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Don’t fit in! Deconstruct from the classrooms!

00:00 / 32:48

A conversation with
David Nnanna Ikpo

Also available in

Laura María Calderón Cuevas

Véronique Lerch

Brua |



The third guest of our podcast series ‘The Road Less Traveled’ is David Nnanna Ikpo, a Nigerian lawyer, storyteller, researcher and filmmaker.  He finds all his passions quite complementary and despite the growing acceptance of intersciplinary teams, he still finds that he is stuck with assessments that are incomplete and stay in the limbo. “There is no protocol for a lawyer who is at a filmmaker and a researcher at the same time. How do you evaluate my work?”

A ‘superhero’ combining all his passions, David is finalising his PhD exploring 'a place for indigenous storytelling in Nigerian queer rights advocacy'. He also contributes to the diversity of narratives by creating a more complete and complex picture of being queer in Nigeria with his novel Fimisile Forever, a loveaway from the dominant construction of masculinity. “Being in the closet, being queer is not a dichotomy, it is a dynamic. We have secrets and it works for us.”


In his opinion, art can bring a lot to human rights.  “The most striking the most important thing art does for human rights in our world today is questioning.  Art questions the scope of it, the depth of it.”


He concludes the conversation with a piece of advice for students and alumni of human rights masters who want to use their creativity in their work: “Don’t fit in! Deconstruct from the classrooms!” He adds a wish for the universities: that the internships offered to students after those masters also include galleries or museums and that students could be co-superivsed by curators and artists.


David, who is a ‘story flirt’, reads during the podcast an extract from the book he is currently reading: Call me by your name from André Aciman as the story line resonates with his experience from boarding schools.

To know more about the work of David:


Order his novel: Fimi sile Forever: Heaven gave it to me by Nnanna Ikpo (

Read posts on his blog: 'Letters to My Africa':

Have a look at the short documentary "Possible - a day in the life of Wilson" showing how technology makes things possible for persons with visual impairment.


Demand that the inter-disciplinarity be interwoven at the level of curriculum design. Deconstruct from the books you are forced to read!

David Ikpo


Nigerian lawyer and storyteller. His debut novel Fimi sile Forever was shortlisted for the LAMBDA Literary Prize for Best Gay Fiction 2018. He is presently a communications officer at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. He is rounding off his doctoral studies exploring ‘a place for indigenous storytelling in Nigerian queer rights advocacy’. He also attends AFDA in Johannesburg where is enrolled for an Honours degree in Motion Picture Medium.
Alumnus of GC Africa
Follow him on twitter @NnannaIkpo

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