Ace Nollywood actress, Happy Julian-Uchendu, widely known as Happy Julian, has been honoured as an International Ambassador for African Culture at the 2023 Nollywood New Yam Festival in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Saturday.
Mrs. Noni Okocha, the Chief Executive Officer of “I am the Future of Nigeria Youth Initiative,” was also recognized as an International Ambassador for African Culture. These awards were presented during the closing ceremony of the 11th edition of the festival in Abuja.
The event also celebrated other industry stakeholders and advocates of African culture and values. Rekiya Ibrahim-Atta was honoured as the “Akpugo” of African Culture, and Hon. Bamidele Salam received the title of National Ambassador of African Culture, among others.
Mr. Agility Onwurah, the National Coordinator of the Festival and Chief Executive Officer of Agile 247.Com, commended the awardees, emphasizing the importance of celebrating those who have contributed to the growth and development of Nollywood and the promotion of African culture.
He explained that Nollywood serves as a vital platform for promoting cultural heritage and values to fans, especially the younger generation.
“Nollywood promotes our culture, and anyone who has contributed to its growth and development, in whatever capacity should be celebrated.
“The festival is simply a platform where celebrities identify with culture and promote it to their fans and followers that 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,” he said.
Onwurah clarified that the New Yam Festival is not a fetish practice, as some might misconstrue, but rather a means of celebrating cultural traditions.
The festival highlighted Nigerian culture and showcased the vital role of artists as cultural ambassadors in conveying ideas and promoting national identity.
The night of the festival was filled with glitz and glamour, as Nollywood enthusiasts enjoyed the company of their favorite celebrities and cultural performances.
The annual Nollywood New Yam Festival brings together celebrities, cultural enthusiasts, and traditional leaders in the FCT, emphasizing the importance of cultural preservation and celebration.