" ITREALMS: Olajumoke Orisagun: From slum to fame

Friday, March 11, 2016

Olajumoke Orisagun: From slum to fame

Like many Nigerians, I felt elated about the story of Olajumoke Orisagun, the bread-seller turned model and since then, it has been all about her. Olajumoke was unknown on the streets of Lagos hawking bread. She was a trained stylist, got married and had to leave her family in Iree, Osun State, to "hustle" as it were in Lagos.

The life of a bread seller in Lagos is easily imaginable: exposure to the elements, sundry abuse, including the possibility of being defiled by unruly artisans, who will offer to buy bread and something else along with it, if the hawker is willing.

Photographer TY Bello was in the process of a photo shoot with British-Nigerian, Tinie Tempah in the street of Lagos when Olajumoke mistakenly stepped into the shoot. Her life has changed since then. She has been enrolled as a model. Her story has appeared in all newspapers, on CNN, Huffington Post and virtually everywhere online.

Two companies: Stanbic IBTC and PayPorte have made her their brand ambassadors. The former even awarded her two daughters scholarship up to university level. Olajumoke is a student of Poise Finishing School, an intern with two beauty salons.

Also, a construction company has given her a luxury apartment in Lagos, from hawking Agege bread, she has become the darling of corporate Nigeria, the poster lady for corporate social responsibility and a role model. She had probably never seen the inside of an aircraft, that is now history.

Call it an unexpected, unplanned and unprepared rise to fame and you won't be wrong. A friend just asked me, if one must hawk Agege bread, so as to encounter TY Bello or rise to stardom? Be the judge. Do you even know that bread sellers in the country see themselves as potential Olajumokes. 

Let me say here that, Nigerians know what suffering is all about. We are hard-working, resilient people but the conditions are not just right. Hence, most people resign to fate in frustration waiting for a miracle or an element of luck just like the Olajumoke story.

Call Olajumoke "waka-pass" who became a superstar if you like. Most of those posing for photos with Olajumoke would never have noticed her presence before now. A school of thought believes that there is nothing in Olajumoke's background or exposure that has prepared her for the moment she is savouring. Another believes that, her skills in bread selling and stylist cannot take her that far.

Also, there is this thought that after the reggae is over, she then competes for job and attention.

Olajumoke is now learning to speak English Language, but her husband is a humble, sliding door installer who probably speaks only Yoruba, and might not be fluent in speaking English Language. 

Considering our kind of society, and cultural background of the parties involved, I hope the families won't start to do psycho-analysis about Olajumoke?

In all,I wish Olajumoke Orisagun the best in her new found lease of life.

*Chris Uruakpa contributed this from Lagos. 
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