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I’m passionate about changing the negative narrative of Africans in Finland says “Obiwest Utchaychukwu” The Face of African Queen founder

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The publisher of Diaspora Glitz Magazine which is dubbed the Voice of Afro-Finn, Mr. Obiwest Utchaychukwu has expressed his desire to change the negative narrative associated with the people with African background living in Finland. He made this known during the press day of the Face of African Queen beauty contest, a beauty pageant he co-founded with Miss Kelly Kalonji, the winner of Miss Helsinki 2013

The Founders of The Face of African Queen addressing the press.
Photo Credit: Bleumonde photos

In the history of the African community in Finland, there hasn’t been any beauty pageant of a high standard that could compete with other top beauty pageants elsewhere. The Face of African Queen which was founded late last year is produced by Diaspora Reporters ry.

The beauty pageant kicked off on an enviable level with some partners and sponsors showing interest in the project. Amongst the sponsors of the beauty pageant is SKOHAN, one of the biggest clubs in Helsinki, their facility was used during the casting and they also gave free drinks to the contestants and the judges, while Hesburger supplied foods and drinks

The finalists
Photo Credit: Bleumonde photos

According to Obiwest, the grande finale of the beauty contest will take place on November 21st and the event will attract the creme de la creme of the African community in Finland and top Finnish dignitaries.

We can change the negative story by doing what is right, inculcating in the hearts of Africans in Finland that we have a role to play in the society. We should be the change we desire, Obiwest says. He also advised people of African background to leverage on the plethora of opportunities available in Finland for the growth of the country.

Press Day host, Sara Chafak, Miss Finland winner 2012 with Obiwest
Photo Credit: Bleumonde photos

Obiwest said the goal of The Face of African Queen is to provide young African women who were born or live in Finland with a platform to showcase their beauty, culture, abilities and creativity. We want to encourage them to be more confident, goal-oriented, he added.

Like other Miss competitions, the Face of African Queen competition has a talent competition, a swimsuit tour, an interview, and an evening dress tour. In addition, in one round, participants present the culture of their own country, for example by wearing their country’s national costume.

He further said that one of the constraints of The Face of African Queen is finance. This is the first edition of the beauty pageant and it’s getting popular each day, everybody wants to get to know us, our Instagram account and other social media platforms are growing rapidly. Kelly and I have put a lot in this project, our resources, time, and attention

DIASPORA NEWS

Finland based Nigerian narrates how he was once humiliated because of poverty

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A Nigerian, Obi-West Utchaychukwu who is the publisher of Diaspora Glitz Magazine recounts how he was embarrassed by a supposed rich man because he asked him for help in other to publish a book. The inspiring true life story was shared on the magazine Instagram account. https://www.instagram.com/p/CJRBdIVhBfQ/?igshid=4e0vh20b31mu

Find below what he posted

In The Joy Of Christmas – May Our Dreams Come Through – Read my inspiring story

Everyone desires to see their dreams come true. I have always wanted to become a publisher because of my penchant for writing. My interest in writing had a huge boost when my article was published by The Punch Newspaper in 2011. The title of the top-notch article was “The many ills of the nation.” In the article, I criticized former president Goodluck Jonathan’s plan to put ex-presidents of Nigeria on a lifetime pension at a time when Nigeria was in a profound economic crisis.

Obi-West Utchaychukwu
Editor-in-Chief, Diaspora Glitz Magazine

That same year, during my wilderness experience in Lagos, still fighting hard to disentangle myself from the claws of poverty, I wrote a book on the African Odyssey. The 200 pages book was a compilation of the experiences I have garnered vis-à-vis life outside the shores of the country. I took the manuscript to a publisher for him to read and see if he could publish it for me on pro bono. A week later, he returned the manuscript to me and told me he can’t publish it for free and he advised me not to give my manuscript to anybody just like that, that they could steal the content.

The latest edition of the magazine

I went to the office of The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) at Ikeja and they collected the manuscript from me and told me that they will send it to their head office in Abuja. Three days later, the office in Abuja contacted me to acknowledge the receipt of the manuscript and that they will get back to me within two weeks.

After two weeks, I got a reply from them that someone has read the manuscript and the person approved it. I was told that the agency is willing to publish the book because it’s informative, educative, and articulate as it would go a long way in warning young Nigerians about the dangers of traveling through the desert and other illegal means just to get to oversea. The agency asked me how much do I need for the publishing and I told them N2 million naira for thousands of copies (I can’t remember the exact figure) and they agreed. They told me that they will invite me to Abuja to sign some papers to enable them to release the fund. That week I was in an ecstatic mood, little did I know that my bubble was about to burst.

Obi-West with the former South African Ambassador to Finland

The following week, I received an email that shattered my life. They said they can no longer sponsor the publishing of the book because of paucity of funds, “but it was a fallacy.” Someone from the office told me that the reason why they jettisoned the initial agreement to help me was because of my tribe. If I were a Northerner, they would have supported me.

