Jonathan Uchechukwu Okafor is fondly called uche or Joe, by friends and relatives. He was born into the christian family of Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Nwankwo Okafor on the 15th of September, 1979, in Harper city, Maryland county of Liberia.
He hails from Nimo in Anambra State of Nigeria. He is the second son ofÂ three sons and the fourth child of seven children. This unique stud whose mother is a Liberian and father Nigerian grew to be one of the most loved in his entire extensive family.
Jonathan was educated in Enugu, one of the prominent cities in south-eastern Nigeria. He attended WTC Primary School and St Michael’s Model Comprehensive Secondary, Nimo, where he did his junior high school, and then completed at The College of the Immaculate Conception(CIC), Enugu. He furthered his higher learning at the Institute of Manangement and Technology in Enugu, where he studied banking & finance. He briefly studied in the University of Abuja also where he was hoping to obtain a BSC in Economics.
Jonathan’s most profound childhoodÂ passion which had been to become a soldier came to past when he succeeded in joining the Nigerian Army after his studies in IMT in 2001. He went to the Nigerian Military Training school in Zaria and passed out as an infantry soldier. He was posted to Abuja where he served under the presidency as a Brigade of Guards personel althrough his career as a military personel. In the end of 2006, he resigned when the idea to further his studies abroad emerged. He equally wanted to concentrate more on his writing career, as the army was no fit place for that, even though several of his books were written while he was a soldier, including part of the now published and released ‘Agony of a Child’.
Jonathan is presently residing and studying in Finland.
Jonathan’s writing career
Jonathan’s writing career is not overwhelming to those who knew him while he was growing as a child. He started writing as long as he could read, write and spell. He was a very good reader and writer. He had written impressive letters, narrative essays and commendable articles that fascinated those who cared to read them. While in high school he wrote a number short stories, poems and short plays that were legible for competitions. He was a one time participant for BBC Radio Playwright Competition. He has gained the passion of Flora Nwapa, a prolific African novelist, whom he considers one of his idols in the literary world.
As the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire; as a lot of people might begin to wonder where the upcoming writer drew his writing talent from. Jonathan has always attributed his writing talent to his father, Mr. Vincent Okafor, a retired civil servant who worked in the Department of National civic registration under the Ministry of Internal Affairs as the State Co-ordinator of Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi State. Mr. Okafor whoÂ was educated in Liberia intended studying journalism due to his passion for writing and communication, but later derailed his intention and ended up a graduate of economics.
Jonathan’s good English skills is as a result of the fact that he grew in an English speaking family, and he liked reading a lot of English books right from his childhood. His father was also conscious of his children’s spoken English that he was often found correcting any mistakes they made. He conducted extra moral lessons for them on English language while they were still in elementary and high schools. ‘He wanted us to be very good in English language, as it is a widely spoken language in the world, including Nigeria where it is officially spoken,’ says Jonathan.
Jonathan’s writing career began as a hobby. During his elementary and high school days, he was always found writing narrative essays and short stories. When his fellow students went out for break during school hours, Jonathan would remain in the classroom, fully engrossed in his write ups. His classmates always made jest of him, in a friendly and positive way though.They called him names such as Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Sydney Sheldon etc. He picked no offence in these ridicles and jokes. Rather he saw them as words of oncouragement and source of strength.
His first prose of 150 pages, titled ‘Beyond pardon’ was written at the age of seventeen. Afterwards, he paused for a while to focus more on his academics, and at twenty-one he started writing his second novel titled, Agony of a Child, followed by Season of Tears, Harbinger of Pain, Genevieve, Blood on My Hands, Scars of Womanhood and many others. He has written a total of sixteen books, which are being published and released subsequently. ‘Agony of a Child’ and ‘Season of Tears’ are his first published and released novels. Both books were published in 2008, in New York and London by Raider Publishing International. They shall be translated into several languages for the benefit of the non-English speakers.
Jonathan is also a spectacular playwright and poet. He has written a number of plays and an anthopology containing a collection of poetry.
He is anxiously looking forward to releasing his next novels; Harbinger of Pain and Scars of Womanhood.
Jonathan is a riotuously assiduous person by combining his accademic, occupational and writing career. But it is something he is used to, as he has successfully been able toÂ cope with these three seperate entities and still allows himself occasional breaks for relaxation. At his leisure time, he likes cycling, taking a walk, jogging, running and working out. He is a fitness fanatic who belives so much in the physical wellbeing of an individual. As regard sport, his hobbies are football and volleyball. Moreover, he likes reading, interacting with friends and relatives, attending social gatherings, listening to news, watching movies and tv programmes such as documentaries on scientific evolutions, soap operas and sitcoms. His favourite tv series is ‘Keeping Up Appearances’, a popular Britsh sitcom which features his most adored western actress, Patricia Routledge.
Jonathan’s idols in the writing hemisphere are Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Zaynab Alkali, Flora Nwapa, Dilibe Onyeama, Abubakar Gimba, Camera Laye, Christopher Okigbo amongst others. Among the westren writers, he adolises Sydney Sheldon, Barbara Taylor and John Grisham.
His favourites novels include Arrow of GodÂ and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Stillborn by Zaynab Alkali, African Child by Camara Laye, This Is Our Chance by Flora Nwapa,The Concubine by Elechi Amadi, If Tomorrow Comes, The Sands of Time and Windmills of The Gods by Sidney Sheldon, Woman of Substance and To Be The Best by Barbara Taylor, The Partner by John Grisham.
Jonathan professes that these authors and their mentioned works are a great part of his source of writing inspiration.
Jonathan’s works are basically centred on social vices whichÂ are geard towards behavioural and societal renaissance; very educational, inspirational, yet entertaining. His target audience are all categories, people from all walks of life, as his subjects affect both old and young.Â
Having carved a path for himself into the writing world as a novelist, poet and playwright, the enthusiastic writer has a great flare for writing screen play and acting. He has marked both as his next venture. He had attended a number of auditions for Nollywood movies, but lacked the time and focus to cultivate seriousness into acting due to other pressing commitments. Nonetheless, the passionÂ for becoming an actor remains ceaseless. He has written a couple of screenplays which he is yet to develope forÂ production purpose.Â Â
Jonathan’s philanthropy and Vision
Apart from his dream of becoming one of the world’s prolific writers, the young dark-skinned writer has actively been involved in some humanitarian/charitable activities. He is an executive member of ….., a new founded non-profit organisation in Nigeria, whose fundamental objectives are centralised on youth reproductive health. He has been actively involved in seminars on children, HIV and AIDS and other related matters. He is a registeredÂ member of unicef in Finland for fund raising to supportÂ the less advantaged children in the developing world. He is also a memember of the Nigerian Red cross Society.
Jonathan’s profound passion for childrenÂ has channelled hisÂ main vision towards them. His book ‘Agony of a Child’ was painstakingly written for the sole benefit of the less priveledged children, and two-third of the proceedsÂ is alloted to them via unicef. In future he hopes to build a rehabilitation centre for them, including schools. His countries of main focus are Liberia and Sierreleone, considering theÂ present situations of theÂ children in these societies. He also plans to introduce aÂ radio programme called, ‘children’s pannel’ and a television talk show which will revolve around the less advantaged children and youths. The essence is to haul the interest of the society to the need forÂ child rehabilitation and youth development.