AMAZING AFRICAN ICON: Dr. Mrs Veronica Ifechide Ufoegbune (Part 2)
AMAZING AFRICAN ICON: Dr. Mrs Veronica Ifechide Ufoegbune (Part 2)
Mutual respect is very important, active listening, compassion; human beings survive on socio-emotional stability
Part 2 of Dr. Mrs Veronica Ifechide Ufoegbune interview with iwriteafrica.com, continued from 17th May, 2023.
By Lilian Chudey Pride
iwriteafrica.com: You counsel that people should stop seeking validation on everything, desist from side talk and get busy with their hands. Do you believe in this cliché “passive income” and what is passive about passive income? Could you throw more light on “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery”?
Dr. Veronica I. Ufoegbune: Yes, the Legend, Bob Marley was so wise. The African woman knows that there is nothing like “passive income”, you have to bring yourself into what you do, so, doing what you do that brings you fulfilment and income is not passive at all but active. There is nothing passive about an idea you give your all to, you did your research, invested your time and money into it and get it out to your client. I see a great deal of intentionality here, so, it is not passive at all. When you call things passive, they are not planned for, there is nothing like side income as well, it all depends on what time of the day you are at it, and the season.
iwriteafrica.com: What are three things that keep you glued to a relationship and three things that put you off?
Dr. Veronica I. Ufoegbune: Mutual respect is very important, active listening also, compassion, these are some of the qualities that mean so much to me. When someone smiles or smile back at you, that keeps you going, but when they don’t, you will see how that mentally impacts you immediately. So, relationship is not just husband and wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, family, but those you meet on the road and on the freeway too. What puts me off are people that are disrespectful, also, when people don’t smile back. Lack of compassion, lack of hearing, these put me off. The human being survives on socio-emotional stability. When you are socially and emotionally stable, you take on everything else.
iwriteafrica.com: What are your best quotes and how have they impacted your life’s journey/career.
Dr. Veronica I. Ufoegbune: I love Nelson Mandela’s quotes, they have always blessed my life. It says: “Education is the most important weapon by which we change the world”. Another one I love a lot is: “It’s better to build strong children than to try to repair broken men”; this is what I live by and believe in, very important to me.
iwriteafrica.com: Can you name about three women in your life who have stood like pillars for you, from your formative years till now, that you think are hidden heroines who have done so much but are behind the scene?
Dr. Veronica I. Ufoegbune: Certainly, somebody that I realize that has formed who I am is my mother, Mrs Theresa Chidi Elina Nwabueze. I learnt so much from her and I grew up and realized how much I had taken from her, so, that’s one powerful woman in my life since I was born. She is very hard working, compassionate, kind, brilliant and talented. Then I’ve had the privilege of great women in my life, Dr. Cindy Acker. We together encourage and bring Nigerian women in Montessori to teach in America. Mrs. Omolara Okunubi is another woman that has impacted my life positively, a woman who is so blessed, so brilliant. Dr. Kesomi, I worked very closely with this woman, then Dr. Abike Dabiri Erewa, she is awesome, I don’t even know how she finds time to talk with me, when she has to take care of the Diaspora across America and the world actually. I love her spirit, she is very supportive. In my home town, Issele-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria, I have two women I work with on issues of women and girls, one of them is Mrs. Josephine, the Ezinne of Issele-Uku, and Prof. Josephine Mokwunye who just retired from the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. I also love Mrs. Gladys Ofili, she is a daughter of Zion, one of the women I admire.
What puts me off are people that are disrespectful, also, when people don’t smile back. Lack of compassion, lack of hearing, these put me off. The human being survives on socio-emotional stability. When you are socially and emotionally stable, you take on everything else
iwriteafrica.com: If we think of Africa in terms of culture, what significant differences are there between children raised in Africa and African children raised in America or anywhere in the diaspora?
Dr. Veronica I. Ufoegbune: This is a very interesting question. I am so proud of you for this question. The children raised in Africa, yes, I will like to mention here that our parents took pride in our culture and anything that belongs to us, they raised me with that mindset such that even living in America, I wear my native African attire, I speak the native dialect like Igbo and Yoruba; and French. I speak in such a way that awe people around me that they want to learn more. Something that shifted is that back then, parents were proud to flaunt the fact that their children know how to speak their dialect, but now we can see parents who proudly say that their children don’t know how to speak their language. I train teachers, I volunteer to teach teachers in Nigeria when I have the chance, I was able to teach a couple of classes the value in teaching the language that the school can help families learn the language, and proudly, one of the schools adopted the curriculum and they now teach in their school. I also teach it virtually, I have encouraged a lot of families in Nigeria, Britain, and America to participate in that. There is need for more and more awareness of the value of knowing who you are. I think we are starting to lose that and I am hoping to have that governmental bodies that can take on that at the national level. Nollywood is doing a great job to that effect, helping people to value who they are. I and my household speak our native language.
iwriteafrica.com: You were a one-time beauty queen, Miss UNIBEN, how has the concept of African beauty changed or evolved over the years?
Dr. Veronica I. Ufoegbune: Certainly, I remember being a campus queen and also I was invited to the State where I became Miss Ogun State and then to the Nigerian level where I was a runner up to the winner. Then I found myself in England as one of my gifts for representing, then from then till now, I am really proud of the transformation, the evolution of the Nigerian Pride. We are now so proud of who we are. A Nigerian proverb says that if you live your calabash on the ground, people will make it a trash can, but if you carry it proudly and value it, people will pay for it. So, I am so proud to see that our culture is such that people are now paying for it, we now have National TV programme here in America that is 100% Nigerian, every one you come across who is a non-Nigerian will ask you about it, even when you are in Uber (cab) they will proudly call out “Abisola”. Another prominent change that has happened is even in the Hair Salon, one stylist from Mali would turn on Nollywood, that’s all she watches. The whole world watches Nigeria’s Nollywood, so, I am so excited. Another transformation I think is worthy of note is that there were years past when almost everybody wore permed hair. Now almost everyone is getting their hair in braids even in their natural hair. Even if they have their wig on, underneath it is their natural hair. We have woken up to that awareness that we should not put that toxicity on our hair anymore. This generation is not even touching any of those chemicals in their hair. This is a thing of pride, Blacks in the world have decided that African hair is good enough the way it looks. It is women that is in the forefront of this reawakening. I love the fact that we are no longer toxifying our body, that’s a huge transformation. Another one will be to stop using chemicals to change our skin colour. We should learn to protect ourselves in the sun, we should use sun screen lotion. We have natural lotions to protect our skin from sun burn. You don’t have to go to the store to buy, make it and use it, avoid chemical additives. Don’t attribute your skin problem to witches and wizards, it is medical, so, get back to Mother Nature.
iwriteafrica.com: Wow!!! It is a privilege for me to host you here on iwriteafrica.com
Thank you so much.
Hello, I am Lilian Chudey Pride. Good to welcome you to my online world. I am a Writer, Teacher, Encourager, Author of Life Beyond Motherhood, Dignity of Womanhood and Publisher, iwriteafrica.com online Magazine. I love Africa so much and I derive joy in telling the world about her beauty and strength. I share the challenges of the childless African community, providing Support, Encouragement and Empowerment. While guiding the childless African woman to trust God, I help her to understand her peculiarity, grieve properly, heal and embrace purpose. See my book: Life Beyond Motherhood on Amazon. Welcome to Africa.