BIOGRAPHY: ZINA SARO-WIWA

ZINA-SAROWIWA

Zina Saro-Wiwa is a film-maker, writer and broadcast journalist. She is also the founder of AfricaLab, a multimedia company dedicated to transforming the way the world sees Africa. www.africalab.org

She has made three documentaries to date. Bossa: The New Wave, Hello Nigeria! and This Is My Africa. This Is My Africa premiered on HBO in February 2010.

Zina Saro-Wiwa was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria to Ken and Maria Saro-Wiwa. Her late father, the author and poet Ken Saro-Wiwa, became a well-known Nigerianenvironmental and human rights activist. He was executed in 1995 by the military regime in Nigeria when she was 19.

She was raised in Surrey and Sussex spending summers in Nigeria. Zina began her career in the media at the age of 16 when she wrote her first article for The Sunday Times newspaper. She has since spent the majority of her career working as a freelance researcher, producer and presenter on BBC TV and radio.

Between 2004 and 2008 Zina was a TV presenter for the BBC's arts programme The Culture Show. On the show she reported on a wide variety of topics and interviewed, amongst others: the late Robert Altman, Jude Law, John Grisham, Kate Winslet, Rowan Atkinson, Cameron Mackintosh, Banksy, Dawn French, Russell Brand, The Pet Shop Boys, Gwen Stefani, John Barry, celebrated tenor Juan Diego Florez, concert pianist Lang Lang, as well as all the editors of the UK's broadsheet newspapers.

Beyond the BBC, Zina has always been involved in the arts. She has had two short stories published, has written a major essay about Nollywood for artist and photographer Pieter Hugo's monograph on Nollywood, has acted as an advisor for the British Council and a judge for the Africa In Motion Film Festival short film competition. Zina is a music-lover and a singer songwriter (in her own right and in her spare time).

Her favourite African music is 80s Afro-synth, Fela Kuti, Hugh Masakela and Bheki Mseleku. She loves cooking African food. Particularly dishes from Nigeria, Senegal and North Africa.

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