Nollywood actress, nurse and educationist, Ginnefine Kanu says that although she is Sierra Leonean, she is more drawn to Nigeria than any other country. Her school, Ecole Est Belle Acedemy recently held its first valedictory ceremony and OVWE MEDEME was there to witness the occasion.
HOW does it feel holding your first valedictory service?
I thank God. I feel blessed. We are just nine months and we are already graduating some students. I think that is a milestone for us.
Are you an educationist by training?
Yes, I studied education, and I’m also s nurse and an actress. I studied in the USA after which I decided to come back to Nigeria to do my bit.
What motivated you to come to Nigeria to do this despite the recession?
The passion is my motivation. Also, I love kids. So that also motivated me to come. I didn’t think about the recession when I made the decision. I just decided that I will come here and do it.
How have the nine months been?
It’s been good. It’s been challenging, but I can’t complain.
How do you pick your teachers?
They are all well qualified. I don’t have anybody working for me who does not have a teacher’s degree. They all studied education, so none of them are here because they want to teach or because they see teaching as a way out.
What is the overall vision of the school?
The overall vision is for kids to look forward to going to school. That is the vision and I would say we are achieving that.
Where do you intend to take this institution to?
I intend taking it to the world. I want the world to know what we are doing here. I want it to grow, bigger than this. For now, we are a crèche, nursery and primary institution. And we would love to expand it to include a secondary institution. With time, we intend to do that. But I want this to grow first. If we have the resources, we would do it, but we want to nurture this first.
Why did you choose Nigeria to establish this?
Oh, I love Nigeria. I’m in love with Nigeria. I love the accent here. The pidgin mostly is what got me. I have been visiting Nigeria for the past 10 years so there is nothing new to me. I’m not used to my country as much as I’m used to Nigeria. I’m from Sierra Leone, but all my friends and all my ex-boyfriends are all from Nigeria.
Are you married to a Nigerian?
Which of our food is your favourite?
I love Egusi soup.
Do you know how to prepare it?
I am actually a good cook, so yes, I can prepare it.
How has your acting career been progressing?
It’s been good. I’ve been acting since 2007, so it’s on and off. I first produced my movie with Desmond Elliot. It was titled Too Much. Also, I’ve been doing movies with Emem Isong. She produces movies with my brother. I’ve done Midnight Whisper featuring Ini Edo. I’ve also done several other movies. I just featured in a movie with Mercy Johnson and Saka. I also just produced one starring Oge Okoye, Chelsea Eze. I was also in 3 Wise Men, although I did just one scene with RMD.
How do you cope with all of these activities?
I don’t act in movies as a fulltime job. I only act when I have the time, so I balance it. I pay more attention here than I do to movies. I am also a pediatric nurse and I practice in the United States. I’m mostly here though. I only go back when we have a long vacation.
How do your co-actors relate with you, especially given the fact that you are not a Nigerian?
They don’t see me as a Sierra Leonean or anything like that. To them, I’m just another actor. They embrace me. And they have been wonderful to me. They try to be wonderful to me, especially when I’m acting in a movie
Are you coming up with your own production?
Yes, it is about relationships. It is titled Love, Friendship and Betrayal. Like I said, it stars Oge Okoye, Chelsea Eze, Nino and a host of others. It was shot here in Lagos.
Why betrayal? Has any Nigerian man ever betrayed you?
No, I’ve not been a victim, but generally it is about being married and facing betrayal from a spouse. It is about friendship gone wrong; betraying each other, even as girls.
Is it a personal story?
No it’s not. It’s just a story that we decided to make into a movie.
How do you unwind?
I cook. I love to cook. So cooking relaxes me. I don’t go out. So whenever I have a free time, I just stay home and cook.
How often do you go back home for vacation?
Sometimes when I’m on vacation, I go there.
What similarities or differences do you see between Nigeria and Sierra Leone?
It’s basically the same thing for me. They are welcoming, they are nice. Nigerians are a little bit sensitive.
What about the men. How different are they?
I’ve never dated any Sierra Leonean guy. I’ve dated mostly Nigerian men.
Do you have anything against Sierra Leoneans?
No I don’t. I’m just used to Nigerians.
What are those qualities that draw you to Nigerians?
They are so many. Nigerian men are romantic; they are nice and they respect women a lot. That’s what I’ve come to notice about them.