It was another Saturday and yes, another day for events; weddings, shows, talks et al.
In the spirit of events, Abuja had it’s Second Tedx talk; TEDx Gwarinpa, which was held at the Jabi Lake mall, Jabi district, Abuja. The theme of this event – “Think different”
Before I go right in on my experience, of course I will highlight what this event is all about.
So, TEDx is a program which helps communities, organizations and individuals produce TED-style events at various local levels and they are planned and coordinated independently. In other words, TEDx events are planned on a community-by-community basis, under a free license from TED.
TED, of course is “a global set of conferences run by the private nonprofit organization, Sapling Foundation, under the slogan ‘Ideas Worth Spreading”.
This month and on the 22nd of October 2016, TEDx came back to town with – TEDx Gwarimpa. I have followed TED talks and TEDx talks and particularly have been inspired by the talks which featured the likes of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chioma Omeruah (popularly known as ‘Chigurl’) and Zain Asher, because I could relate a lot with these speakers, as well as their topics, being first, Nigerian and also because the message they resounded, hit home. That said and being my first ever experience at any of these events, here are a few highlights of the event (my take of course), as well low pointers. I also promised on my Snapchat, a brief recap of what stood out for me from each speakers rendition and I will be sure to do just that.
In no particular order the highlights for me were;
WANGER AYU – “The Heels, the Dress and the Career to match”.
Wanger Ayu is the Founder & Convener Designers Marketplace (DMP), Nigeria, a lawyer by training and the creative Director at WangerAyu; a Ready-To-Wear Nigerian fashion label for women’s wear, as well as fashion accessories for men and women. She used a rather familiar descriptive – heels and dresses (being a fashion entrepreneur), to bring home her point that: nothing worth having and nothing worthwhile, comes without some sacrifice.
“For me, the heels, the dress and the career to match have something in common, they are not pain free… In wearing the heels; the heels are painful, they do look good but you know that that pointy toe, numb toes mehn. The dress? Yea, it might look good, it’s fitted but, there’s so many things you don’t want to eat, why? OMG! carbs, ‘carb loading…”
She said that you either want comfort or you want it easy. People want a career in fashion but do not realize it is not all glamour. A career in fashion is far from glamorous but it is very promising, especially when you understand the business of fashion, which she added is where a lot of people miss it. A standout example for her was Amancio Ortega (Founder of Zara, richest man in Europe and the wealthiest retailer in the world according to Forbes 2016), who dropped out from school, had a tough childhood but had a winning mindset and now although starting small, is where he is now. He has barely taken a holiday off in over 25 years and personally designs and oversees the production of his items- Focus!
She concludes saying:
“It is not easy to wear that pretty dress. The choice is; i am just going to wear a caftan and hide everything that’s underneath and then have nice hair, some pretty earnings, good perfume and then you know, the rest is up to you, imagine it, or, i want to look the way i want to look and i have to work for it and that is the reality -the Heels, the Dress and the Career to match, they are all pretty but there is pain”.
NAOMI OSEMEDUA – “From not enough, to finding your sparkle”.
Naomi Osemedua is a Live Streaming Strategist at Sparkle with Naomi. She is the author of ‘Socially Speaking -My Periscope Miracles’; Amazon’s bestseller. She is an Inspirational speaker, Reformer, Positive Change Coach and mom.
“I once heard you are where you are today because you chose to be there…”. (This certainly was a winner for me).
She used examples; real life scenarios to stress her point that, there is no perfect time, day, weather or opportunity to succeed and that, is just one of the excuses fear provides to hold you back at your ‘not enough’ so you don’t get to find your ‘sparkle’ and light others also through yours. One of the examples she used that spoke to me, was hers:
“On April 2009, i became a single mum and just like Rachael, what i wanted to know was -Why me? I had so many questions; how did i get here? How am i going to survive this? Will i ever find love again? and if i was to have a conversation with my younger self, this is what i would tell her;
So what if she says: Why me? I would tell her, why not you? When she says, how am i going to survive this? Of course you will survive this! You will not just survive this but you will be able to help others as well. What if i never find love again? You will, and of course you have because he is seating right here in the audience…and what about how do i get rid of this mess? I would tell her, out of your mess you will have a message…”
She points out that we have a choice to focus on all the negative things that are happening or all the things we can change because at the end of the day, where you choose to focus on is where you create strength and momentum. If you want to change your life for the better, it starts with you consciously thinking about what you are thinking about, and about what it is you are saying, and that opportunities are all around us everyday, but sometimes we are so bombarded by all the negatives that happen around, we focus on them primarily.
