Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)
AFTER about two decades of shutdown, the popular jazz club, Jazzville, on Majoro Street, Onike Yaba, Lagos, last Thursday, came alive as it hosted some members of the art community.
The gathering, which had in attendance artistes such as Nigerian-German musician and founder, Afropolitan Vibes, Ade Bantu, Afro-fusion performing artist, Seun Olota, culture activist and art promoter, Pascal Ott, Tony Martins and some art writers, was at the instance of former administrator, Down Syndrome Foundation (DSF), Mr. Muyiwa Majekodunmi.
It was a moment of nostalgia for the artistes who recalled their past experiences at the club when it was one of the famous hotspots in Lagos.
Mission was the unveiling of Down2Music Foundation, a new initiative by Majek, aimed at encouraging and promoting inclusion in music, allied arts and society at large for young adults living with Down Syndrome and similar intellectual disabilities. The unveiling was a precursor to the World Down Syndrome Day 2020 on March 21.
Down2Music Foundation is the brain child of Majekodunmi, a parent with a talented 32- year-old son fondly called Olumakinwa Majekodunmi, also known as BJ who is living with Down Syndrome and loves music with a passion. BJ presently plays percussions professionally with several bands on the local entertainment scene.
Majekodunmi, who glorified God for giving him the idea of the initiative on January 20 this year, said the foundation was set up because of his son BJ and other young adults who love music.
“To encourage, promote children like BJ. I’m trying to get you involved and beyond that we intend to collaborate with other institutions and get them to attend the programmes, it’s about inclusion. The society has put them as a back burden, they have a lot to offer that’s why your here has a supporter this is very deliberate,” he added.
He recalled that for the last eight months or 10 months when he left Down Syndrome Foundation, he never knew where he was going until January20, saying it wasn’t by his power nor his might to come up with the initiative. “For the last 14 months, I have been bowing down and it hasn’t been easy. He would fulfill the desires of those that fear him and he would hear their cry and save them. I have been saved I’m not ashamed to admit it. He preserves all those that love him and all the wicked he would destroy. My mouth shall speak of his holy name and all flesh shall bless his name for ever and ever,” he said extolling the power of God.
He enjoined the art writers to join in the advocacy, noting that ‘’,’I can’t do it alone. You are the voices of the voiceless. BJ can talk thank God but he is limited. There are many of them who are not verbal, so we have to be their advocate. This is just the beginning.’
Majekodunmi, who disclosed that the formal launch of the foundation will attract musical stars such as Segun Adefila and Yinka Davis said: “I would not be talking here today if not for this young man BJ Olumakinwa Majekodunmi.” The session also featured screening of a short movie titled I am X21 produced by Timothy Olawoye. The filmmaker said until he saw BJ on television, he never thought people living with Down syndrome could be useful in the society. He said from that moment, his mindset changed and he decided to produce a movie on it. “This movie has become a life changing experience for me because I was not only able to employ someone who has Down syndrome, I was able to show many other film makers in my community that people with Down syndrome can actually be actors. The film is a 26-minute film and it’s going to be out next week, I hope you enjoy it,” he added.