The Nigerian Woman| Afrolems

Atim Ukoh

Atim Ukoh Begin

Hey Guys!!

This series wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t consider the role that cooking plays in the average Nigerian’s life. Nigerians love their food if nothing else and there is the very vibrantly expressed opinion that every Nigerian woman must know how to cook (-_-). For this post, I spoke to my sister; CEO and creative director of Afrolems. She stays slaying in the kitchen and while I try, real has to recognize real!! I loved reading her post because while we’re sisters, our experiences and perspectives are pretty different plus she made me laugh :P. Anyhow, I trust that you would love reading this just as much as I did!

Who are you ? (What are the things that make up your identity, likes, interests, quirks)

My name is Atim Ukoh. I am in my late 20’s, currently a food blogger and a digital marketing strategist. I like to believe I am generally a lighthearted person even if I end up panicking about a lot of things. I am too stubborn for my own good. In recent times, I have discovered I love travelling and exploring new cultures. I believe in living life to the fullest. I laugh a lot at any thing. Ask my mum. Sometimes I think it’s nervous laughter because hey you might be boring and I am not sure how to fill in the gap of your awkwardness or you just might be genuinely funny. You never know.

What do you feel being a Nigerian woman means?

A Nigerian woman means being very adaptable. Adaptability is generally a trait popularly associated with Nigerians in general. Moving to Canada reinforced this trait in me. As a Nigerian woman who spent 18 years in a tropical country, the Canadian winter was not the easiest situation to adjust to.

The dating scene was also different. In Nigeria, women are used to being chased aggressively, wined and dined even before you truly find out about her. It took a bit of effort to adapt to the Canadian way of dating which involved giving a guy your number and waiting 3-5 business days to get a text saying “hey I still have your number”.

The society has several expectations of you as a Nigerian woman. There are expectations that you would naturally be domesticated, which may not always be the case. In general, there are societal opinions that need to be taken into strong consideration. Now I am personally not a believer of that fact but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still something to consider. I believe in creatively playing the game and being strategic to get what you want from the society.

What role do you feel food plays in the life of the Nigerian Woman?

Being that I am from Akwa Ibom in Nigeria, there is an additional expectation that I should also be a great cook and it should be a huge part of my DNA. I sometimes believe when Nigerian men see their women, they see a walking pot of soup. There is an expectation that a pot of soup or rice would come out of her being around them for over two hours. I believe food plays a very crucial role in the lives of Nigerian women. Grandmothers and mothers for generations have forced their daughters into the kitchen to learn a thing or two about cooking because they believe the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

When did you fall in love with cooking?

I fell in love with cooking when I successfully made my first tasty pot of Indomie noodles. I realized that I could walk into the kitchen, climb on a stool because I was too short to reach the stovetop and stir my way to perfect noodles fit for consumption. It was the best feeling ever.

What are you most proud of regarding your Nigerian identity?

I am proud of the fact that we are a resilient group. Regardless of what life throws at us, we manage to smile through it, adapt and keep moving. I love the richness of the cultures that exist within Nigeria. I love the fact that we have unique traits that differentiates us from other Africans and even sometimes makes them a tad jealous. I love the fact that we are an enterprising group of people. I would not trade my Nigerian identity for the world.

What are your hopes for Nigeria in the coming years?

I would like to see Nigeria truly get its act together. Be a place that people want to visit, become a place that is synonymous with great inventions both in the arts and sciences. I’d like the Nigerian woman to have a stronger voice in the rural communities, as that would reduce the rate of poverty within these communities.

Where can people find you and your work?

You can find me through my blog Afrolems or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @afrolems

Picture by Willyverse

The Nigerian Woman| Then and Now

Iquo Ukoh

Hey guys!

As promised here is the first in my Nigerian woman series. To start off I decided to gain some perspective by asking my mother. She was the perfect go-between as she has the benefit of time and consequently has had a fuller experience than I have of being a Nigerian woman.

Iquo Ukoh-Begin
          Mrs Iquo Ukoh

Who are you? (What are the things that make up your identity, likes, interests, quirks)

A wife , a mother, a career woman and a mentor to many young women.

I am a woman that is driven by excellence and a passion to succeed no matter the odds. Even though I did not study marketing in the University but I have become one of the names in marketing to be reckoned with in Nigeria.

In recent years I have decided to channel my creative passions via food blogging, creating new recipes and educating my followers on healthy lifestyle options.

What do you feel it means to be Nigerian, especially a Nigerian woman?

Nigerians are passionate and expressive people. The determination to succeed is one of the most salient characteristics of the Nigerian people. No wonder many Nigerians stand out wherever they are found around the world. A Nigerian woman no matter her social status  is one that is ready to challenge the status quo and dare to try in a man’s world. Cultural and religious limitations continue to place impediments in her path but the Nigerian woman is finding her way around this. It’s not been easy but a certain level of progress has been made

What changes have you noticed in your perspective as time has gone on?

Whilst my mum’s generation were mainly sit at home mothers, today a lot of mums are economically active one way or the other. The limited opportunity for employment has necessitated that women go out to generate income for their households. More women are heading organizations which heather to were mainly the men’s domain . We see women in previously male dominated professions like engineering and  architecture. I am seeing many more women taking charge of their lives and really challenging dominant ideas regarding their abilities.

What are your hopes for young Nigerian women?

The sky is the limit for young Nigerian women who are ready to work hard to achieve their set goals. The road may not be easy but the opportunities are limitless. The average Nigerian man has not quite shifted in his perception that the woman should be seen and not heard. This stance is more apparent in some cultures than others. However, when I see the giant strides young Nigerian women are achieving today  in areas previously dominated by men, I am hopeful.

Where can people find you?

My blog, 1qfoodplatter

Picture by willyverse