2013 AfriPRO Houston Journal Edition

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Editor-in-Chief Tina Amadi

Articles & Editorials Vivian Elebiyo Linda Anukwuem

Journal Design & Branding Dejan Nikolic

Productions & Contribution Danna White Jane Udoewa Chigozie “Chichi” Anaele Nez Abrahams Henry Ukazu Mercy Okorie Gbemisola Ogunyomi

Executive Committee Linda Anukwuem, President Jane Udoewa, Vice President Tina Amadi, Secretary Abby Temeng, Membership Officer Louisa Kinoshi, Publicity Officer Houston Okonma, Community Relations Officer Nez Abrahams, Networking Officer



am excited to present our fifth edition. This year, we are still very much inspired by African leaders and Global change agents around the world that exemplifies what Africans are doing both home and abroad. Our theme this year, “Africa Future Leaders: The Next Generation” represents our organization vision and mission statement by showcasing a contemporary Africa, our passion, drive, interest on leadership, humanitarian service, social entrepreneurs and the next generation on the frontline. This year, in line with our thought provoking theme, we will feature a look at our Editorial on Nelson Mandela tribute, Spotlighting South Africa, Global humanitarian and servant leaders, future leaders-The Next Generation and AfriPRO Houston member’s profiles, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, artists and authors. The mission of AfriPRO Houston is to build a new positive image of and appreciation for Africa and Africans by organizing business, charitable, and social networking events that inform, educate, empower, and celebrate Africa and Africans. The purpose of the Journal is to continue to build a new positive image of and appreciation for Africa and Africans by informing, educating, empowering, and celebrating Africa and Africans through editorial pieces and special highlights. We look forward to your readership and support. We strive to make the content engaging with the following topics: Features: In honor of this year’s theme, “Africa Future Leaders: The Next Generation”. a comprehensive look at the continent and Diaspora as it relates to the: environment, social issues, leadership and humanitarian service. Business & Economics: Highlight financial outlook, Africa profiles of professionals climbing the corporate ladder, profiles of emerging social entrepreneurs. Art & Leisure: Emphasize the use of art for advoca-

cy in Africa, short stories, travel, book reviews and entertainment. Members: Highlight member achievements, individual and collective spotlights. Socio-Politics: Highlight community organizations, African politics and other social issues. Editorial: Highlight voices from different generations commenting on ongoing issues related to the environment, social issues, politics, entertainment. I appreciate all your feedback and continued support for AfriPRO Houston and The APHJ. I am passionate about getting our stories heard positively - The African story! It has been awesome serving this wonderful organization since 2010, Our founder Folake Ayoola, our Board of Directors and Executive team, members and sponsors have been supportive all the way, the experience is remarkable, meeting like minded professionals, making lifelong friends and impacting our communities both home and abroad has been a dream come true! Honestly, this has been an awesome ride. I am looking forward to the future with inspiration and gratitude to God for this wonderful opportunity to serve you. So long! A quote to live by: “Leadership is not a job; its a lifestyle.” ~ Unknown Enjoy! Yours truly, Tina Amadi, Editor in Chief secretary@afriprohouston.org amaditina@gmail.com

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MEET THE FOUNDER Folake Ayoola Chair, Board of Directors


