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Michael David Akpenyin, a creek boy turned international film maker in South Africa

Like many other children born in the Niger Delta creeks, his environment provided him with no opportunity. The government at both state and federal levels made no attempt to provide him access to good education.

His parents, who could have, had no stable means of livelihood as their lands and sea have been polluted by the activities of the multinational oil companies operating within the region. But with his disciplined attention, resourcefulness, resilience, and ingenuity, he was able to see both beyond the present and physical.

Hence, he was able to surmount all the stumbling blocks mounted in his journey to greatness; and today, his name features among the list of who is who in the film making industry, not just in South Africa and the world over. He has become one of the most prolific figures in Africa’s bustling film powerhouse. This is the synoptic story of Michael David Akpenyin.

Born February 14, 1983, in the peace-loving Okerenkoko and Kunukunuma communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state, Michael David Akpenyin against all odds did everything positive to seek western education.

That resolve was blessed by God who got him admitted and saw him through the prestigious University of Port Harcourt where he studied Film/Television Production. And today, he is a world-class film Director, Editor, and Producer and this has taken him around the globe – South Africa, Isreal, Zambia, Ethiopia State of Palestine, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic to mention just a few. He is married and the union is blessed with a lovely baby boy.

In this interview with GbaramatuVoice in South Africa, he speaks about his career, challenges and future.

Who is Michael David Akpenyin?

Michael David Akpenyin is a Nigerian from the oil-rich but government abandoned Niger Delta. I was born in February 1983, in the peace-loving town of Okerenkoko/Kunukunuma communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state. Michael is an easy going young man who believes that the word impossibility does not exist.

Film maker
Michael David Akpenyin, on set

Tell us something about your growing up.

As a boy from the creek, growing up was difficult; no good school, no water, not even a per of sandals. It wasn’t easy as a young boy. But despite all these deprivations, I was full of hope and believe that my future shall be rewarding; who believes that the future is bright and that I must make an impact in my world. That got me thinking what I should do that will enable the world to hear of me and my region. So, as a pacesetter who does not believe in doing something that everyone is doing at the same time, I choose that part that will bring hope, peace, and love to my people.

What actually made me start thinking differently was when I discovered that we have a lot of untold stories that the world needs to know.  So I decide to do something different for everyone.

So when the Late Nollywood actor Justice Esiri of blessed memories saw me, he loved my drive, my push, he told me we could do things together, so that was how we started working together. One day, he decided to introduce me to one prominent leader from Gbaramatu Kingdom, sorry I will not want to mention his name. That was through a telephone conversation and the man remarked; my son I never believed we have someone who can change the pattern, I thought everyone is looking for quick money through illicit means. He finally promised to support me.

But even with this breakthrough, my quest to make an impact did not stop. So, I left the creek to the city seeking for greener pasture. After some time, God intervened and I started recording successes. I have worked with virtually all the Nollywood actors in Nigeria.

In summary, from the creek, I have toured states, cities, and nations which includes but not limited to; South Africa, Isreal, Zambia, Ethiopia, State of Palestine, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic. It’s all God, and we give Him the praise. The creek boy becomes the international boy.

What are the challenges faced on relocating to South Africa?

Creating new contacts and friends was the first major challenge. But in the same vein, relocating to South Africa was a big breakthrough to me and my family. In fact, let me say this, he who finds a wife found a good thing and obtain favour from the Lord. Immediately I got married to my lovely wife, doors began to open. And my talent started paying off.

What is your advice to the youths in the creeks?

Hmmm, advising the youth… My Advice to the youth is a simple one. First, they should change their pattern; they should not depend on the politicians or get themselves involved in any form of illicit dealings with them. They should believe in themselves, be focus and work hard to achieve whatever target they set for themselves.

They should seek knowledge by going to school as education holds the key to greatness. They should stay away from crime and other vices. Long live Ijaw nation and Niger Delta. 

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