She adds that she had a choice to stay at a point where she would be hopeless or rather see the beautiful roses that could bloom from her very thorny situation; it is always a choice. It is your personal responsibility to choose what you allow into your space, guarding your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life because, as a man thinks, so is he.
Her ‘Gemstone creed’ –
I am a solution provider and not a part of the problem to be solved.
I will make a positive impact on everyone i meet and everywhere i go.
I will consciously build a legacy now, today,and everyday.
“If you do not like the way your life is going, change it, you are not a tree” – She urges every individual to focus on the things they can change and concludes on this note:
“It takes each and everyone of us to make a difference for all of us…and if you’ve ever needed permission to go from not enough to finding your sparkle and being able to light up others, I give it to you today. So go and sparkle your world!”
Nnonso Nweke – “How the caged bird thinks”.
Nnonso Nweke is the CEO/MD of KIB Food Processing Co, which currently has one of the widest ranges of products in the market and is leading the natural spice market with it’s alternatives. They produce AmaWonda range of spices. He was recently featured on NTA’s Young Boss and is now a mentor to many aspiring entrepreneurs across Nigeria.
He talked on the thought process of the ‘caged bird’; the subconscious, social, educational, professional, cultural cages and others alike, that tend to restrict or hold people down especially in Nigeria. I particularly identified with these few:
- The ‘better pass’ cage (as i coined it to be): where you have peoples ideas silenced or turned down because, they are thought of as being young, not ready, or just out of jealousy.
- The Ambition cage: where family members dictate what you ought to study and who you ought to be in life. He added on a lighter note – “so you get into JSS1 already knowing that you are an Engineer in future, or a Medical doctor…” (I say Lol, true that!).
- The marriage cage: Ladies wanting to be done with Secondary and Tertiary wahala in the name of education and so they can be in ‘their husbands house’ – the destination. On this note he had this to say; “Don’t be a trophy, be a partner”
He gave a few tips on how to break out of the ‘Cage’ stereotype – by first Identifying what kind of bird you are:
- Eagle: That aims it’s target and swoops in directly for the catch. (Is not afraid to dare situations). It also gets to a point in it’s life were, it makes a decision to tear off the feathers on its wings in other to survive or, remain like that and die.
- The flocking bird: They need to fly with the flock; a partnership, in order to succeed but, once they have that, they will definitely succeed.
- The pet: They love to remain within the cage, they love the security and assurance the cage provides and are not plagued by the restriction. He had this to say “if it’s okay for you to remain within that cage and you feel this is who i am, then by all means, remain within that cage but, make sure that the cage is wide enough for you and isn’t one of those cages that has the little swing and it just swings back and forth..”.
He concludes saying (and on second note) – “Apply yourself… If your boss doesn’t listen , tell him again, tell him a couple of months ahead or do it without his approval. If you feel you can actually step out of that cage and be your own boss, by all means, step out and be your own boss”.
MOHINI UFELI – “Story is key: How to determine others perception of us”.
Mohini Ufeli is a Documentarian at Andela. She paints a clearer picture of how the ‘story’ is that much important in thinking different and moving Africa/Nigeria forward.
She builds up from this:
“We can create ourselves with the stories that we tell” – saying that at Andela, the stories that they tell determines how external people perceive them, but then most importantly for them, how they perceive ourselves (at Andela).
She adds that in order to succeed, we must transcend the standard that society has set; change the perception, re-brand the story. She talks on the abbreviation T.I.A (Meaning This Is Africa) and how this term has been branded to mean – the standard can’t be better than this or basically, don’t expect better (sadly):
“so, for instance NEPA takes the light; T.I.A! Immigration is doing ‘anything for the boys’; T.I.A! and so you see T.I.A and it reminds you that ya, you cannot just expect good things or consistent things.. At Andela, T.I.A. means; This Is Andela, with the idea being that we are creating an ultimate reality, were we don’t conform to those standards, and like i said before that, true success lies in transcending those standards..”.
