They are one of the most derided professionals in the cyberspace. Introduce yourself as a motivational speaker and you’ll probably hear a wave of giggles or sniggers. The prevalent notion is that motivational speakers are frauds. Sweet-mouth con artists who have mastered the art of creating rhymes out of a slew of words. They are all about bourgeoisie suits and impeccable grammar. Tools they employ to bamboozle their gullible audience with their gospel of ‘aspire to perspire’. As a result, it has become not just unfashionable, but also embarrassing to be called a motivational speaker.
I had a friend who thought I was a genius. Each time we were in a gathering and there was some knotty issue or a word everyone was struggling to understand, he would turn to me and announce that Lolade would have the answer. When it came to words, he saw me as a walking dictionary. I warned him that he would one day embarrass the both of us when I came up blank after one of his random “Lolade would know it” episodes. Thankfully, that never happened. But it could have because my friend couldn’t have been more wrong.
Anyone who spends a considerable amount of time on TV is likely to have fans. Admirers who appreciate and follow their work. Artistes, Presenters, and Actors all have fans who cheer them when they are doing well and lend support to them by way of patronising their work. And fans are quite powerful. By their sheer numbers, they possess the influence to determine how their subject of adoration is perceived. Popular people know this, and that’s why they never fail to acknowledge the crucial role their fans play on their journey to sustained stardom.
Bretha was dad’s colleagues’ daughter. She was 23 years old. A white blonde with the most charming smile my ten-year-old self had ever seen. It was the first time she and her dad were visiting Nigeria, and indeed the African continent. Before then, dad had told us how Bretha’s dad presumed Africa was a place where people still lived in huts with thatched roofs, where there were no tarred roads, and monkey swung on trees. Dad hadn’t tried to convince him otherwise. Instead, he had fuelled his anxiety as the time he would be coming drew closer by telling him we also ate worms straight from a baby’s buttocks.