“Some people hear their own inner voices with great clarity and they live by what they hear. Such people either become crazy or they become…Legend”
- Legends of the fall.
This is my favourite quote of all time and it’s what comes to my mind when I see young extraordinary women like Adewunmi who remind me of the fresh and eager brilliance of youth.
Adewunmi is a writer, a poet, a motivational speaker, a teacher, a former employee at the Cool FM radio station Port Harcourt, and a student of psychology at the Kazan Federal university, Tatarstan Russia where she studies in Russian language all at the tender age of 21.
Adewunmi was sent to Russia on a scholarship called the Bilateral Education agreement in Nigeria. The scholarship is based on academic excellence – but she’s extremely modest about it all.
Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the youngest woman to be nominated for the Extraordinary Women project.
NEKITA: Who are you?
ADEWUNMI: I am intricately designed by God to be able to uplift people who have encountered similar trials as I have.
I am a loving wife, sister and daughter.
I believe everyone has a reason for being created, and I love to make people realise that.
NEKITA: Describe yourself in two words.
ADEWUNMI: Keen witted and responsible.
NEKITA: What’s your best quality?
ADEWUNMI: I am fairly a good listener, observer and I love to think that im reliable. I know I really am.
NEKITA: What’s your worst quality?
ADEWUNMI: I tend to be timid at times. I observe a lot and sometimes I see things that I’m not meant to se. Sometimes I wish I didn’t observe a lot, but at the same time I love it.
NEKITA: What do you do and what do you hope to be doing in the next 5 years?
ADEWUNMI: I’m a poet, teacher and I’m soon rounding up my degree in Psychology.
I speak and work on women’s emotional health, the aftermath of sexual abuse and female psychological health related issues.
In the next five years I hope to gain more grounds on these, to be able to aid women like myself who have gone through different forms of emotional and sexual abuse and to be able to rise above it.
NEKITA: What has been your major career milestone?
ADEWUNMI: I haven’t gotten near the apex of my career life, but for now I’m grateful to have been to able to give educational and motivational talks in different places both in Nigeria and Russia. I have also written articles on Women’s uniqueness and on African Women’s Emotional Health related issues.
NEKITA: How easy or difficult was it for you to learn to speak, read and write Russian?
ADEWUNMI: I wouldn’t say it was ‘super easy,’ in fact it wasn’t easy at all. But I had a positive outlook towards it. I thought of the Russian language as simple, and it became simple to me.
NEKITA: Can you tell us how to say – ‘Extraordinary woman’ in Russian? (In response Adewunmi wrote some Russian words that look something like this to me – &^*%$£”!_+@:?//.?^^&&&. And for once I was at a loss for words. I don’t have the right keyboard for Russian. If you are Russian please pardon me.) I made a mental note to get back at Adewunmi with French.
ADEWUNMI: (Then she explains) It’s pronounced like ‘zamechatilnaya zhenshina.’ Written like – &^*%$£”!_+@:?//.?^^&&&.
NEKITA: Which female inspires you the most?
ADEWUNMI: I appreciate great ladies all over the world who are doing inspiring and great things.
“The female that inspires me the most is myself because God puts so much uniqueness in all of us that the only one who can truly understand and motivate you is YOU.”
NEKITA: How did one so young grow to be so wise?
ADEWUNMI: Thank you for thinking of me as ‘wise.’ It’s just that I matured so fast mentally. Physically I was slow to mature but mentally, so many life experiences around me urged me to mature quickly.
NEKITA: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt in life?
ADEWUNMI: There is only one Adewunmi Okunola. If I try to be like Beyoncé or Asa, who on earth would know how awesome Wunmi is?
“The world already has one Michelle Obama, go be yourself – the world doesn’t have you yet.”
NEKITA: What has been your biggest accomplishment in life?
ADEWUNMI: For now I’m enormously grateful for my marriage. For the fact that my life is heading where it’s meant to go.
I’m thankful that some wonderful ladies look up to me as a source of inspiration both in Nigeria and Kazan.
NEKITA: So how did you meet your husband?
ADEWUNMI: It was my first day in Kazan, we had just arrived (new students) from Nigeria the previous night, so we were all tired, jet-lagged, confused. John was the guy who came to show us around and give us tips on what to do and how to adjust to the place, climate, and so on as John had already passed through the school system.
He is presently a scientist who works at the university lab and he is studying for his masters at the same time. In addition to that, he also teaches like I do.
We both had an instant connection right from the day we met – It felt as if I had known him my entire life. I asked him straight away where he was from to see if we were related or not. But no, we weren’t.
Things just played up from there. It felt as if it was all pre planned in heaven. We began talking and found out we complimented each other and shared the same goals, plans, values, and so on…plus we were madly in love. A different level of love from what we had experienced in the past.
When we started dating officially, it was sure in our hearts that it would go the mile. We weren’t ‘trying out.’ – It was a sure thing.
NEKITA: What has been the most trying obstacle that you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome this?
ADEWUNMI: The most difficult thing I’ve had to do is to love and accept myself.
NEKITA: Everyone has a sense of fashion and personal style. What’s yours?
ADEWUNMI: I believe in being ideally simple, stylish and classy at the same time. I love decency and I appreciate the 50’s to 80’s fashion styles.
NEKITA: Speaking of fashion, you also have a very popular Instagram page called @topwomenfashion.naija What inspired you to start this?
