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“Why I am focusing on educating the next generation” – Funke Akindele-Bello tells CNN’s ‘African Voices’



This week on CNN’s ‘African Voices’, Nigerian actress Funke Akindele-Bello talks through her career and why she’s focusing on the next generation of actors. One of Nollywood’s biggest stars, Funke has appeared in countless films and some of the biggest sitcoms in Nigeria. Despite starting acting as a young adult, ‘African Voices’ hears how she started out on a very different career path.

When Funke was a child, her parents had differing opinions when it came to her acting dreams, as she tells CNN:

“Growing up was fun for me having the support of my mum, she believed so much in my talent, though my dad never wanted me to be an actor – he wanted me to be a lawyer.”

‘African Voices’ hears how she compromised and agreed to study for a degree, eventually graduating in law. Following this, Funke began auditioning for roles and had her big break when she was cast in one of the biggest sitcoms in Lagos, called ‘I Need To Know’.

Funke describes the time:

“When I started ‘I Need To Know’, I never thought I would be this celebrated. I was 20 years old then. When I shot the pilot I just wanted to do it, I wanted to showcase my God-given talent… I remember the director telling me I was overacting because I was excited about it.”

Funke is best known for her portrayal of Jenifa, and she explains why the character has continued to appeal to audiences:

“Jenifa is witty, she’s crazy, she’s a go getter, she doesn’t want to take no for an answer and I think I have that – I don’t want to take no for an answer.”

CNN hears that Funke’s success as Jenifa led her to establish her own production company, Scene One Productions, as well as bringing many accolades, with her series receiving four awards since 2015. Reflecting on this success Funke tells the programme:

“All I can say is I’m grateful, it’s not easy for you to work hard and people appreciate you.”

Now working on a new TV drama examining the music industry in Nigeria, called ‘Industreet’, Funke has also founded ‘Jenifa’s Foundation’. Explaining the programme’s work, she tells CNN:

“We reach out to young people, we empower them. We help them acquire skills, we help them discover their special gift, their talent in acting and music and dance.”

When asked what her advice would be for upcoming actors and performers in Nigeria, Akindele tells the programme:

“Stay focused. When you know what you want for yourself, when you are focused, you will get there.”


  1. MEATLOAF!!!

    May 25, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    WELL SAID……I need to know was her breaking ground!!!

  2. Sasha

    May 25, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    All I can see is her Tacky,gaudy and over the top house.

    • madman

      May 25, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Very tacky decor. But at least she built something. Kudos to her.

    • na wa

      May 25, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      u get house?

    • Kbear

      May 25, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      That’s why it is “her house” geez!

    • Buhari Bu Ndi Ojor

      May 25, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      You took the words outta my mouth. Tacky, tacky, gaudy. Shine shine everywhere. Plenty things money can’t buy.

    • Purple

      May 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      I Know right!!! All i can see are those sofas like OMG really?!!

  3. Juse

    May 25, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Not with that fake Versace furniture ??

  4. Shalewa

    May 26, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Next genertion abi? Where did you dump Toyooor.then?…..abi she is not part of the next gen ni?


    May 26, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Nigerians ooo No Chilll @all

  6. Tolulope

    May 26, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Why so gooold!!???

  7. Chynwa

    May 26, 2017 at 9:05 am

    All I can see is a woman with a heart of gold! Keep doing you…God crown your efforts with more success

  8. Some Nigerians

    May 26, 2017 at 9:30 am

    @angry me,not only without chill,mostly unnecessarily disrespectful and critical of other peoples choices, lives ,looks,family,achievements etc…meanwhile they make enough excuses for their own shortcomings and weakness. Do unto others…..

  9. Chi

    May 26, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I can’t seem to see past the gaudy furniture. I tried reading through but my eyes just kept on looking at the furniture in repulsion.

  10. Tosin

    May 26, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Jeni-baby! Suliya from Aiyetoro! Is this your life?

  11. Uchechi Opara

    May 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Funke is a good woman, I really do not understand the reason for the hateful comments. @ all you madam tacky & gaudy, do whatever you wish with your house and leave Funke’s furniture alone, its her choice.

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