'My Ordinary Hero'

Audio 17:44
Sound Kitchen Podcast
Sound Kitchen Podcast RFI

This week on The Sound Kitchen, you’ll hear a “My Ordinary Hero” essay written by Ibironke Abosede Oyewole from Lagos, Nigeria. There’s also a special song for Eid al-Fitr, so tune in and enjoy! 

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Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday – here on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll hear the winners' names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and listen every week.

Ibironke Abosede Oyewole sent us an essay this week, on the theme “My Ordinary Hero”. These essays are about the people in your community who are doing EXTRA-ordinary things and working to make the world a better place. As listener Pramod Maheswari said: “Just as small drops of water can fill a pitcher, small acts of kindness can change the world.” Let’s sing these so-called “ordinary” heroes praises together! Send your “Ordinary Heroes” essays to thesoundkitchen@rfi.fr

Here's Ibironke’s essay:

“Hello. My name is Ibironke Abosede Oyewol. I am a member of the RFI Listeners Club and the Radio Zeater Club. Today, I would like to tell you about my Community Hero, Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo.

Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo is a grassroots journalist who lives in Ajegunle, Nigeria. Ajegunle is one of the most densely populated communities in Lagos State.

Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo’s love for news reporting began in 1993, when he was 15 years old. He saved his transportation fares to buy sports newspapers, and sat his classmates down during break time at school to tell them about what he had read – especially about Nigerian footballers abroad.

And that’s how it started. That’s how, unconsciously, Ekundayo’s journalistic career began.

Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo studied in the English language and Literary Studies program at Lagos State University. After graduation, he began teaching English in a private secondary school, where he encouraged his students to keep journals of their daily activities - especially the students in the Press Club. 

He developed a new way for his English students to better understand the “comprehension of English” exercises: he had them re-enact classroom activities and write essays about what they had done. 

The students loved it!  They looked forward to their exams!

His writing style soon caught the attention of the school proprietor, who asked Ekundayo to write his biography. Ekundayo accepted. 

The biography became the breakthrough he needed, personally, to decide to follow his insatiable passion for writing and speaking. After he completed the biography of the school’s proprietor, Ekundayo resigned his post at the school.

His first step was to start a newspaper in his community, Ajegunle.

A poor community, Ajegunle was wrongly associated as a slum filled with social vices. Ekundayo turned this around: he reported on the courage and victories of the residents.

His specialty was in so-called “Soft News”. That is - Good News! Ekundayo published his first magazine in 2013. He saw stories where Ajegunle residents – and the journalistic community – did not.

To offset financial difficulties, Ekundayo began publishing on various social media platforms – and that proved to be the big breakthrough for his career.

Ekundayo’s publication, PROJECT 3:16 METRO, with his new style of journalism, had come to the attention of a public beyond his community and led to a wider style of community reporting.

Ekundayo then began to experiment with visual news reporting. He started producing videos: editing, scripting and voicing his previously written-only, that is, for print, news articles.

His grassroots reporting style came to the notice of the local government, and he became their media consultant – a position he still holds.

Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo, I am proud to report, has been nominated for the African Young Achievers Award, in a ceremony to be held in Ghana in May of this year.

Ekundayo’s community journalism is known throughout Nigeria – and thanks to social media, far beyond our country. Ekundayo has changed how community reporting is approached; his "Live Locally, Act Globally" campaign, and his mission to bring local news to the “Global Village” and bring news from the “Global Village” to his local community have been highly acclaimed. 

This song, “Hero”, means a lot to me because, whenever my hero smiles, it makes me happy.  I hope you like it. Thank you.”

Many thanks to Ibironke Abosede Oyewole! Where is your essay?

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s programme: “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias, played by Music, Travel, Love; “Eid Mubarak” by Akassh and Priyo Chottopadhay, sung by Akassh.

Do you have a musical request? Send it to thesoundkitchen@rfi.fr

The Sound Kitchen quiz will be back next Saturday, 22 May.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize, click here

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club, click here

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