olake Ayoola recently moved from New York City to the United States’ capital, Washington D.C., to serve as an attorney-advisor in the Division of Corporation Finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Prior to joining the Commission, Ms Ayoola was an associate in the securities and capital markets group of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York office, one of the world’s leading law firms. She started her legal career at the Houston office of Baker Botts LLP. In addition to her corporate practice, she has also worked on numerous pro bono matters. Ms Ayoola is admitted to the New York State Bar and the Texas State Bar. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, Houston Bar Association, and the Houston Young Lawyers Association. Ms Ayoola is currently a director and the immediate-past President of the Nigerian Lawyers Association (USA), which provides leadership and advocacy for the legal needs and interests of the Nigerian community in the United States. Ms Ayoola attended the Columbia University School of Law where she obtained her Juris Doctorate and Masters of Laws degrees. At the Columbia School of Law, she was, among other distinctions, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Parker School Certificate for Achievement in International & Comparative Law award recipient. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University College London, University of London (UCL), graduating with upper class honors (magna cum laude). At UCL, she was, amongst her numerous accomplishments and involvement, the Vice President of the Law Society, a prestigious law faculty students’ association, and a founding member and tutor for the “Property Law Peer Assisted Learning” (PAL) Program. When she is not busy practicing law, Ms Ayoola gives back to her community through her involvement with certain nonprofits she founded, including without limitation, AfriMETRO, Inc. (www.afrimetro.org). Ms Ayoola is an Associate of the Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI), an international non-profit organization and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (http://nli-global.org). She is a former Director of The Endeavor for Hope Foundation, a U.S. based charitable organization (www.efhf.org), and a former mentor for the Dress for Success Woman to Woman Mentoring Program. Ms Ayoola works tirelessly to make a positive impact in her community and, .in 2011, she was named one of the 50 at 50 Nigerian Women in the Diaspora by The New Nigerian Initiative in the Diaspora for her outstanding philanthropic contributions to the Nigerian community in America. In 2010, she was honored with the 2010 Emerging Leader Award by the Egbe Omo Obokum of Ijesaland (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut chapter). In 2008, she was recognized as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Nigerian Female Professionals by NiPRO International, Inc. for her academic prowess, professional excellence, community involvement, and philanthropy. In 2007, Ms Ayoola was awarded one of the Top 10 Individual Fundraisers by the Breast Cancer Network of Strength (formerly known as Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, or Y-ME), a Chicago-based national 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. Ms Ayoola is frequently invited to speak at various events and has been interviewed in connection with her community outreach endeavors (http://cultureshocknigerians.com/shows/episode-22-folake-ayoolas-giving-spirit/). She is an avid reader, enjoys traveling, swimming, and professional networking.

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CONFESSIONS OF APH MEMBERS What do you prefer: wine or beer? I actually don’t care for either. The only ‘beer’ I drink is Woodchuck, which is really a Pear Cider! I’d take Patron or Jose Cuervo over wine or beer any day.

Please give us a brief career and/or education background. I graduated in 2010 with a Bachelors of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Texas at MD Ander-

son Cancer Center. I worked in a clinical laboratory for 2 years after graduation. I’ve recently started a dual MD/ MPH program at St. George’s University in Grenada. Where do you see yourself five years from now? Fulfilling my lifetime desire of practicing medicine. What do you do in your spare time? I love reading books, watching cartoons, traveling and cooking for people I love. Life makes things hard enough and I like to spend my free time laughing, and spending time with people who make interest me and make me laugh. What was the last movie that you saw? I believe Brave, the Disney/Pixar film. Loved it. :)

Yemi Arogunmati

oil and gas companies in Houston. My team develops and implements cutting edge geophysical technologies. In my first role, I worked on a research and development project aimed at redefining how seismic data are collected offshore. In my current role, I work as a seismic processor. I have a BS degree in Applied Geophysics from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, an MS Degree in Geophysics from Rice University, and a PhD in Geophysics from Stanford University. I have an interest in developing start-ups in the energy, agriculture, and technology industries.

Please give us a brief career and/or education background. I am a geophysicist with one the major

Where do you see yourself five years from now? In five years, I see myself being a ver-

satile geophysicist, capable of running a wide range of discipline related projects in the oil and gas industry. I should also be well advanced in the process of getting my start-ups established. What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time, I enjoy cycling, photography, cooking, swimming, and traveling (excluding the airport experience). Nothing beats the internal peace and pleasure I derive from these activities. What was the last movie that you saw? Dark Knight Rises. What do you prefer: wine or beer? Wine of course. What lessons have you learned in life? Nothing comes easy. Success is achi­

eved through hard work, sacrifice and dedication. A strong support system is needed to go through the toughest times in life, which we all have. What advice would you share based on your experience? The people around us determine, to a large extent, how far we go in life. Choose your friends and mentors carefully. Always set achievable goals, and seek the training and skill development required to reach those goals. Who do you admire the most? Why? Nelson Mandela. He understood the value of freedom and he fought for it. He was a true leader who was not willing to accept the status quo.

AFRIPRO Houston. Where do you see yourself five years from now? If the last 5 years are anything to go by, it is unwise to speculate. My God has an amazing sense of humor that always works in my best interest. Thus far, I have been extremely blessed. It will only get better by God’s grace. What do you do in your spare time? I am an avid reader and always have a wish list that far surpasses the boundaries of my natural capacity. I voraciously listen to audio books. I also spend a lot of time planning mentorship events for high school students.

lieve in yourself. Do not be afraid to look outside the box, approach new frontiers, or implement novel ideas. It is amazing how many times we are on the verge of accomplishing something ground-breaking but founder because we are too scared or afraid to break with the status quo. What advice would you share based on your experience? I try to live my life by the “5V” principle: always clearly define your VISION, live by your VALUES, harvest and hone your VIRTUES, manage and control your VICES, and always let the best combination of the other “4 Vs” shape your VEHICLE as you navigate life’s various meandering paths. Who do you admire the most? Why? Undoubtedly my parents. My FATHER: for his implacable conviction, matchless perseverance, and phenomenal leadership qualities. My MOTHER: for teaching and showing me the meaning of boundless, endless, and indescribable love.