ADEWUNMI: In my spare time I write poetry. I started learning to sew not long ago; so I do that too, I love cooking too, creating recipes, watching movies and I am also interested in a format of fashion that has become extinct – the fashion of modesty and class. I sketch clothing designs. It’s just something that I do on the side. I guess that’s what inspired me to start up @topwomenfashion.naija on Instagram. I was also inspired by my husband who also has a popular Instagram page called @topmenfashion.naija
NEKITA: What is unique about you?
ADEWUNMI: The fact that I tend to be simple and at the same time classy, down to earth and at the same time I am a no-nonsense kind of person. One can say I can be two sides of a good coin.
NEKITA: Tell us a secret about yourself that no one knows.
ADEWUNMI: I love the smell of concrete, and I remember a lot from when I was a baby.
NEKITA: Tell us in two sentences what you think of sex, love and marriage.
ADEWUNMI: I love those three topics. Making mistakes in any of them can make one miserable. Being successful in these three aspects of your life would have a great effect on your physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
I believe that sex is an art of worship, whichever way we see it.
When a man and a woman merge physically it should always spark wonders in heaven, so yes, sex shouldn’t just be done with anyone or taken for granted.
Love is a beautiful phenomenon, the way each of us loves is different.
Love is everything, Love isn’t necessarily the way it’s portrayed in movies.
Love is simple. Love is a responsibility.
Nowadays, I’ve been seeing posts telling ladies not to celebrate marriage, but to celebrate career growth. I believe marriage is not less important. The most successful woman is one who can balance both her excellent job and the graceful beauty of being a wife and a mother. Neither of the two aspects should lag behind.
NEKITA: I have to say that is the longest response I’ve received on that question so far. It shows that you are indeed a poet. Can you share one of your poems with us?
You don’t deserve that,
You deserve more,
You have to come out,
Walk out that door.
You will overcome this,
You will emerge stronger,
Stop dodging his fist,
You can’t pacify his anger.
Your body is sacred,
It went through hell,
Stop living like you’re dead,
You’re the hope in a shell,
Child abuse and rape,
Physical and emotional abuse,
You’re not alone
Be a part of a success story.
NEKITA: Which movie has inspired you the most?
ADEWUNMI: There have been many: ‘Seven pounds’ ‘Unconditional’ ‘The diary of Anne Frank’ ‘Hotel Rwanda’ ‘Slum dog millionaire’ ‘Their eyes are watching God’
“Their eyes are watching God – In particular I like the name of this movie. It urges me to good thinking.”
NEKITA: Which popular personality inspires you the most?
ADEWUNMI: There are a lot of beautiful and inspiring people everywhere. I can’t even choose one. Everyone has a story that when told could totally inspire people. I’m inspired by a woman who can balance her life; who has the grace to be a lady, the strength to be a mother and who can be a kick ass boss at work.
NEKITA: What’s your life’s slogan?
ADEWUNMI: If you have read all my responses well you would know that there’s one thing I insist on –
Apart from this, most times I replay childhood memories and I often hear my mum saying,
‘What is worth doing at all is worth doing well.’
This too has guided my choices.
NEKITA: If you had the power to change the world in one way, what would you do?
ADEWUNMI: I would make everyone love and appreciate themselves first. The reason why evil things are going on is because people don’t love themselves, and if they don’t love themselves how could they possibly care about the wellbeing of others? They can’t because they don’t even care about themselves.
I wish I could make great gigantic world-wide shaking changes, build structures, effect planetary changes in human behaviour, but I can’t because the only one that can actually change us is ‘us.’
ADEWUNMI: I would like to use this platform to share some prose about female child abuse:
When a little girl is molested, rid of her childhood and all, the parents feel angry, mothers blame themselves, father’s blame the culprit, if they themselves are not the culprit that is.
The little girl takes it all, she becomes a child with an adult eye.
All these happen, and after a few months, years, everyone forgets about it, but oh no, the victim never forgets.
She has to fight the urge to be a useless entity to the world or work so hard to be a ruthless perfectionist.
Either way, she cannot be satisfied with her life. She feels she is not enough as a niece/daughter since her uncle or dad forced himself on her. Not enough as a daughter since mummy was not careful enough to look after her.
She continues to struggle to find a balance, as she feels she is not enough as a woman, and as a person.
She chooses wrong men because she feels she doesn’t deserve any good.
I could go on and on, this is the story of not one or two ladies but of millions.
The beginning can be different, but it all ends the same way; ‘I don’t deserve any better’ ‘my life cannot be any better’ ‘I can never be good enough for anyone.’
Today I would like to let anyone who feels this way know that there is not only hope, but redemption.
You are not alone. Don’t choose to be any less. There are so many women who have experienced horrible things and have triumphed. And you are about to be part of the success group.
NEKITA: That was beautiful. It brought me very close to tears. Thanks so much for that.
ADEWUNMI: My pleasure. Thanks for giving me this platform.
Adewunmi is the host of the @Topwomen.naija Instagram page which is quite stimulating for those who wish to discover the richness and versatility of Nigerian fashion. @Topwomen.naija already has a remarkable following. Go check it out and be sure to tag her with your beautiful or stylish pictures too.
You can also tap into her inspirations by connecting with her on Facebook or Instagram as Adewunmi Okunola.
Read one of her essays on African women and child abuse here – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/struggles-todays-african-woman-adewunmi-olujimi