Speaking in Nigeria, meeting fearless women
When I was invited to come and speak in Nigeria I thought lots of things but actually knew nothing.
My flight was booked and my heart started pounding. Holland is the fourth richest country in the world and the day before I left someone said to me: ‘Lucinda, Nigeria is the most dangerous country in the world.’ I must admit, I had one sleepless night though but I am a girl that lives with God. I knew that I had to be there.
The moment that I boarded my flight in Amsterdam I had nothing than my faith. I was off to the continent that I was born on. I was off to a country with 200.000.000 inhabitants and I had read a few blogs but as you can imagine nothing ever prepares you for reality.
From Amsterdam I went into transit in Istanbul, Turkey, and I had the same feeling as when I once flew from Cape Town to Paris. Only now I was a woman with a firm identity and a clear mission. The funny thing is, one never knows what the mission is until it stares your right in the face. I knew that I had to give my best.
See, in Europe I am ‘different’ but the challenge for me was now to be there where I’m not ‘different’. All my ‘brothers and sisters’ in Nigeria are black and beautiful and they have amazing stories and battle every single day. My story is no exeception there. So what was I doing there? What was my added value of being there?
Flight TK623 to Abuja, getting the vibes
On the flight from Instanbul to Nigeria’s capital Abuja some interesting things happened. I sat next to an amazing Nigerian living in Vienna. I noticed the kindness the warmth and the care but I thought that I was because he was stuck next to me for many hours.
During the flight, filled with Nigerians going home, I moved my way to the back of the plane for the toilets. As you can imagine I was not the only one. But this scene stays in my memory and gives me a smile on my face.
The last row in the plane was empty so a beautiful African woman takes her place there, with one foot on an additional seat. I smiled at her as I had to wait and a young man goes and sits next to her. She smiles at him and says: ‘You are now sitting in my kingdom young man.’ I smiled, looking and her and I knew that where I was going was going to be amazing. I felt her… her vibe, her fun, her flirt, her womanhood, her ability to play, her warmth and her female dominance. I could feel the energy and I was loving in already.
What is important to know is that when being in this state of mind a different energy kicks in. I might not look and seem the alert or sensitive kind but I assure you after living in South Africa for 22 years I have an additional sense needed for my survival. As I wrote in my book Yes You Can Woman, I needed to read people from the day I was born or else it could mean my death.
Welcome to Nigeria
My driver collected me at the airport. Kazeem. So humble that he made me cry. So pure that it touched me. ‘Madam, you smell like white peoples, you talk like white peoples but you have a black peoples nose.’ I will never forget that sentence. And me assuring Kazeem that ‘I am black peoples’. It just did not land with him.
The first evening that he collected me he told me that the road was emply because it was late and no one would dare to drive but it was safe because of police on the road. Although they too are corrupt, at least they were there. Everything was different. The air smelt different because of the wet season and everything was green. The next morning Kazeem collected me for the flight to Enugu, my destination. About an hour but that is where I had to be.
You see, I haven’t even spoken yet but my impressions were speaking thousands of words. The people in my hotel were so kind, curious and heartful. I sad downstairs in the lobby and I know when men find me attractive… that too I can sense a mile away but It felt good. I was looked at because I was pretty. Just amazing right. I am no feminist and I like men to admire Gods creation… being me. Okay, lets get on : )
In Enugu I was collected by the most amazing woman. Her name is Patience. She took care of me the next few days and I recornized her by her smile. You see, I live in a country where I really only see white people so getting off that plane and being in an all black environment changed my outlook. No, I was not afraid. I just felt good. I was okay. The reason I say this is because as a child I was always told that black people were bad, the enemy, violent. Basically I was indoctrinated by apartheid. The only thing was I never gave it much attention.
And now I was older, wiser and what I know about people is that we are all the same. Our hopes, fears, dreams and passions make us human. We love, pray, make love, share affections… oh my goodness, we are more alike that you can imagine.
Meeting Ireti Doyle
My first morning at breakfast was an eye opener. Everything was different… no nuts and yogurts. Then I met Ireti and I had no idea who she was.
You see, I can tell who you are by the way you speak, by your points of view, by your eloquence and by your choice of words. I can tell who you are by the way you speak of others and of yourself and now I was at the table with someone with so much eloquence. Delightful, honest, straight to the point and gracious. You see in all my years I have never met anybody who has made all these elements to be part of one personality. I loved the consciousness and the awareness.
She is Ireti Doyle. One of the best known actresses of Nollywood and in Africa.
The question is interesting: do African women have this superior radiation or is it found all over the world? Is it something that is cultivated. Is it nature or nurture? Whatever it was, I loved her style. I fit into that style so well that it could have been my own. A deep respect for each other and something one can’t explain. Her zest to live means no masks and no nonsense. It means that life is valued and all of a sudden I was no longer in a country of culture. This meeting had made all that disappear to the background. Can you imagine that? I hope so because that is what happens when you meet friends.
You see I interviewed her for my program Famous In 100 Days and although it is a Dutch program our interview was in English. I you understand what she says and absorb it, it is life changing. We share these views and then you are on one line.
And then I heard Ireti speak… I loved it and suggested that she speak for A-speakers in New York. Fearless women have each others backs all the time. I hope that she gets booked throughout the world. There is enough space in this world for both of us and all the other amazing women.
Be the inspiration to others!
I am writing a book with 20 other authors and Ireti is writing the foreword. If you know who I am you will know that I only want the best for my projects and I work with the best in the world.
I hope you have these meetings as well and if you don’t, meet these people and be this person for someone else. For everyone you meet. It costs nothing! You just have to work on who you are.