Onyeka Onwenua Nigerian singer, songwriter, actress, journalist, politician, and X Factor series judge was born 29 January 1952.
Onwenu hails from Arondizuogu, a small town in Ideato North, Imo State and was raised in Port Harcourt.
She is the youngest daughter of the Nigerian educationist and politician D.K Onwenu. Dubbed the “Elegant Stallion” by the Nigerian press who died in an autocrash when she was only four years old.
Onwenu is a former chairperson of the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture, and currently the Executive Director/chief executive officer of the National Centre for Women Development.
She possess a BA in International Relations and Communication from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, and an MA in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research, New York.
Her music career began in 1981, and her first album came out in 1982. There have been about five more albums after that.
Originally a secular artist, Onwenu made the transition to gospel music in the 90s, and most of her songs are self-penned. She continues to write and sing about issues such as health (HIV/AIDS), peace and mutual coexistence, respect for women rights, and the plight of children.
Onwenu’s first album with Polygram, In The Morning Light, was released in 1984. Recorded in London, it featured the track “Masterplan” written by close friend Tyna Onwudiwe who had previously contributed to Onwenu’s BBC documentary and subsequently sang back-up vocals on the album.
Onwenu’s final release on Polygram was dedicated to Winnie Mandela, the subject of a song of the same name which Onwenu performed live when Nelson Mandela and his wife visited Nigeria in 1990 following his release from prison.
She’s respected as a living legend. She was nicknamed the The Elegant Stallion by the media, and the alias has stuck till date.
Onyeka Onwenu is also a proficient actress, having actively partaken in a number of movies alongside top local acts. She won an award at the 2006 African Movie Academy Award as Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Under the umbrella of PDP, the veteran has contested twice to be Chairman of the Local Government she hails from, Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo state. She lost at both attempts.
The songstress was once the Chairperson of Imo State Council for Arts and Culture, appointed by former governor Ikedi Ohakim. She was also a board member of NTA.
In 1988, she teamed up with King Sunny Ade in a track titled “Mada wolohun” (Let Them Say). After the very positive response the song got, and in acquiescence to fans’ demand for more, she and the master of juju music did two more songs – “Wait for Me” and “Choices.”