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Nigerian actor Iyke’s travel show delves deep into issues

Sunday Independent logo Sunday Independent 2017-11-14 Constance Gaanakgomo

a man jumping in the air doing a trick on a skateboard © Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd He may be among the biggest Nollywood stars but Jim Iyke isn’t the type to shy away from tackling contentious political issues.

The saying that politics is the art of the possible seems to find resonance in his latest show Adventurer: The Awesome Wanderer, at least when it relates to positive change in society.

The show, Iyke says, is aimed at people between 18 and 35. “They are disconnected from general discourse in Nigeria’s politics.”

He was in South Africa to shoot a promo video of the show in Cape Town. In season one, Nigerian contestants get to transverse the world’s most exotic destinations, starting in South Africa.

Iyke, who is both the show host and executive producer explains: “We take people from diverse backgrounds from different parts of the country for season one, and our predominant focus is Nigeria. 

“It’s more like an export to the world, our culture, our ways and backgrounds, so we take people from different backgrounds irrespective of tribe, religion, creed and idiosyncrasies,” he says.

The adventure is an out-of-the-world experience for ordinary folks, most of whom are from humble beginnings taken to exotic locations. 

”Right now we have Doha, Dubai, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Sydney, and Paris, he says, adding that the travellers are put through different challenges. In the course of this, they “get touched spiritually, physically, intellectually and psychologically”. 

“At the end, hopefully it would have forced them into a conversation or narrative where perhaps are more tolerant with each other.”

Explaining the theme of conscientising the youth, he says: “They form 60% of our nation and we felt that they are the ones we should engage in this narrative.”

“We’ve designed an array of challenges and we have experts in these fields.

“Unlike other shows that the chief focus is physical abilities, we task your intellectual, psychological and ability to be tolerant for other people, something which is very unorthodox.”

a man holding a bag of luggage © Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd Jim Iyke. Picture: Instagram 

At the end there is the prize of $20 000 and a new car for the last person standing. 

In the first season, the show seeks to address the question of oneness in Nigeria, as well as xenophobia in South Africa.

“We have problems of tribalism and tribal profiling back home, so say that unity needs to be preached at this time in our lives cannot be overstated.

“The same goes with xenophobia. We should be global citizens, this is Africa, given our history with what we’ve been through, especially with western and foreign influences, that the least that people expect of us is intolerance. This is a time to broaden your horizons and stop seeing the threat from your enclave rather than from the inside.”

When asked if he has experienced xenophobia, the Nollywood star says it is subtle and he chooses not to surround himself with negativity.

“I look at the person smiling and wishing me well, and I reciprocate the best possible way I can. The dude that’s frowning at me, that’s his problem. He’s not in my space, he is not stopping me from reaching for my goals or doing anything that I want to do.”

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