She gave an example of breaking this norm using the stories of personnel currently at Andela, who exemplified grit and persistence and a will to break out from the negative brand of T.I.A – stating that to defy those odds and stereotype beliefs we consciously and subconsciously feed to our external environment/world, these stories, are the stories to be told. She concludes highlighting the values that support the ‘Andela belief’ under the word E.P.I.C:
E – Excellence.
P – Passion.
I personally believe that these values if, and only if, adopted by every Nigerian, will improve our output and slowly but affirmatively help each one of us re-brand our Nigeria and eventually, our Africa. T.I.A!
YAHAYA AHMED – “Easing Nigeria’s housing problems with plastic waste”.
Yahaya Ahmed is the Managing Director/CEO of Developmental Association of Renewable Energy (DARE), which is based in Kaduna, Nigeria. He is also a climate change expert.
I must say his idea of thinking different is absolutely commendable and is most definitely a project the Nigerian government should consider highly important and with great urgency.
I will point out also that words do his presentation no justice, as he starts off urging that “there is a need for changing plastic waste disposal”. Why so?
- Because from bottles (Plastic bottles, with caps and no crack), architectural structures can be created; saving cost for Nigerians in terms of building, improving creativity, assuring durability and security, opposing the mud structures being erected in the rural parts of Nigeria, in deplorable states and continuously claiming innocent lives.
- Because it is also Bullet proof!
- Because it encourages man power and creates jobs!!! A lot of ‘Almajiri’s” are given opportunities to get better or more out of life; rather than beg around or constitute themselves as national nuisances. At as low as
N200, they are given hope for better.
- Unemployed graduates are also trained and have opportunities to work and contribute to the positive image of their Nation.
A.K.A (Also Known As) – Bottles!
Very little amounts of mud or cement is required in the layering (Less than it will cost for a complete cement structure, as is the norm).
Yet it can be as smooth and a ready canvas to paint on, just like this picture of a water reservoir / well, shows. Plastering finally with cement.
He states that his plan for unemployment in Nigeria through this project, was to “tackle those people who are potential dangers to us. Who will come to our Churches and Mosque and blow us up, because they do not have any other thing doing…”.
He says that due to the incessant request from graduates alike, he found a medium through which to teach aquaculture; where they make their own fish ponds too and start personal businesses. Talk about Empowerment!
He also talked on how biodegradable waste can be an alternative means and source for energy and through projects like this, actualizing it wouldn’t be a dream but rather THE REALITY.
Another speaker who delivered quite brilliantly, pointing out that the attitude of Nigerian’s not challenging the system for better, is making laws that should be implemented gather dust on shelves, leading to her topic.
SAATER IKPAAHINDI – Children don’t deserve rights?
My answer? Yes they very much do.
Saater is an International Development Professional (Child Protection and Gender). She has worked in Nigeria and the UK on issues of gender, child protection and children rights and is working as a national researcher for SOS children’s villages currently, studying child care in Nigeria.
There were other great talks or potentially great talks but I personally felt a disconnect at delivery. These were definitely my highlights!
On the lows though (Low pointers):
- Organisation and the lack of it: I honestly wish we could be more organised as a Nation and conscious of excellence in everything but most especially, with serious events such as this. Borrowing Mohini Ufeli’s words – we shouldn’t conform to mediocre standards but rather, rise above it! (I wouldn’t go into details, by choice).
- Lack of preparation and Delivery: One or the other or, Both. No one is perfect but I believe if you fail to plan…. it shows; a perfect attempt at delivering goes a long way even amidst imperfection. I lost (because i was at this event to learn) at certain points because, at those points, delivery wasn’t quite there and i did hope for more.
Asides these, I definitely still had a fulfilling experience and i hope you did get a thing or two to get you working on personally – Thinking different *wink*
Disclaimer: Images featured other than personal images, are not a product of this site, they have been obtained from goggle for emphasis.