Wednesday, 31st May 2023

AMAA throws up continental acting champions

By Shaibu Husseini
04 December 2021   |   4:10 am
Last week, the spotlight was on the Nigerian actors that were nominated in the leading actor and actress categories of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).

Last week, the spotlight was on the Nigerian actors that were nominated in the leading actor and actress categories of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). The award ceremony held in Lagos on Sunday and winners have emerged in the acting categories of the award scheme, which is in its 17th edition.

Make way for Omar Abdi (Best Actor in a leading role- The Gravediggers Wife), Kelechi Udegbe (Best actor in a supporting role- Collision Course), Joan Agaba (Best actress in a leading role- Stain) and Hanzel Hinda (Best actress in a supporting role- Hairareb), who by reason of their winning the coveted AMAA’s have been admitted into the unofficial club of the continent’s leading actors.

Omar Abdi

Omar Abdi (The Gravedigger’s Wife)
SOMALIAN born actor Omar Abdi was voted the best actor in a leading role of the 2021 edition of the AMAA. The tall and lanky actor earned the award for his performance in Khadar Ahmed emotive and award winning movie The Gravediggers Wife.

Omar who was in Nigeria to pick up the award was full of gratitude to the Academy, the jurors, director of the movie and the entire cast and crew for the honour of winning what he described as an award of a very tough category.

Set in contemporary Somalia, the movie that won the coveted top prize at Fespaco 2021 revolves round Guled and Nasra, a loving couple, living in the outskirts of Djibouti city with their teenage son Mahad. However they are facing difficult times: Nasra urgently needs an expensive operation to treat chronic kidney disease. Guled is already working hard as a gravedigger to make ends meet: how they find the money to save Nasra and keep the family together is what makes the near two hour movie tick.

Best known for The Gravediggers’s Wife, Citizens and Aamu-Tv, Omar has with this winning earned himself a place amongst the unofficial club of the continents top actors and actresses.

Kelechi Udegbe (Collision Course)
NIGERIAN actor, voice over artiste, fashion enthusiast and Master of Ceremonies, Kelechi Udegbe received the AMAA’s diadem for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. His effort in Bolanle Austen-Peters’ Collision Course earned the Imo State native who began acting professionally in 2009 after he auditioned and got a lead role in a television series by Wale Adenuga Production (WAP) titled Behind The Smiles, an award. Interestingly, Kelechi an alumnus of the Pencil Film and Television Institute (PEFTI) was the only Nigerian actor amongst the continental actors that won in the five categories dedicated for actors—most promising, best supporting male, best supporting female, best actor in a leading role and best actress in a leading.

Best known for starring as the lead character in Officer Titus, Kelechi had since his debut in 2009 starred in several films and soaps including Behind The Smile, Ojuju, Taxi Driver: Oko Ashewo, Horn Free Day and Kpians: The Feast of Souls. The multi-award winning actor who sings by the side and who runs a boutique and sell fashion accessories has with this winning been admitted into the unofficial club of the continents notable actors.


Joan Agaba (Stain)
PRETTY Ugandan actress, Joan Agaba, was voted best actress in a leading role by the Jurors of the AMAA 2021. The Ugandan star actress beat Nollywood veterans Funke Akindele-Bello and Rita Dominic to clinch the Best Actress award in the 2021 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).

An alumnus of the Multichoice Talent Campus, the actress, director, and make-up artist who was named best actress in the 2020 edition of the Ugandan Film Festival award for her role in Torture, earned the award for her believable performance in the Ugandan urban telling, Stain. Star of the action movie 94 Terror, which earned her a supporting role nomination in the Uganda Film Festival in 2018, Joan’s most recent effort before Stain is playing the lead in Lailah, a feature film in which she has been nominated under the category of best supporting actress in the Uganda Film Festival (UFF).

The actress has with this winning earned herself a place in the unofficial club of the continents leading actresses.

Hanzel Hinda (Hairareb)
NAMIBIAN actress, Hanzel Hinda, was voted as the best actress in a supporting role in the Oshoveli Shipoh directed film titled Hairareb, in which she played the role of Moira.

The actress who made it to Nigeria to receive the award in-person, screamed, jumped for joy and raced on stage to receive her award, which critics say she deserved. Although the Jurors of AMAA nominated her in the supporting role category, Hanzel received the best actress award for same role (Moira) at the International Pan African Film Festival (FIFP) in Cannes, France in 2021. The film, which opened the FIFP in October 2021, also received a special mention from the Jury for Feature Length Fiction category.

With a cast that includes Claudine de Groot, late David Ndjavera and Bianca Heyns, the movie is told through the eyes of one of Namibia’s oldest and most deeply rooted tribes, capturing love during the time of drought.

A theatre performer, writer, and director, with more than 13 years’ experience in Theatre, Film, Television as well as Voice-Overs, Hazel graduated with a diploma in Performing Arts (Drama) from the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, formerly known as Pretoria Tech. Her foundation for acting she received from the College of the Arts in Windhoek at the tender age of 9 years. Hazel started her professional career as actress on the set of the well-known South African soapie, 7de laan, in 2006, and played the character of Danny for 3 years. Since then, Hazel has worked as a freelance actor, giving her the freedom and opportunity to take on more versatile characters, to expand her craft and creativity.

Today Hazel, who has continued to be active in the growing Namibian Theatre and Film industry, has been rightly admitted into the unofficial club of the continents leading actors.