Damilare Sonoiki is the show creator of “African Time”. Among many of his credits, Damilare was formerly a writer on ABC’s Black-ish and is currently a writer on a pilot in development at TBS and another that originated at HBO, his resume seems ‘Americanish’, right? Perhaps it is the reason you should check his YouTube show “African Time” and enjoy, through comedy, his refreshing take on the journey of a Nigerian immigrant family. “African Time” is Damilare’s story, and the story of many Nigerian immigrants that bear indigenous names.
African Time tells the story of a Nigerian immigrant family and their struggle to balance the pursuit of a better life for their son, Ayodeji (Dani Dare), while wanting him to be grounded in his traditional values and Nigerian identity. When he starts school soon after his parents move, his teachers struggle to pronounce his name. His classmates, though young, have some nasty things to say to him. So he adopts Justin as the new name he would like to be called. Justin is easier, and even without a particular connection to the origin of the name, it is what he wants to be called. Ayodeji wants Justin because it is easy for people in his new environment. His father mocks this and wants none of it. Ayodeji must be Ayodeji despite what the world thinks of the name.
Ayodeji’s father is a representation of many Nigerian fathers – unbending until the mother intervenes. Ayodeji successfully changes his name to Justin but even that does not make things easy, as soon as he does this, he realizes that there is nothing better than sustaining a connection to your origin – as Damilare enlightens us through his writing; it is purely powerful to remain connected to your origin.
To buttress the purpose of having such an enlightening show on YouTube, allow us to make reference to why Uzo Aduba refuses to change her name, “In grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it. So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?” I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.” Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.
Just like Uzo, Ayodeji’s name is top on the class register. Identity plays a major role in the first episode of African Time. We should advocate for comedy to be adopted as a formula for teaching in classes, believe us, it is easy learning that way! It works all the time. Some of us are yet to travel out of Nigeria but by watching such shows that are enlightening, there is always a lot to learn.
Damilare is witty, he is smart with “African Time” and in nine minutes he compresses a lecture on the importance of identity while spicing it with comedy.
Dani Dare, the child actor employed to sustain us is what a child actor should be on screen! Totally adorable and sustaining! Dani does not struggle. He is smart, witty, and yes, adorable.
We understand work can get quite tiring and if you want the perfect video to keep you company while out on a lunch break, then “African Time” will do the trick. While we expect the show to take a new dimension in its second episode, you can have a good time learning a few things on identity.