Sope Willoughby

Ojay Anyaeji Please give us a brief career and/or education background. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering obtained cum laude from Texas A&M University. Additionally, I received a Master’s degree in Electric Power Systems from Texas A&M University with a perfect cumulative GPA. My 6 years of work experience spans 3 continents (Africa, Europe, and America) and encompasses the areas of semiconductor manufacturing, engineering consulting, renewable energy, electric power utilities, and Oil/Gas. Following attainment of my bachelor’s degree in 6 APHJ / 2013

2006, I joined Texas Instruments as a product engineer responsible for designing, maintaining, and optimizing hardware & software systems used to test semiconductor devices. My work experience also includes internship stints with Lahmeyer International and O.T OTIS Engineering. I joined Exxon Mobil in 2011 as a Senior Project Engineer with responsibilities for creating, managing, and updating tools/ resources used by electrical engineers on Exxon Mobil projects across the world. I currently serve as an Electrical Engineering Lead on a large capital Oil & Gas development in the Arctic region. I try to stay active outside the workspace and have occupied multiple roles in this regard. I previously served as the Vice President of Membership for the TITalkers Toastmasters Club in Stafford, Texas. I currently serve as an Alumni Advisor to the African Student’s Association at Texas A&M and as a program chair for various mentorship programs organized by the Nigerian American Multicultural Center. I am also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, &

What lessons have you learned in life? It may sound cheesy, but although I am shaped by my past mistakes and missteps, I’m not defined by them. I have to remind myself of that daily. What advice would you share based on your experience? Its really easy to compare yourself to other people, but your life is a journey and no one walks the same path. Your only responsibility is to be the best version of yourself you can be, and that takes time. I wish I knew when I was younger that this great life awaited me,

What was the last movie that you saw? “Nothing but the Truth” on Netflix. It is not a Nigerian movie…I promise you, and the last assertion is nothing but the truth. What do you prefer: wine or beer? Neither, but if I had to choose, I would opt for red wine. What lessons have you learned in life? Fortune favors the bold. Be audacious and confident about your ideas. Be-

I just had to be willing to keep being me to get it! Not only that, turns out people love me the way I am! I don’t have to be other person to be successful or loved. It is really freeing when you come to that realization. Who do you admire the most? Why? My parents/Family. They saw potential in me as a child that I couldn’t truly wrap my mind around. They wouldn’t let my fear of being great, or my incredible stubbornness keep me from actually being great. Their love, prayers and patience are the reason I am the person I am right now. They showed me that there is nothing in this life that a person can’t recover from, and I will spend the rest of my life showing them their investment in me wasn’t wasted.

AFRIPRO HOUSTON INTERVIEW / FEATURE Recently Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO part advice book “ Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” is for women to lean in more at work. How do you balance work and life? For me, I create a to do list for the week and I check off the task items as they are completed when time permits. I write everything down so I keep my planner with me just in case I need to update or make any additions. Of course, I hope I complete everything as planned within the time period but if I don’t, I continually add that item each week until I have completed it. Time is precious so I truly try to use it wisely. What advice do you have for women in Leadership? EXCELLENCE IS PURSUED AND NOT GIVEN! We met with you during Generation Rochas Launch in July 2012 and watched the videos, where the Governor of Imo State was honored and you shared how you met him, your persistence and honoring leaders and mentors who make a difference. What is your advice to upcoming generation on leadership?

