Some five years ago, Ud Okon visited South Africa on a religious tourism, as a budding music star. Five years down the line, the Akwa Ibom born icon is making waves in that country through his music. He once tapped a higher grace from another Akwa Ibom music star, Anne Inyang of the Akanam Nkue fame, when they did a concert together in Lagos, before his sojourn in South Africa.

His latest video, You are worthy, currently trending on youtube, is making waves. He told TNN from his base in South Africa how he was defrauded in that country as he tried to secure his resident documents. He also spoke about his childhood experiences.


How did you find yourself in the music ministry?

I was born in church and started by singing in the choir

I started music in the church choir from my childhood until 2003 when I started doing it professionally. I was born in church and developed an interest in music at the age of 13 when I joined the teenagers’ choir of my church(Church of God mission). From there, I became the youth choir leader of my same church before joining the senior church choir and in 2003, I recorded my first album Ukara Jesus, that features Princess Anne Inyang of Akanam Nkwe fame and since then I have remained in this ministry.

What attracted you to music at that young age?

I grew up in church and saw people do it, something I can do. From there, my interest just grew. So, when I eventually got the chance to sing in church, people loved it and celebrated me. From then, no looking back.

What level of stage freight did you experience on your very first appearance before a huge crowd?

Yoh, I still remember that performance like yesterday at my home church. At first, I was excited about it, but when I came out and saw faces I melted inside me, though I managed to pull through. But it wasn’t as I thought it was gonna be. But thank God, I have outgrown that now.

What were the things running through your mind as you saw the crowd and melted inside?

I became shy, afraid and felt like I can’t do this. But like the Bible says, I can do all things through Christ who strengths me. The Lord helped me, I did what I was supposed to do, though it can’t be compared now.

Why did you decide to move to South Africa?

I have always loved South Africa sound from a very young age. We even used to do their songs way back in choir. So in 2012, I had the opportunity to do a tour here. When I arrived I loved the place and the love I got everywhere I ministered; so I decided to stay back after the tour.

Was that your first trip outside Nigeria?

Yes, it was.

Describe how you felt before, during the trip and upon your arrival in South Africa?

Before my arrival here, I was so and still excited about visiting South Africa because of how beautiful their sound is. I was also excited about the opportunity to know them well and learn their style of music. My trip here was a good one, void of crisis and since my arrival, God has been faithful, opening ministry doors for me and am thankful to him.

Describe your first week in South Africa, especially embarrassing moments you had?

I was introduced to a Nigerian guy here by a friend of mine in Nigeria when I arrived. I called him so we can talk about my stay but I didn’t know the guy just wanted to eat me. He took advantage of the fact that I didn’t know their money well and robbed me. After some days I got familiar with the money as a Warri boy, I refused to allow him use me again. So he got angry. That was how we parted ways. I also had this sad experience of paying money to a guy to fix my papers and he defrauded me. It was a painful experience then. But thank God, I overcame all that.

So how did you settle down eventually?

When I made up my mind to settle here, I had to get their papers. I was also privileged to be employed by a church as the music director. That helped me settle in quick.

Let’s talk about your parents. How was life, growing up?

I had a good childhood. My dad worked at NNPC and my mom was a trader. So, we had all that kids would have. But all that changed on June 28, 1998, when my father passed away and we started seeing the other part of life we were not used to.

Tell me about the other side of life that you experienced?

My mom did her best but life was no longer the same after my dad passed away, so I had to go work in a block industry, worked as a sales boy in a video club, just to support my mom. Trust me, it was a hard time in our lives.

How are you representing Akwa Ibom in South Africa?

Am doing the little I can by attending our Akwa Ibom meetings here and supporting in any way I can. I also try to sing in Akwa Ibom language here. By so doing, people from other countries wanna know more about Akwa Ibom because we are not many here.


This interview was first published on TNNOnline

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Nigerians in South Africa
Nigerians in South Africa 10242 posts

We are about democracy, human rights, public opinion, political behavior, civil rights and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries.

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