Goge Africa rewards winners at grand finale of Art/Writing contest
For their outstanding performance, Goge Africa hosted winners of the art and writing competition tagged Goge Africa 20th Anniversary Contest. The competition was organised as part of the activities marking the 20th anniversary of the Goge Africa tourism initiative. The event, which was held at the Maryland, Lagos office complex of the company, was attended by a number of the winners of the contest, media and other guests.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Goge Africa, Isaac Moses, expressed delight at being able to finally host the event. According to him, the event was to hold last year, but put on hold as a result of COVID -19.
While the Managing Director of the company, Mrs. Nneka Isaac –Moses, said it was a fulfillment of a dream and commitment that the grand finale of the competition, which commenced in 2019, held despite the challenges faced in hosting it. Aside the issue of COVID – 19, she disclosed that all the sponsors pulled out of the event, failing to meet their commitments.
However, she said that Goge Africa had to solely fund the event and the prizes for the finalists, saying that it was necessary to do so in order to protect the image and integrity of the company.
The idea behind the contest, she said, is to develop and promote African art and culture, as the theme of the art and writing competitions is Our culture and heritage, adding that, “The contest is geared at showcasing young and enthusiastic creative talents around Africa, promoting and exposing them to opportunities through the platform of Goge Africa.”
Isaac-Moses added that the initiative aims to discover new talents, nurture and promote them, as well as expose them and inspire the youths to cherish and promote African art and culture.
She further disclosed that the contest generated widespread interest beyond their imagination, with entries received from across Africa. A total of 1, 438 were received for short story, while entries received for the art category were 1, 062. Judges for the contests were mainly drawn from across Africa, while all the winners were Nigerians.
“The entries were all enthralling; we had a tough time selecting the finalists. But at the end of a contest, a winner must emerge. We really wish we could award all. Our joy stems from the smiles on the faces of the participants, the bolster that this contest has given them to chase their creative pursuits further, and the fact that some of these creatives, predominantly the writers, are looking at expanding these stories for publishing.
‘‘As a brand, we are enthusiastic that through our platform, there is a new vista of hope that new African creatives that would tell the original African narratives have emerged.’’
The overall winner in the art and writing contests were presented with a cheque of $1,000 respectively, while other benefits to the top three winners in each of the category include: A contract with Goge Africa; Sponsored travel opportunity with Goge Africa; Exhibition opportunity (for the top five Winners); Publication opportunity on the Goge Africa coffee table photo book (for the winner and 1st runner-up); Appearance on Goge Africa TV show; VIP tickets to GogeAfrica20 anniversary dinner and award night; and Certification of participation.
Israel Padonu, the overall winner in the art category, who is from Badagry and Fine Art graduate from Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, said he was fascinated by the topic of the contest hence the motivation to participate in it.
Padonu expressed delight and appreciation to Goge Africa for the event. He said he was overwhelmed and humbled as the overall winner, saying that the platform has added value to his career as an artist.
‘‘This is the first major platform that gave me a lot of hope to show that my efforts were not in vain,’’ he said, adding, “this is a platform to promote my work.’’
While for the overall winner in the writing category, Chioma Nnana, winning is a big boost to her writing career. Nnana, who works in a corporate communication outfit, disclosed that though she had passion for writing, but had not written for a while before putting in for the competition, which advertisement she saw on Instagram.
‘‘I feel great and it is a validation of my work,’’ she said.
Other winners present at the event include: Ajenifuja Adetokunboh (1st runner – up ), fine and art graduate from the Federal College of Education, Akoka, Lagos; Grace Olabisi (2nd runner – up), a lawyer and amateur writer; and Mokwenye Ehis Ndudi (5th runner –up), a chemical engineering graduate from the Federal Polytechnic, Oko,Anambra State; Nzennaya Barry Ikechukwu, 3rd runner – up – writing; Odinakachi Okoroafor, 4th runner – up; Onyibor Collins Uchenna, 1st runner – up- writing;