Tuesday 27 July 2021

Funmi, in your year of the Jubilee

Extraordinary mensch

Funmi Iyanda, I first met in circumstances celebrating the loss of a friend, there was no indication at the time that we would be friends, but through meetings and conversations, an unusual and close friendship developed.

There are many things to write about Funmi Iyanda, the talk show host, broadcaster, Film and TV producer, media executive, philanthropist, journalist, and blogger, according to her Wikipedia profile, but to view her through her celebrity alone would be to miss the beauty and the essence of the person, her humanity, her generosity, her qualities in principle, in motherhood, in friendship, her stoicism in the face of adversity, betrayal, and other challenges, her indomitable spirit, her tenacity, her storytelling prowess and the all-round extraordinary mensch that she is.

Humanity champion

Funmi has always championed unpopular and difficult causes, bringing light and life to people, issues, and events, extricating the detail and the underlying human story to which many can relate, from the time that she fronted New Dawn with Funmi to her recent venture of Public Eye.

In doing so, she shone the klieg lights on many, giving them insight and blazing the trail for others who have followed and gone on to become leading lights to their various areas of endeavour. She was the pioneer, the frontrunner, the blockbuster draw in an environment where the conservative, the patriarchy, the powerful, and the influential felt threatened by one who was neither fawning nor obsequious, her voice was strong, loud, and effective.

Life changer

In founding Change-A-Life Foundation in 2002, she with the team around her were intervening in the lives of vibrant, talented, gifted, determined, purposeful yet disadvantaged individuals, according to their Twitter profile. Even those who would not consider themselves disadvantaged were given platforms to showcase their abilities and from there found the global audience that brought patronage and opportunity to their worlds.

Having the courage of her convictions borne of a deep sense of duty and willingness to nurture, uplift, and promote, she has boldly showcased issues too many have been afraid to touch, associated with people who the generally supercilious won’t deign to entertain, but the haughty are the poorer for it, even if in their conceit they are oblivious of their lack of humanity, doing the motions without the heart.

Quiet dignity

I am sometimes astounded at some who were lent more than a helping hand who having now made it have surreptitiously pushed the ladder away, presuming to pay forward with no recognition of how they got where they are or who gave voice, mentored, advised, counselled, negotiated, and facilitated their rise.

It is an endearing virtue to witness the dignity and bearing of this woman whose quiet disposition and silence is too frequently taken advantage of by those who knowing the quality of person she is, feel safe from being exposed for their villainy, calumny, malevolence, apathy, indifference, wickedness, ingratitude, disrespect and much else. They are a lesson and story of the fallen human that would not change the grace, the style, the comportment, the humanity, and loveliness of this lady.

Trailblazing still

Those points being made, I have come to celebrate Funmi Iyanda as a friend, a confidante, a sister, an ally, a person of exemplary conduct that I so highly respect for who she is, her achievements, the successes, and failures are woven into a tapestry of life telling even better stories, the laurels of the past fading into the distance in the presence of new ideas, amazing opportunities, and projects leading to places that could never have been prospected or imagined; genius is just what genius does and it is awesome to behold.

There is a coming of age and the coming into the centre of who you were born to be, a world-changer, lauded and recognised by the powerful, the influential, the establishment and institutions around the world. Sometimes, a prophet is but without honour in their own land, it does not make the prophet any less an impactful messenger to the global communities and humanity where the gift blossoms.

Unbeatable excellence

Sometimes, I say, you have nothing left to prove other than to continually excel effortlessly in what you have perfected over decades. Indeed, many will be envious and jealous, probably militate against you, where they can and are able to contribute and team up, they hold back fearful of being eclipsed, myopic in vision and purpose, but we choose to be proud of you, celebrate your many talents, find encouragement in your many efforts and have great expectations of mind-blowing exploits by your individuality, initiative, industriousness, and ingenuity.

Your friendship, your playfulness, your wit, and your use of expression are things your friends exude in and treasure. Along with Morenike, you are both an incomparable, uncompromising, unbeatable, and unchallengeable winning team.

Happy Birthday

Dear Funmi, on your 50th birthday, may your smiles turn into joyous laughter and exuberant ululation, may your light shine as bright as the sun in the day and in the night, may love encompass, shield and bless you, may you find favour in every place, even in the impossible and unfavourable places, ways open that would leave many in awe of the opportunities that come your way that you are spoilt for choice.

May you rise to be seen, to be heard, to be honoured, to be celebrated, and to be feted in the stratosphere way beyond those who heretofore glowered at you with satisfaction, they will be dwarfed by the little things you do. It is your day to breakout and breakthrough with the impact and forceful demonstration of a nuclear detonation. Brian and I wish you a very happy birthday, you have been our greatest cheerleader and supporter, a friend like no other.

Most of all, remember the words of the brighter future that we have progressively lived in and continue to find new experiences to cherish. A ma fi pàtàn ni. Have a most wonderful day and many more glorious days and years are coming in your year of the Golden Jubilee.

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