I took the manuscript this time to a very wealthy man from my village who is in the race to become the next King of my community. When I got to his office at Ikeja, Lagos State, I met his absence and I waited for almost two hours before he came. As soon as he was about to enter his office, I stood up, greeted him, and introduced myself to him. I gave him the manuscript with tears almost dropping from my eyes, i told him to assist me in publishing the book. He flipped through the manuscript and handed it back to me. His statement was “I’m very busy, you can come another day” instantly, I developed cold feet, I didn’t know what to do. I never expected a harsh response from him. In summary, because of poverty, I abandoned my manuscript in the hands of people who might have published the book without my knowledge and made money from it.

Today, I give God Glory because my dream of becoming a publisher has been fulfilled. Everyone knows me in Finland because of my Diaspora Glitz Magazine which has maintained consistency and quality. The quarterly magazine is the official producer of The Face of African Queen Finland, a beauty pageant for ladies with African backgrounds. The magazine has launched me into limelight.

I can publish whatever I want to publish because Grace has made it possible. You can still achieve your dreams if you don’t lose focus because of the challenges of life. Merry Christmas to all

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DIASPORA NEWS

Nigerian community in Finland hold ‘EndSARS’ protest in Helsinki

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On Thursday, 22nd October 2020, the #EndSARS protests that has gripped Nigeria for more than two weeks took place in the city of Helsinki. Nigerians in Finland came out en mass to protest against police brutality, extortion, extrajudicial killing, illegal arrest, and detention of youths by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the police force.

EndSARS protesters in a peaceful walk to the Parliament Building
Photo Credit: Wealthyshezzy

#EndSARS protest was reignited following the shooting of a youth reportedly in front of a hotel in Ughelli, Delta State, in broad daylight by some FSARS operatives who drove away from his Lexus Jeep. The police have said the youth didn’t die. Recall that the protests began on 7 October with mostly young people demanding the scrapping of a notorious police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

At the Senate Square
Photo Credit: Wealthyshezzy

Although President Buhari said it had been dissolved on 11 October, the protests have carried on, and broadened to include demands for broader reforms in the way Nigeria is governed. The protests were intensified when Nigerians in the diaspora joined in the protest.

Organizers of the protest
From left: Everest, MostWanted, Obiwest, Sola

On Tuesday 20th October, security forces opened fire on hundreds of peaceful protesters in Lagos, killing at least 12 people in the capital, according to Amnesty International.

At the Parliament Building
Photo Credit: WealthyShezzy
A Protester passing a message
Photo Credit: Wealthyshezzy

 The #EndSARS protest in Finland was organized by four Nigerians and they are; Everest Obatitor, the Chairman of the Nigerian Football Team in Finland, Obiwest Utchaychukwu, the publisher of Diaspora Glitz Magazine, MostWanted aka Mustardseed a hip-hop/afrobeat artist and Olusola Ogunluyi a community leader.

At the Parliament Building
Photo Credit: WealthyShezzy
A protester displaying his placard
Photo Credit: Wealthyshezzy

Many Nigerians came from different parts of Finland, some came from neighbouring Estonia to show solidarity with Nigerians back home. The protest began at the Senate Square with the singing of the Nigerian National Anthem and after that a minute of silence was observed in honour of those who lost their lives during the protest. From the Senate Square, the protesters accompanied by the Finnish Police matched down to the Parliament building where they made their voices heard and passed the sublime message of #EndSARS

Protesters at the Senate Square
Photo Credit WealthyShezzy

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DIASPORA NEWS

Meet Chike Ohanwe,- the first dark-skinned Jussi Award winner

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History was made on Wednesday night when Chike Ohanwe was announced the winner of Jussi Award for Best Male of the Year for his role in the film Aurora. This is unprecedented since 1944 when the Jussi Award was established to recognize excellence in the Finnish film industry.

The Jussi Awards are Finland’s premier film industry event, recognizing annually the past year’s excellence in Finnish film making by directors, actors, and writers. It is just like The Oscars in the United States.

Chile Ohanwe
Photo credit : MTV News

Chike is a Nigerian-Finnish, his father is from Imo State in Eastern Nigerian while his mother is a Finn. His father, Mr Augustine Ohanwe came to Finland many decades ago for studies and he had since returned back to his native country Nigeria. He is an outstanding author and his best selling book on Amazon is The Legend of Mount Zebrue.

MTV News reports that after receiving the award, Ohanwe gave a speech of thanks, which certainly impressed many. Even after his first sentence, Ohanwe received long-standing, great applause. 

Chike’s dad Mr. Augustine Ohanwe
Photo credit: Facebook

With applause, Ohanwe became visibly more sensitive and aired the Jussi Award in his hand on the gala stage. In addition, the tear-eyed Ohanwe thanked his old teachers in his speech. 

– Your dune, what you have done for cultural education in general, it is measured not in money, but in people. Thank you. 

– At the age of 11 I started doing theater and I kind of knew from then on that if I wanted to make a career out of this, I had to press a lot of dune. And I have to put people around me who … if there are roles that the girl plays in, if they don’t come, then maybe there are people with whom she can do them.

Ohanwe continued his speech, still moved, a tear running down his cheek. 

He joins the likes of Lola Odusoga, the first dark-skinned winner of Miss Finland in making the minority Afro-Finns community proud

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