“Ọ bụrụ na mmadụ amaghị nke ha, ha ga-atụfu ụzọ ndụ ha.”
This translates to: “If one does not know their own, they will lose their way in life.”
This Igbo proverb emphasizes the significance of understanding one’s own identity, values, and culture as a foundation for navigating life’s journey. It underscores the idea that a strong sense of self is essential for personal growth and fulfillment.
I was born in the ancient city of Kaduna (Northern Nigeria). To Igbo (Eastern Nigeria) parents who helped shape my African perspective in embracing diversity, civic responsibility and attitude towards work. The ancient Igbo tribe with a history spanning centuries, has played an instrumental role in shaping African narratives most especially in areas of trade and commerce. They are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Growing up, my parents ensured I was exposed to diverse people and places across various regions in Nigeria, in order to broaden my socio-cultural perspective. This experience has been instrumental in contributing to the success early in my career especially in the area of leading diverse teams at various work locations in Nigeria and Africa, due to my broad understanding of the values that drive conducts of team members.
“Ka onye ọ bula ghara ileda onye-ikwu-ya anya”
In Igbo culture, the saying “Ka onye ọ bula ghara ileda onye-ikwu-ya anya” resonates deeply. It translates to “Let no one despise their kinsman.” This proverb encapsulates the spirit of unity and inclusivity that permeates Igbo society and entrepreneurs. It serves as a powerful reminder that irrespective of differences, every member of a community or team should be valued and respected.
“ịdị n’otu bụ ike”
The concept of civic responsibility is etched into the very soul of Igbo culture. My parents always demonstrated this by volunteering for positions in communities of the various residence where we stayed, including whenever we travelled or visited family friends at their homes. The Igbo proverb “ịdị n’otu bụ ike” encapsulates this ethos. It means “unity is strength” and underscores the idea that the progress and prosperity of the community are intertwined with the actions of every individual. While growing up, my parents and extended family members used Igbo folklores to engrain consciousness of this ethos. Which has gone a long way in instilling a sense of duty towards contributing to the collective welfare of teams and communities wherever I find myself; an enduring value that has transcended igbo generations.
My African perspective can be summarized by this concluding truth about my identity: The Igbo people have long been known for their industrious spirit and entrepreneurial acumen, their legacy in academia and entrepreneurship is unmistakable. Their enterprising drive has not only contributed to the economic vitality of Nigeria but has also left an indelible mark on the continent’s business landscape.
“ịrụsi ọrụ ike bụ ọgwụ mgbochi ịda ogbenye”
My Parents constantly reminded me of this Igbo saying “ịrụsi ọrụ ike bụ ọgwụ mgbochi ịda ogbenye” that captures this spirit. Translated as “hard work is the antidote to poverty,” it underscores the belief that diligence and perseverance are the keys to prosperity. Knowledge of this truth has guided my work ethic and has empowered me in navigating challenges and seizing opportunities in leaving an enduring legacy of economic empowerment!
The Power of African Storytelling
What’s your story?
Our personal stories are a powerful tool. It’s why we dedicated an entire panel session to the topic at Bokobokids. That is why we invited people to explore their own journeys around African culture. In sharing our experiences, we can inspire and activate others.
#BKBStoriesofDiversity movement #CelebrateDiversity #AfricanNarratives #InclusionMatters #PreserveAncestralWisdom
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