TedxEuston 2012 Challenging Conventional Wisdom……

 

I was already challenging the conventional wisdom of the society in which I inhabited. I am what my friend’s daughter termed as MAD aka mum and dad. I feel like if I don’t challenge myself and get out the box that society wants to put single mothers into I will die, psychologically and spiritually.

 

And so my Journey to TedxEuston began with the beautiful writer Chika Unigwe buying some Afrocessories and we became friends. She even edited my website for me when I created for myself after being lied to by a few IT men I took matters into my own hands. And so can you see that my life is constantly challenging?

 

I had to make a very important choice to attend Tedx. I wanted to exhibit at an event in Birmingham and test the customers there. But After a few disastrous events there, I was spiritually dying. Creative was oozing out of my hands like some pepper soup and I need to claim it back into the pot. I reviewed one of these disastrous events on my facebook page one of the team from Tedx besides Chika Paddy Anigbo challenged me to attend that it will unforgettable. The choice was to travel 30 minutes to Birmingham for a show or pay £70.00 to attend Tedx and travel 180 miles.

 

I jumped at the challenge! My head full of doubts, scared of costs and of committing myself to something that I might not be able to deliver.

 

I didn’t know many of the speakers, but Chimamanda Adichie. Her face, in my mind I knew I had to be there!! Any excuse to be in a room with an African writer was arousing.

 

Once I finished creating the gifts for the speakers from Tedx I was extremely exhausted. Not from the creation, but I’ve had such a busy year, but loving every part of it.  My son who is 8 years old has sickle cell anaemia  This is challenging. Two weeks before Tedx, he caught the flu and life became nonstop of doctor’s appointments and sleepless nights. A day before we were due to leave for London, 10.30 pm I had to take him to hospital. We were discharged at 12.30 am and we left to go to London the following morning. Can you spot the challenges? I had a choice whether to stay home and nurse my child or to push myself for an opportunity that might not come again. Once I knew that my little man was alright there was only one option. Go!

 

I won’t bore you with the rest of the challenges but let’s just say there were many tears and moments where I just wanted to quit. But chika kept popping into my head. You can’t let her down. She’s given you this opportunity and the rest of the Tedx team how many designers do you know have been given this opportunity?

 

The music that was playing whilst I was setting my stall up was so authentic, drums traditional; at this point I knew that I had made the right decision. The stage was set for a King.  An African King. Decor was mind blowing. The stage was so warm and alluring one knew that the planning of the event had been carefully done. I was pleased

 

Personally I enjoyed all the speakers. The one that stood out the most for me was Chimamanda Adichie. I felt like I knew her through her books. I have them all. I sat there like a little girl waiting to see Santa Claus. My heart was racing. Then she graced the stage with her tall slender presence. Instantly she blew me away with her sexiness on the stage. Burgundy skinny jeans, with boots and yellow and brown top that just sat on her waist, leaving hips and bottom uncovered. Wow! This wasn’t the sexiness that is all flesh and lacks creativity. This was intellectually sexy. She rocks!

 

It took me a while. I listened without taking anything in, but just watching her.

 

And then she began to set me alive. I unfortunately sat next to a very animated tall handsome Nigerian man whose legs were too tall so he sat with his legs out. He moan and grunted and answered back to Adiche’s speech which was hilarious and made people turn to look.  I on the other hand was very much gripped and captivated by Adichie’s presence.

 

The subject of feminism is not one that is comfortable within the African society, Adichie challenged our views and attitudes towards this. I was dancing in my seat. Adichie challenged the conventional ways we raise boys and girls “we raise girls to be competitors for the attention of men”, I noticed a European middle age man got up and carried his coat with him. Unfortunately his exit was marked by a near fall. I wondered why he had sat from morning till night and only to leave before the last speaker had finished.

 

“We teach girls about shame, girls who grow up to be women who shrink themselves. Women who grow up with pretence.  A woman at a certain age unmarried is seen as a deep personal failure”

 

For me it was like listening to a sermon. It affirmed all the inconsistent thoughts which often clutter my mind. I am constantly questioning my identity as a Ghanaian woman. I feel displaced. I am very much African at heart, however, studying literature and particular interest in African female writers I feel very lonely at times. I find that I do not have much in common with many of my Ghanaian friends or my British born friends.

 

I find myself constantly challenging friends as to why they stay in abusive relationships, as if being a long suffering African wife is normal.

 

I was so empowered and uplifted by all the speakers, Amina J Mohammad’s sense of humour her presence and Winnie Ssrumar reduced me to tears when she shared her experience as being HIV positive. I later met her and gave her a hug and she said to me “don’t worry about me I am fine” Wow I was spiritually high!! I am proud to say I AM A FEMINIST!!!

 

The event was flawless. The way in which it was organised, I got there by 7.30 am so I had a chance to see the team doing their stuff.  TedxEuston 2012 is a day to remember. Never have I been so proud to be an African. Kudos to the mighty team behind Tedx. I am grateful that they gave Afrocessories by J.M.Prempeh the opportunity to exhibit!!

 

I am really looking forward to next year!!!

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