Nollywood-trained Stanley Aguzie is a man of many talents
2018-07-15 13:43:27 -


By Laurel B Lujan


When he first came to Ireland in 2015, Stanley Aguzie asked himself, ‘Where do I go from here?’


The young Nigerian had already made something of a name back home, with roles in several Nollywood television shows such as Tinsel and Emerald, since making his debut in 2005. But after joining his family in Ireland, he knew he would be starting over with a clean slate.


“I then said [to myself], ‘Don’t worry, keep going, something is going to happen.’”


Indeed, somethig did happen very soon after Aguzie began auditions for roles in Ireland, when he had the opportunity to take part in History’s long-running hit drama Vikings. Following that was a role in AMC series Into the Badlands, as a guard of one of the show’s ruling ‘barons’.


It’s a long way from his childhood in southern Nigeria, first in Imo State and later in neighbouring Delta State in Warri.


“[My hometown Ibiasoegbe is small] but is full of great people, and they really gave me life,” Aguzie says. “I’m really proud to be from there. I grew up in one of the funniest places in the world — [where] most African comedians live in Delta State.”


As an actor, writer and entrepreneur, Aguzie does not sell himself short. But when asked to describe himself, he remains humble. “My lifestyle is just easy going, I love to enjoy myself, to laugh and to have fun, I’m an outgoing person,” he says. “I love fashion as well … I just love being me, I love being real.


“I don’t know how to pretend, and I have a problem with not knowing how to say things in mind. I just say everything and just feel free. I am a free mind, I should say, and a very free person who enjoys humans and humour.”


Aguzie emphasises that he has always done his own thing, but always prompted by his wish to see life being fair to others. “I’ve always wanted to be an activist: I speak for people… I was the only one to speak up [for students and others at school] so the principal would believe me because he saw me as a genuine person,” he says.


His peers called him ‘Barrister’ because he stood up for others as a child, including when he felt teachers weren’t being fair to other students.

Positive Difference


Even today, Aguzie is pleased by being able to make a positive difference in others’ lives, which encouraged him to formalise a campaign to support victims of sexual abuse in childhood.


“I was living in an environment where kids are regularly abused by aunties, uncles, relatives and nothing is done about it,” he says. “I want to keep talking about it because people who commit this offence should be arrested and sent to jail.


“I’m surprised with police in Nigeria where they arrest someone [on a rape charge who proceed to] pay for bail and then allow them to go home. What happens to the child?”


Aguzie says he was a victim himself, sexually abused by a housemaid at five years old, and that such abuse remains prevalent throughout Africa – and also in Ireland, based on his own research. He says he is driven to make people aware of this by writing and producing short films on YouTube about sexual abuse from the children’s perspective. “If you don’t learn history,” he says, “it will repeat itself.”


As for how his general experience has been since moving to Ireland, Aguzie says racism has not been an issue in the workplace. “I wouldn’t say [I’ve experienced racism] as an actor because if the script needs a black actor, the script needs a black actor. If you are white you can’t be black, and if a script needs a white actor, it needs a white actor.”


Outside of work has been another story; Aguzie says he has been called names by strangers on the bus or on the street, but he does not let such incidents ruin his day.


Besides his acting career and campaigning efforts, Aguzie is currently studying for a degree in digital technology and design at the Dublin Institute of Technology, following his diploma in digital marketing earned last year. It’s all about developing his full potential, he says.


“My own advice for anyone that has talent or any type of skills - the first thing when you come to Ireland, you need to embrace the culture, love the people, feel welcomed.


“Anyone who has any skills when you go to Ireland embrace the culture go into your craft and take workshops to get better at your talents.”

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