Twelve-year-old Nigerian-born Zuriel Oduwole made history recently when she
became the youngest person in the world to have her documentary – A Promising
Africa – screened in a commercial movie theatre.
Zuriel, a Nigerian native residing in Los Angeles, took to filmmaking at the age of
nine upon entering a competition at school which required entrants to make a
documentary about a successful revolution. Zuriel decided on the Ghana Revolution
and with the determination and faith that only a child could possess, she wrote to
Ghana’s former presidents, until one day she received not one, but two positive
responses. Soon after, she flew to Accra where she interviewed former Presidents
John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor and Jerry John Rawlings.
“The rules said that we had to produce the documentary ourselves, with no help.
We also had to set up the camera ourselves, and we had to edit it ourselves,’ Zuriel
It seems the filmmaking bug stuck as she has since directed and produced three
documentaries: Educating and Healing Africa Out of Poverty, Technology in
Educational Development and her latest project A Promising Africa.
After travelling to Ghana for the making of her first documentary Zuriel decided she
wanted to change the way the world sees Africa. “I am always reading about the
negative things they say on the news about Africa. They mostly show only the
negative things, like the wars, the famine, the corruption and the diseases and I
know that Africa is much more than that.’
“I have lived in Africa and I know there are many positive things, so that is why I
made A Promising Africa. I found out when I made my first documentary at age
nine, that the media is a powerful way to talk about something you love,’ Zuriel
Zuriel wrote, produced, directed and edited the documentary herself: “It was fun
but it was a lot of work. I also did the voice-over in a studio but my mom paid for
that,’ she explains.
Not sufficiently impressed? Zuriel is also the youngest person of African descent to
be listed as one of 2013’s 100 Most Influential Africans; she is the youngest person
in the world to be profiled in Forbes Magazine at just 10 years of age, and she was
selected as Global Brand Ambassador for Ethiopian Airlines and Heritage Bank’s
Financial Literacy Ambassador in Nigeria.
A Promising Africa was released in November 2014 at the Film House Cinema
theatre chain in Lagos, Nigeria. Additionally it was screened in London in January
2015, and a limited release has been scheduled for later this year.