More on My South African Trip.

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Well, apart from seeing South Africa, I met a lot of interesting Nigerians and Non- Nigerians. Let me tell you about some of them.

Pastor James Wuye (the guy in a blue and brown babariga): This guy works with Imam Ashafa on inter-religious conflict resolution. James had lost his right hand in an attack on Christians and this spurred him on to join a Christian militia group who attack rival Muslim militants, one of which was Imam Ashafa. I bet everyone knows about the Zango Kataf riots where hundreds of Christians were killed, well a lot of Muslims were also attacked in retaliation and Imam Ashafa lost his brother and mentor. Needless to say these men both had an intense hatred for each other.

Miraculously, they have been able to put the need for vengeance behind them and are now channelling their passions positively. Pastor James confessed that it took time for him to trust Imam Ashafa and on numerous occasions, he thought about suffocating him while he was asleep.

Pastor James has been accused by some of his brethren as having backslid and there is a fatwa on Iman Ashafa’s head as some of his own brethren believe he has sold out. Today, they travel together preaching peace and dialogue.

Iheoma Obibi: She runs Alliances for Africa. This woman is a feminist to the core, she thought I was crazy when I told her I married at 23. “What on earth where you thinking!” lol. She is a true embodiment of a strong African woman who is not afraid to speak her mind. She is happily married and living proof that you can still have a strong marriage and stand up for what you believe in. Iheoma is outspoken and a gifted writer and I learnt a lot from her within a few days.

Now I can’t talk about her without mentioning the vivacious Lesley Agams: She is Ashoka’s (An International Donor Agency) Country Director. Also a feminist; she spent her early years raising her two sons, and later worked with women and children involved in rape and violent crimes, before her present appointment.

Isaac Durojaiye “Mr Shit”: MD of DMT Mobile Toilets. Funny guy he is the largest manufacturer of mobile toilets in West Africa. This former bodyguard is making sure that every public school in Lagos has adequate toilet facilities.

Mama Veronica: This elderly South African lady has been in the forefront of creating awareness of the HIV pandemic in Africa. With a lot of persistence and determination she started home care services for people affected by the virus. Her model has now been replicated all over South Africa and the world. She now works with a white South African man and through him is passing on her ideas to the next generation, remarkable woman.

Agatha Chukwueke-Nnaji: Pleasant and quite charming. She has an NGO in Nigeria where she trains and equips house-helps for life after service. She started it after seeing how some domestic helps receive so much abuse from their employers and when they are sacked after years of service, a lot of these girls and boys have no skills to survive life after “Oga and Madam”. So she teaches them skills that will enable them work in the hospitality sector.

Baart “the rat man”: This man from Holland has made Tanzania his home. He has trained rats to detect landmines in war ravaged areas and detect early signs of cancer. Please don’t ask me how.

The list goes on and on. It was fun to rub minds with ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things.

Back at home, I sent Lois home a month ago and I think I did the right thing. We are all happier and more comfortable with this new nanny. Nonso however, does ask about her and says stuff like “oh I will show this picture to Lois when she comes back”… I know he misses her.

Yesterday, the new girl begged me to bring Lois back. Why? Well for one, she wants company and secondly Lois’ dad just died a few days ago. Very sad because he was a good man and was the only reason I had considered not sending Lois home. He lived opposite us in the village and was always willing to help whenever we came home. Very hardworking and good mannered. How did he die? Well, there’s an expressway was just constructed near my village and it’s been killing lots of people from my town as cars drive too fast and the villagers cross a bit carelessly (not being used to cars driving that fast). It’s so sad how something intended to bring development to a community has brought so much pain. My his soul Rest in Peace and May God bring succour to his family.

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17 Comments

  1. The Imam and the pastor are inspiring. So sad about Lois’ father- you’re so right about good things with unintended bad consequences- did any body consider this before building the expressway?

  2. may lois’s dad rest in perfect peace.. condolences to his family and everybody who ever loved him.. glad to know you had fun in south africa.. i think i’m gonna go there in 2010 for the world cup for sure… can’t wait… have a great week big sis

  3. Wow. So sad to hear about the accidents killing people. Someone needs to educate the people oh. Nice post I love love to see/hear about strong successful black women. They all sound like interesting people.

  4. @inmh- thanks dear, very sad news indeed, putting bumps will be agood idea but who listens to the people. Our rep are so inaccessible its sad, hopefully something will be done about the road soon.
    @uknaija-they truly are..dont mind our govt they build road without the masses in mind..if they had been thinking well they would have been a pedestrian bridge.
    @onb- hey girl good to hear from you, lois’s dad will really be missed at home.may his soul rest in peace
    @nanya and dg..ttyl

  5. I thought you went to SA on holiday.. . what is with all these ‘intense’ people you met? Glad you enjoyed yourself. How terrible about Lois dad. I feel so bad. Thank God she had a chance to spend time with him before he died. It is sad that Nonso misses her but he will get over it and besides she is not out of your life for good, continue to support her as best you can and you will see her whenever you go back home.

  6. Welcome back..good to see you had fun.
    The Iman and Pastor is inspriring as someone already said, it’s good for religious tolerance, but it beggers the question of faith and salvation?

    Religion is one thing “Relationship” is what matters.

  7. Yeah, they should put up a few bumps on the road to discourage overspeeding… so sorry about Lois’ dad, May his soul rest in peace… It’s nice to know you had a blast in SA… take care girl…

  8. Been once to J’burg and didnt stay for more than 2 weeks. It was a school sponsored program and didnt really have time to visit the rurals. But you can just sense it in the air. Its right their, uptill now, the racism is very much evident, though its been done subtly.

    I remember when we were supposed to lodge into our hotel and they told us we cannot lodge there cos of some new rules which they werent telling us. It turned out that 99% of lodgers there are whites. Unfortunately for them, we knew some important peeps in town. A fone call to Jay, a director with the SA Central Bank had them apologizing and treating us like celebrities throughout our stay.

    I’m not so keen on going back, though.

  9. Babes, how is oga. Please give him my regards. My dear the magun story freaked me out and made me laugh all day. Glad to hear that you got rid of the nanny, abi it’s her you speak off in the blog. Otherwise, will send you an PM later.

  10. Chioma,
    I could have sworn I left a comment on this post some days ago. What happened to it?!??!?!?!

    May Lois father’s soul rest in peace. But the peace of your household and your kids is paramount so its better lois stays where she is.

  11. It’s so good reading your post again. Seems you had a nice time in SA and I’m glad you stuck to your guns concerning the nanny thing. Sorry to hear about her father, it just goes to show you never know, you just never know.

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