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The Faith of a Child: The Autobiography of Patti Boulaye

Saturday 9 April 2016

1 Hour


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International singing star and actress Patti Boulaye talks about her life and her new book, The Faith of a Child: The Autobiography of Patti Boulaye, which recounts her childhood in Nigeria during the Biafra War.

Boulaye was born Patricia Ngozi Ebigwei into a strict Catholic family in Nigeria. She survived the Biafra War and set off for the United Kingdom at 16 to become a nun. During a sightseeing trip, she stood in a queue for what she thought was Madame Tussauds but turned out to be for an audition for the original West End production of Hair. She won a part, launching a singing and acting career that has seen her appear in several West End musicals, win the ITV talent show New Faces, appear in the biggest grossing African film ever, Bisi, Daughter of the River, and release nine albums and 25 singles. She was one of the leading black British entertainers of the 1970s and 1980s and had her own show on Channel 4.

Today, much of Boulaye’s focus is on charity work, in particular the charity she founded, Support for Africa. It has built five clinics in rural Africa and a school with Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale, in Lesotho. She regularly performs in and directs major sell-out concerts for her charity at the Royal Albert Hall featuring acts such as Cliff Richard and Boney M. Boulaye was awarded an OBE last year for her charity work. She has recently been seen on the BBC 2 series, The Real Marigiold Hotel, where she was part of an all-star cast that included Miriam Margoyles, Wayne Sleep and Jan Leeming taken to India for three weeks to see if they would consider retiring there. Here she talks to writer and journalist Paul Blezard.

Programme of African literature and culture.