(Ezeugo Nnamdi with Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor during his voluntary work in Kerala in 2018 / Photo: Ezeugo)
Youth icon Ezeugo Nnamdi has not only warmly embraced Indian culture and ethos but he has also been in the forefront of promoting India-Africa brotherhood and furthering the true pluralistic spirit of Africa.
NARENDER YADAV / New Delhi
Embracing change and diversity could be the best way to learn about a country – its people and culture. However, it is only possible through tolerance, empathy and mutual respect. It becomes quite challenging in a country like India, where racial discrimination towards Africans, based on certain stereotypical notions, has shown its ugly head several times. But some remains unperturbed and Ezeugo Nnamdi is certainly a startling example of that. Like hundreds of other African students who come to India every year from various countries, to pursue higher studies, he also came to India with the same objective. However, his thoughts, activities and vision did not remain confined to the boundary of his university. Undeterred by the widespread prevalence of racism in India against Africans, Ezeugo Nnamdi not only embraced Indian culture and ethos but he has been in the forefront of promoting India-Africa brotherhood and furthering the true pluralistic spirit of Africa.
Ezeugo is currently associated with several groups and organisations working towards promoting Pan-African development and improving Asian-African relations. He served as the National University Coordinator of The Association of African Student in India (AASI) from 2016, and will remain its Secretary General till Mid 2019. He was also elected as the Secretary General of The Africa-Asia Youth Foundation (AAYFO), an international Cooperation of African and Asian youths globally for a two year term. He has recently joined as Director, African Affairs at the Indian Institute of Governance and Leadership (IIGL) in New Delhi. Talking about his new role and its benefits for African youth he said, “African students can get immense advantage through the courses offered by the Indian Institute of Governance and Leadership like various Certificate Programs, short-term courses, training, and Skill Development Modules, which are available both offline and online. Most importantly, it will inculcate a spirit of leadership and entrepreneurship among Africa youth, which can have a strong ripple effect.”
Hailing from Nigeria, and a strong believer in Pan-Africanism, Ezeugo has been active in developing trust and respect among Indian hosts and the visiting African students in India. As Secretary General of the AAYFO, Ezeugo has preached mutual cooperation between Africa and Asia Youths geared towards building a stronger network of Global South young Servant Leaders. His activism on biodiversity, preservation of the environment contributed to his being a founding member of The India-Africa Youth Energy Forum (IA-YEF) and the progressive African Youths for Change (PAY-C). He feels that through community outreach programmes and people-to-people communication, lack of understanding about Africa and African people and their culture among Indians can be improved substantially.
His quest for serving India and its people, took him to Kerala, when the state was facing its worst floods in August 2018. “It was an eye-opening journey. Though I had booked my flight tickets for Kochi, but the airport was closed due to flooding and I had to take an overnight bus from Chennai to Salem, Coimbatore and finally Kochi. People were extremely helpful and the trip gave me a wonderful opportunity to volunteer and work at the grassroots,” he shares. He also got an opportunity to meet Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor and former Kerala Chief Minster Oomen Chandy. “Kerala was almost Africa, there were so many similarities. Dhoti remains the most visible connect between Africa and South India,” he quipped.