes are supposed to be mirrors of society, and that is why we are proudly showcasing our culture to fans, especially young Nigerians who are the future generation.”
Onwurah also said that the initiative behind the annual event is to create a platform where artistes, models and opinion leaders, can promote the Nigerian culture — irrespective of the influence of westernization.
According to him, the movie industry should serve as a veritable instrument for communicating ideas, lifestyle, and cultural heritage such that every artiste ought to be a cultural ambassador.
Among those who attended the event include celebrities, filmmakers, traditional chiefs, and artistes who took turns to entertain guests — as traditional delicacies were served and awards presented to industry players.
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