Terra Academy for the Arts (TAFTA) Celebrates Graduation of Over 16,000 Young Nigerians, Equipping Them for Creative Industry Success

Terra Academy for the Arts (TAFTA), a non-profit organization focused on empowering young Nigerians through creative education and entrepreneurship opportunities, held a graduation ceremony for its cohorts 2 – 5 at Terra Kulture Arena. The ceremony celebrated over 16,000 graduates who successfully completed the program, acquiring valuable skills in theatre arts and entrepreneurship.

Founded in 2021 by Terra Kulture, Nigeria’s leading cultural center, and in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, TAFTA aims to bridge the gap in the creative industry by providing accessible and innovative training programs in creative arts. The program offers an e-learning curriculum with specialized courses in sound design, stage lighting, animation, scriptwriting, and art business and entrepreneurship.

Speaking at the event, Bolanle Austen-Peters, TAFTA’s founder, described her motivation for the creative academy’s establishment and congratulated the graduates on a well-deserved accomplishment. She said, “So many people have ideas that die in their heads. Today, I want to firstly thank the team who made this a reality. Thank you also to the 19,000 young adults who have been through our program since inception and finished successfully. Life is not going to be an easy ride, but you have to be stronger than the situation or circumstances that life presents to you. Look inwards and look at the talent you have, see how you can use it to improve yourself and the world. The world is there for you to take, so work hard and work for a better future for each and every one of us.”

Rosy Fynn, Country Director, Nigeria Programs, Mastercard Foundation also stated, “The TAFTA program stands as a shining example of our commitment to nurturing talent and fostering entrepreneurship within the creative industry, and what is particularly inspiring about this graduating cohort is the significant representation of young women among the graduates. Out of the 16,766 individuals receiving their certificates today, an impressive 9,290 are young women. This is a testament to the untapped potential and extraordinary talent that exists within our female youth population, and it underscores the bedrock of our Young Africa Works Strategy.

The exclusive gathering was well attended by eminent personalities, industry veterans, as well as up-and-coming stars who also had benefitted from mentorship under the Terra Kulture umbrella. These high-profile Nigerians included Professor Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola, Vice chancellor of University of Lagos and Joke Silva, award-winning veteran actress amongst other key players in the industry.

Delivering the keynote address, Professor Ogunsola, Vice Chancellor, UNILAG, encouraged the graduates to dream big, persevere through challenges, and continuously improve their craft. She said, “I encourage you to dream and dream big. Dream fearlessly and dream without boundaries. As you dream, have a plan but don’t let your plans be limited by your circumstances. The journey to the end is always a long one, but it is in small bits so don’t be held back by fear, especially the women.  An old man once told me, never chase money, chase excellence. That is how you become outstanding in your field. Whatever you do, give it 150%. Give it your all and give more than you have been asked. That’s how you become outstanding.”

TAFTA was launched with the mission to upskill 65,000 underserved Nigerian youths through innovative creative education and practical training strategically designed by handpicked experts in the creative industry. The initial program runs for six weeks, with an additional two-week practical workshop designed to ensure the hands-on application of the course materials.

The academy expanded its offerings in 2022 with the announcement of the opening of six physical learning centers for the benefit of students who lacked access to the internet, electricity, or compatible devices. Furthermore, the academy also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Screenwriters Guild of Nigeria (SWGN) to strengthen the support offered to students by easing the admission process into the professional guild. In November 2023, TAFTA launched its Action Learning Project (TALP) during Cohort 5 – a pivotal initiative that allows participants to undertake group or individual projects before their graduation to enhance their practical skills and foster a holistic learning experience.

Currently, TAFTA is running its 6th cohort of students following the reopening of its admissions portal. The academy has urged interested parties located in Lagos, Ogun, and Kano states to submit their application for the free program on their website, once applications are open again for the 7th cohort. Requiring only a senior secondary school qualification, the primarily e-learning-based courses will impart relevant skills needed to succeed as professionals in the creative industry.


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