“If I can walk a mile, I can inspire other girls to walk a mile and half” – Zuriel Elise Oduwole
Africa is a continent dominated by male control, but so is every other continent in the world. Breaking the glass ceiling may no longer be a task to African women but surmounting the green top limit of ignorance still is a challenge for women in Africa. Though many women have risen to top executive position where they not only compete with their male counterpart but excel in remarkable number of ways.
The larger percentage of the girl child in Africa still fantasize of ending up in the kitchen while others foresee a future of being a full housewife, but women like Mo’Abudu, Wendy Appelbaum, Okojo Iweala and Linda Ikeji are demanding more than that from their tradition and are keen at attaining their dreams.
“we should dream, dream up and dream big.” a young seventh grade girl once advised, addressing people above her academic league, but what would have put her at the lectern that very day with her tiny little voice would have been more than distinction.
It all started to materialize to her at the age of 9, when she was given a project in school. She however said “… I attend a school….but I don’t have to go visiting the school, physically all the time. Instead, I do the school work by internet and go to school and show them what I did…” the project demanded that she travel and meet people but all she decides to do was to meet world leaders. Luckily she was granted an interview with Former President Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana and it all started from the World Press Conference, she was accredited a correspondence, amidst top world journalist present from top news agencies around the world like Reuters andAssociated Press.
In August 2013, at the age of 10 she was featured on Forbes Africa (the world prestigious magazine in Africa) breaking an historic record as the first youngest person to be featured on the magazine since inception.
On March 2015, she was listed by ELLE magazine as one of “33 women who impacted the world in 2014” when she was just 12 years old. Erstwhile, she was among the 100 most influential Africans compiled by the New African magazines.
These achievements however didn’t come cheap, on the quest of re-affirming her purpose, she made her name known to the world “…as for me, as my name Zuriel suggests, God is my foundation on which I base Zuriel Oduwole is the daughter of Ademola Oduwole, an indigene of Ogun state based in the United States of America and her mother Patricia is Jewish-American from Mauritius. One wouldn’t have expected such a gem from Nigeria owing to the educational setback present there but she was born and bred in the United States.
“I love this projects….because it makes me travel all over the world with my parents to experience different culture” Zuriel once said excited about the fact. These projects from her school however building up a career for her. Zuriel is already a renowned filmmaker having published 4 documentaries already, all cut crossing exploration of different cultures and views of world leaders about issues affecting their Zuriel Oduwole has so far interviewed 9 African current Presidents and has a clientele of world leaders like Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and even Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Zuriel had also interviewed the twin tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams.
After her interview with Aliko Dangote, Africa Richest Man, he confessed “where did you get this kind of girl from? Please, I will like to meet her again.” Zuriel however opened up on the purpose of interviewing the billionaire “I interviewed him (Dangote) because I wanted to find out how he is using his wealth to change the world and benefit the poor people.”
Zuriel is currently an Honorary Ambassador of Tanzania. A titled conferred on her by Salma Kikwete, first lady of Tanzania  in 2013. On the 50th anniversary of the African Union, Zuriel was given a special invite to attend the event which also gave her the opportunity to network other African leaders.
All these success maybe because of a decision Zuriel had made around three years ago to be the first Nigerian African Girl-Child Educational Campaigner. Being a Girl-Child Campaigner is not an easy task; it demands action and great agility to drum for support from sponsors and even the credibility and integrity to woo the media for publicity. But this she has done successfully limitless of the bulwark of African Traditions.
Zuriel is creating an opportunity by reconstructing a free flow where girls are given the same educational opportunity like a boy to go to On upholding her social cause, Zuriel had founded “Dream up, Speak up, Stand UP Initiative. This initiative is an advanced step to encourage the girl-child Education in Africa, Zuriel is driven by so many positive forces, one of her quote which she says as a chant at most of her platforms for public speaking is “We should dream, dream up and dream big, in speaking up, we should not just speak we should also take actions. In standing up, you should not just stand, stand and stand again until your dream becomes a reality.”
Zuriel is an illuminating path to all parents, her father Ademola emphasize on education and believes the one that happens at home is better than that in school, that’s why Zuriel studies at home. Zuriel’s mum Patricia also believes “….there’s need to encourage our children to be true to their vision.”
Zuriel Elise Oduwole is truly an inspiration to the Africa Girl Child who believes there is no barrier to knowledge, she dare to know, she dare to be inquisitive, she dare to be courageous and she dares to be brilliant and her legacy to every African child out there is “….if I can walk a mile, I can inspire other girls to walk a mile and half.”
Start the walk now and keep walking.