Well my name is Wana Udobang but I have become better known on the radio as WanaWana or on social media as MissWanaWana. I am a broadcaster, writer, poet, culture fanatic, vintage/ pinup obsessed lover of pretty things. I’m also an awesome cook, make killer smoothies, and I try to be a good friend, moody sometimes but all round happy bunny. I am frugal and very street smart and I posses a bad habit of impersonating people. I am super animated and as a result a friend once described me as a wind up doll who can talk you to sleep. I burst out into sporadic song and dance quite a bit and the soundtracks to my existence are ‘pink panther’ and ‘Big Spender’. I have my own choreography too.
What has been your favorite/defining moment since moving back to Nigeria ?
I have no idea. Im hit with so many interesting things daily sadly I can’t decide.
What is Nigeria to you and what does it mean to be Nigerian?
Nigeria is an engine to me. I can dream and make things happen. I also see Nigeria as an abyss of contradiction as well as an aso-ebi boutique. It beams of freedom and possibility but its easy to feel imprisoned by the uniform aesthetic. It’s that thing of you must be the same or it won’t work. Being Nigerian on the other hand is like a spirit. It’s a spirit that pushes you to be more and do more.
How did you find your voice / confidence in your decision to pursue your chosen profession / how did you know you wanted to do what you do?
My background is in Journalism and that came from a lot of personal experiences. I’ve always had a strong inkling towards exposing things and ideals of what was wrong and right though as you grow older you discover the world is infinitely more complex and there are forever shifting shades of grey.
I think who I am and what I do and want to do is constantly evolving. Primarily if I was forced to put all that I do into a box, I would say I am a story teller whether its telling stories my self or helping people tell their stories but I just work in diverse mediums. Those mediums range from radio, and short fiction to poetry and performance.
As for confidence, I think I have been very lucky to have people that believe in me even more than I believe in myself so that always gives me courage to experiment. Then my family has always been a factor. There were no expectations placed on me and I think I was incredibly lucky as a result. All they wanted was just for me to be able to get through life and take care of myself. This essentially means there is no bounty on your head to become anything other than you.You can just be.
Tell us about a significant turning point in your life.
Going to an Arts University . I had never been surrounded by that level of innovation and creativity in that sort of way and it had a huge impact on my life and altered the way I see the world. I always say my University was one of the best things that happened to me. So shout out to UCA(University for the Creative Arts)
What keeps you going?
I am very much driven by purpose. I have a strong belief that I am here for a reason and I have many things to do. I am part of this massive nucleus and I have role to play. I believe the things we do and who I am is just a vehicle to carrying out that mission
We know words are very close to your heart, If your words could change peoples attitudes on one particular issue / topic, what would it be? and what change would you wish to see.
I would like for people to be appreciative of difference and diversity. I suppose that comes from always feeling like someone who hangs on the fringes of everything so in a way it is personal. I think the common thread that connects us all is our humanity and that should come first.
We would all be so boring if we were all the same. I strongly dislike the word ‘tolerate’ because I think it means to put up with something. I much rather appreciate.
If you could go to the past and give your younger self advice what would it be?
Oh that’s easy. Don’t be too insecure, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, people will judge you anyway, just laugh, dance, cry, and relax. Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. Some things will change, some will stay the same and we will all die someday so have a bit of fun and make your time here count. Let the choices you make mean something.
Of all the places in the world to visit, where would you like to be/visit at this very moment and why?
I have always wanted to go to Cape Verde . I suppose I know very little about the place and the only thing familiar to me is Cesaria Evora’s music.
What would you rather, the front of Time magazine or forbes? Why?
I don’t know that I care too much. Recognition is great especially if it gives you and your work wider reach or enables you impact more people but I’m a bit careful with the kind of importance attached to these things so it doesn’t become a tool of validation. But honestly I will take any. I’m pretty indifferent.
Favorite hip-hop/music / song lyric?
This is hard. I really loved Common’s ‘I used to love here’ when he was still Common Sense. I love Jill Scott quite a lot and I was obsessed with the lyrics to Incubus’s ‘Wish you were here’ for a long time, I think it’s a beautiful love song. But at the moment it is Florence and the machine. Her lyrics get me.
Imagine your child is reading this 15yrs from now, say something to them
Your mum has crushes on weird dudes just thought you should knowwheels happy