Faces of Africa – Ozzy Agu: Around the World & Back

“I’m a young man trying to find his way in the world. I like to throw myself into things and learn as I’m going. I have a lust for life,” told the optimistic Ozzy Agu.

Ozzy is a Nigerian actor and TV host, currently presenting a lifestyle magazine show on MNET Africa called ‘53 extra’.

He was born in Texas, USA and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria during his primary school days. After his senior secondary education, he went to the US for undergraduate studies at Mercer University in Georgia.

Ozzy Agu and his siblings when they were young

After school, Ozzy started working as a teller at The Bank of America. And in just a few months, he quit.

“I couldn’t plug in. I just felt like there was more,” he explained.

Driven to serve, Ozzy enrolled into a two-year voluntary programme at the United States Peace Corps – a volunteer cross-cultural exchange program run by the United States government.

“In service you’ve made a difference, that’s what attracted me to Peace Corps. We were going to help and improve lives,” told Ozzy.

Posted in Thailand, his parents were not for the idea.

Ozzy Agu at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where he studied Drama

“I had wanted him instead of going to Thailand, to go ahead and do his masters,” told Ozo Daniel Agu, Ozzy’s father, and a retired political scientist.

In Thailand, Ozzy initiated various income generating activities and hygiene programs with the skills he had acquired from his business degree.

When his service was almost over, he went back to his drawing board and his options surrounded art. He opted to go to drama school.

“We’ve always wanted Ozzy to be a businessman. You know Igbos we hustle, read finance, read business, set up your own business,” told Ozzy’s mother and a retired banker, Elizabeth Oyibo Agu.

Ozzy, a TV host at ’53 Extra’ interviewing Kenya’s Sauti Sol, a music band

Going against his parents’ wish, Ozzy returned to the US from Thailand and studied acting at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. He faced unemployment and went back to Nigeria, where the creative arts industry was growing.

Settling back home was not a walk in the park as Ozzy had expected.

“There were a lot of things to sort of juggle and also reverse culture shock. You know coming back home and everyone seeing you as this outsider,” he said.

Always eager to serve, he volunteered for one year as a drama school teacher at the Royal Arts Academy in Lagos.

Ozzy mentoring upcoming artists in theatre, film and TV industry

Today he is a renowned mentor and has become an influential role model to upcoming artists in the theatre, film and TV industry.

Gradually rising into the line of directing, producing and mentoring, Ozzy Agu has had a momentous journey in finding and staying true to his path.