Ikenna from What's Up Africa?

We chat to Ikenna Azuike, the man behind the controversy and laughs of What's Up Africa?

Africa has produced some awesome personalities and Ikenna Azuike is no exception. He considers himself a “Nigerian Brit currently living in the Netherlands” with a zest for all things African and a passion for dress up and politics.

DStv caught up with Ikenna and for a chat about his show, What’s Up Africa, (Fridays at 19:30 CAT on BBC World News).

He started the show out of “frustration of the portrayal of Africa,” mainly from Western viewpoints. “No one else was doing this,” says Ikenna, “I wanted to be critical as well as make a change.”

When we ask about his favourite aspect of What’s Up Africa?, Ikenna chuckles “dressing up!”. He notes that he is blessed to be doing what he wants. “I get to focus on things I care about, while at the same time I can be silly.”

The frustration and anger at how news is usually portrayed is motivation enough for awesome topics, and with his show being on BBC World News, Ikenna states he has an amazing team and great resources at his fingertips.

Ikenna goes on to explain his reason for picking politics as a talking point. “It’s influential when done right, it can make a huge impact,” Ikenna says, “and politics makes for easy targets!”

Since he started What’s Up Africa?, Ikenna says, “It’s been amazing! I can’t emphasise it enough how happy I am now.” Before his career in broadcasting, the funny man was actually a lawyer – how’s that for a career 180? “I meet such interesting people now,” states Ikenna, “and every day is something different – I learn so much more.”

“The narratives of Africa are changing,”  he says, “we’re airing our frustrations and more Africans are being acknowledged world wide – we’re definitely moving forward and changing views but there is still room for improvement.”

Ikenna enjoys watching Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (which you can watch at 21:55 on Sunday, 31 May on M-Net) as well as Zapiro cartoons, which he feels are “witty” and “completely on point”. 

“Other than enjoying what I do, I have an awesome team,” says Ikenna. His producer, Kathy Harcombe, and his cameraman, Sandesh Bhugaloo, help pull together all the madness into method.

You can catch Ikenna in his show What’s Up Africa? on BBC World News within Focus on Africa, every Friday at 19:30 CAT.