Onyeka Onwenu biography
Onyeka Onwenu is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, actress, human right activist, social activist, journalist, politician, recording artist and X Factor series judge.
Full Name: Onyeka Onwenu
Born: 17 May 1952
Birth place: Obosi, Imo State
Famous as: Singer, actress, politician
Home town: Arondizuogu, Imo State
Children: Abraham Ogunlende, Tijani Ogunlende
Albums: Golden Songs Vol.2, The Worship Project, Golden Songs Vol.3
Awards: Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Biographical and family background
She is from Arondizuogu, a small town in Ideato, North Local Government Area of Imo State in the south eastern part of Nigeria.
Onwenu possess a BA in International Relations and Communication of the Wesley College of Massachusetts, USA, and a master’s degree in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research in New York.
She worked for many years at the United Nations, New York office before returning to Nigeria in 1980 where she completed the mandatory one-year National Service with the National Television Authority (NTA). While at NTA, she made an impact as an articulate, incisive and fearless reporter.
In 1984, she wrote and presented the internationally acclaimed BBC/NTA documentary called “Nigeria, A Squandering of Riches” which became the definitive film about corruption in Nigeria as well as the intractable Niger Delta agitation for resource control and campaign against environmental degradation in the oil rich region of Nigeria. She has also served on the board of the NTA.
Onwenu began her music career in 1981 while still working in NTA, releasing the album “For the Love of You”.
Originally a secular artist, she now sings mainly gospel music, and continues to write and sing about issues such as health (HIV/AIDS), peace and mutual coexistence, respect for women rights and the plight of children.
Her latest collection titled, “Inspiration for Change,” focused on the need for an attitudinal change in Nigeria.
She is in partnership with Paris-based La Cave Musik, headed by a Nigerian cultural entrepreneur, Onyeka Nwelue and a UK-based Jungle Entertainment Ventures, headed by musicologist David Evans-Uhegbu. La Cave Musik is set to release her collection titled “Rebirth of a Legend”.
In 2013, she was named as one of the three judges on the Nigerian version of The X Factor.
In recognition of her contribution to music and arts in Nigeria, she has been celebrated by professionals like Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Laolu Akins, Charles O’Tudor, and former PMAN president Tony Okoroji among others in the arts industry in Nigeria.
Onyeka Onwenu is a member of the People’s Democratic Party. She has contested twice to become the Local Council Chairman of her local government, Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State, and lost at both attempts.
She was later appointed Chairperson of Imo State Council for Arts and Culture by former governor Ikedi Ohakim.
On 16 September 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed her the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Centre for Women Development.
Onyeka Onwenu has featured in numerous Nollywood movies and in 2006 she won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, In 2014.
She was in the movie Half of a Yellow Sun with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton.
Family and personal life
Although Onyeka Onwenu prefers to keep her personal life as private as possible, it is not known for sure if Onyeka Onwenu is married to the father of her children or not.
She was dubbed the “Elegant Stallion” by the Nigerian press. She is respected as a living legend.