Anne Ekwueme is the charming lady behind House of Zibah, a bespoke and pret a porter designer who is fast carving a niche for herself amongst fashion lovers in the FCT. She also has a passion for mentoring young children with a focus of staying pure. Let’s get up close and personal with Anne.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am Anne Ekwueme, Married to Uchenna Ekwueme and we are blessed with 4 amazing children. I was born in Kaduna, I grew up there and went to Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. So pretty much, I was brought up in the place we fondly call KD. Educationally I hold a postgraduate diploma in Business management and currently pursuing the International Masters in Business Administration. I am a member of the Association of Project Managers in the United Kingdom,The APM Group. I also hold a diploma in ministry from Rhema Bible Training Center Nigeria, with specialization in Societal leadership, as well as a certificate in Entrepreneurial management from Lagos Business School. In fashion training I learnt the fundamentals of the Fashion & Designing Industry from The Fashion Academy in Abuja, Nigeria, as well as from London College of Fashion in the areas of fashion styling.
A lot of your training seems to focus on entrepreneurship did you always know you would be an entrepreneur?
Yes I have always known as I have always enjoyed trading. I started making clothes and selling way back in my University days. I remember I got a loan of N10,000 from my mum to start and with that I would make the clothes in Kaduna and take them to Lagos to sell, so business has always been part of me.
A few of Zibah’s designs
Before Zibah you had this restaurant with amazing Bole and fish and I know you still cater for some events. Any plans to reopen Zoeys
The restaurant is closed for now, but yes I have plans of reopening. At the moment we still have the outdoor catering part, that is still functioning at full capacity and we have catered for a lot of parties and weddings over the years. Also people still order Port-Harcourt style Bole and fish from us for their events and we are happy to cater for the entire event.
Zoey’s Bole and Fish
Apart from your business you host teens under the umbrella of Purity Rocks? Tell us about this amazing ministry ?
Its actually Purity sorority, “Purity Rocks” is our slogan. However, because boys are beginning to be involved, we will just stick to the name “Purity Rocks because that’s not gender sensitive. Purity Sorority started in 2014, after I graduated from Rhema Bible training center. I began to see the need of our children in this area of sexual purity and healthy God centered sexual values. I also realized that, growing up, a lot of people like myself and my peers never really had proper sex education based on God’s standards. The best we probably heard was ” If you have sex you will get pregnant” and so once one devised a way of not getting pregnant, then what? Or we knew you could get sexually transmitted diseases but of course we also knew that there are ways around these things, so that knowledge was not enough to keep people chaste.
So after my training at Rhema through the leading of the Holy Spirit, I began mentoring teenage girls and teaching them what the Word of God says about them and their bodies and God’s expectation of them in this area. We have retreats for just girls where we go away for 3 days, and then, 2nd January of every year, we have a bigger event where the sorority brothers also attend as well. At this years event we had over a hundred teens, and about 33 of them accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and some of them re-dedicated their lives to God. Trust me, of all the things I have done there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing young souls saved and impacted for their future.
How easy is it to sell purity to this generation that seems to think “purity” is an idea for the old days.
To be honest, it’s not so easy because our children are up against so much right now. The Media is very strategic in its approach in selling the lie of casual sex to the world, this isn’t just with youths alone. Even adults are in this same identity crisis mess, but there’s a difference between giving a person a moral lesson versus THE WORD OF LIFE.
Each time we have a meeting, or I go to a school to minister, I totally rely on the Holy Spirit to do what he knows how to do best and He doesn’t let me down. At these opportunities God has given me the tongue of the learned to speak a word in season to him who is weary and my responsibility is to sow the seed, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Whenever we meet with the teens, with the help of the Holy Spirit we let them see satan’s big fat lies for what they are.
His favorite lies relate to our sexuality because of its powerful symbolism. The meaning of sex is so far beyond the pitiful meaning this world offers.We can compare his lies to the way he lied to Eve about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God tells us that everything in the garden of Eden was created by God’s own hand. It also tells us that God is incapable of making anything that is not good. So, it is very possible that the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil would have had quite an interesting and noble purpose had Eve simply waited for God to reveal it to her in his time. Sex is like that, It is such a good and wonderful thing that God has created if we wait for God’s timing to enjoy.
One of the lies the enemy sells is “everyone is doing it so you might as well” but not every one I doing it. There is a remnant!He tells you, “you don’t don’t have to have actual intercourse, You can kiss, sext, send nude pics, take photos half naked and post on Snapchat & Instagram” .He tells you it’s “ok to watch pornography, after all you are not doing it with anyone” and the list of lies goes on. At Purity Sorority we try by the help of the Holy Spirit to go to the root of this problem and address it.The reason being that a lot of the immorality we see are symptoms of deeper issues.
At a Purity Sorority Event
So what advice do you have for young people who are confused by the lure and pull of immorality…How can they stay chaste?
The only way to stay chaste is to find the only one in whom purity originates, and that is God through his son Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ freely and wilfully gives the grace, power and ability to live a life of purity to those who desire it and ask for it.
Amazing! It sounds like a wonderful ministry and I hope more young people begin to know who they are in Christ and embrace purity.
Another area where you excel is keeping yourself fit and trim. Tell us about the “keto” products you stock, are they affordable ?
I have always liked being slim. And as I grew older, I realized that it’s our responsibility to tend the body that God has given us. I keep trim by healthy eating mostly, because I haven’t really been faithful with the gym in the last 12 months.
I discovered the keto lifestyle in April of 2016 and I will say it’s one of the easiest ways to shed the excess weight. The keto lifestyle as I choose to call it, rather than a diet is not as restrictive as other diets or lifestyles if properly done. The benefits of keto ranges from reversing diabetes, reducing blood pressure, clearer skin, suppleness of the skin and increased libido. There is a difference between the protein diet & the keto lifestyle. Keto is low carb, Protein in moderation and high fat. Keto products are not particularly cheap because of the cost of importation. But you can make keto as cheap and as expensive as you want it. Keto really focuses on natural and home made meals.
Lady Anne! You are a woman of many parts. Wife, Mum, Minister. Designer and caterer ! How do you juggle all these roles?
I am not going to pretend to always have the right balance. But, the 1st 10 years of marriage, was dedicated to raising the children, not like they are completely grown now, but my youngest is 7 years. The stage where the children are now, frees me up a bit to engage other things, but all the credit goes to my very supportive husband. He is the reason I am able to all that I do.
How do you relax?
Chiomah to be honest, I am not sure how or if I relax at all, (laughs) but when I am tired I just sleep.
Lastly, I know your hubby is very supportive of your businesses was it always like this?
Yes yes and yes! Chiomah, my hubby is a blessing from God. He calls me Nkechinyere, which means “The one who God gave” and that is exactly what he is to me. From the 1st day we met, all he has done is bless me. He constantly speaks prophetically over me where he perceives the Lord is taking me too, and going to do with me. He believes in me so much, that it’s scary. He is my biggest fan and has taught me so much over the years.
That’s awesome, its always great when your husband supports and encourages your dreams. It has been lovely talking to you Anne…all the best with all you do.