LINDA ADANMA ANUKWUEM Hello Linda! We are excited to get to you know better, tell us more about your background, education and interests? I am the “Ada” in my family and have been raised and trained to be just that. I attended the University of Houston and graduated with a B.S. in Sociology. My interests are simple. Movies. And hopefully, the ones that contain Vin Diesel or even better, “The Rock”. I’m addicted to music especially the ones that mimic the different emotions of life. But for the most part, young people interest me because they represent how a society, a world and a country are changing within minutes. As the president of AfriPRO Houston, how do you stay motivated? Organized? The future motivates me. To not know the unknown possibilities motivates me enough to get through the present. I always wonder why AfriPRO Houston has become a vessel in my life and a learning platform for me. It is simple and to the point, to nurture my ongoing dreams and retain experience that will prepare and aid me in the future. I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could. How do you measure success in any project or event? To measure success is dependent on what you did to see the project through. Did you put in the necessary time to plan, prepare and perfect your project or event to your liking? In the end, you know the effort that was put in and you will know the result before your project or event concludes. What inspires you to make a difference? Complicated people. As clueless as they are to their own selfish ways, sometimes it’s easy to see they have been misguided or in most cases, easily influenced. How do you handle stress and pressure? Psalm 46:10 ‘Be still and know that I am God.” I meditate on this verse because it helps me to find peace. In addition, there are a handful of people that I call my friends and raise the standards of true friendship. Sometimes these handful of people walk with me through it, rather through prayer or just to give their ears to listen. What are your goals in the next five to ten years? Lol. Only God knows. But I would like to see the projects that I am currently working on to flourish and be stabilized in five years. In ten years, those projects would need to have impacted many individuals and fulfill the mission to it’s capacity and more. As an individual, I hope to have grown into this wise person and have learned the many lessons in life that I am currently going through at this time I call my wilderness filled with trial and tribulation. But as they say, “the sun cometh in the morning!’

Lead for the people and your community. When you get to the point where you have truly made it, turn around and reach out your hand to another individual to give them an opportunity. We have to remember that we have to help each other so the next person can do the same for someone else. But for the most part, DREAM, and make it happen! What keeps you up at night? My thoughts. In most cases, the future. How can I partake and contribute to my country where it compels the influentials in leadership to take a stand for the less fortunate, which is considered a huge percentage of the country. Where they are able to partake in the economy. With no intention to focus on corruption, it needs to be diluted but it is embedded in the history of the culture so how can it truly be addressed? I’ve dreamed about it and with time, the next generation will have to begin to disseminate that ugly part of the culture. How do you pick your team or partners to work with? What do you look for in a team? Passion and our differences. I embrace controversial feedback especially if it does not align with what I want. We are all different and our audience is composed of people with different paradigms, understandings, visions, and let’s face it, we all see the world differently from our own lenses. What is your favorite book, destination and food? Favorite Book: “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli. Favorite Destination: Anyplace near the ocean is suitable for me, and my thoughts. Favorite food: Shawarma What areas do you think Africa Future Leaders should focus on? ….the Next Generation! Do you have any regrets? In your life experiences what advice can you give your 15 year old self? Life can get ugly before its gets beautiful. What this means is, those steps that are needed are not even a place I want to go but in our biggest challenges we have to go through it. Those steps are full of pain, sweat, even tears, headaches, arguments, debates, fallen ones but glory will meet you on the other side. You came, saw, and conquered. You will be thankful for the struggle because it perfected your grind. And when you think you can’t then envision Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Oprah, Nelson Mandela, your parents or someone who you see as a role model. Linda Adanma Anukwuem, graduate of University of Houston, has a worldly imagination that possesses strength and virtue. She is constantly working to improve the next idea that grabs her attention while honing her skills on the current one. She breathes and lives for the future, Generation Rochas. www.generationrochas.com. 2013 / APHJ 7




heque’In is the new retro inspired swimwear line from the Kachi Designs collection. It is composed of spring colors with a soft, yet fierce feminine vibe. The line is reminiscent to 1960s swim fashion & features two-piece suits and one-pieces embellished with fringes and cutouts. Established 2010, Kachi Designs is the brainchild of upcoming, selftaught designer Chigozie “Chi Chi” Anaele. A true visionary, artist and entrepreneur, Chi Chi produced her very first ensemble using her own bedding. Fall of 2 0 1 0 , Chigozie branched out into creating her own ready to wear clothing; full of innovation and style, the demand for her designs soared. Kachi Designs is an inclusive band of West African influence that endeavors to help women see their own dynamic beauty through brilliant diverse patterns and styles. Kachi Designs has participated in Houston Fashion Week, African Fashion Week New York, 8 APHJ / 2013

New York Fashion Week, Maryland Fashion Week, and Brooklyn Fashion Week and did recently on the fashion Debra Duncan host edition on Great Day Houston. Kachi conjures up the animated and fun-loving side of every w o m an. Her eclectic collections of contemporary and vintage-inspired apparel and accessories imbue life through African culture. She treats silhouettes as canvases to be filled with kaleidoscopic patterns and colors— transformi n g fashion into art. Her brand is primarily anchored in representing the versatility of Ankara— a 100% cotton fabric, patterned to perfection and popularized by West Africans. Kachi pieces bring life and sophistication to any wardrobe. For more information, please visit www.kachidesigns. com Photo credit – Obi Grant Photography



his summer 2013, on June 1st, Aesthetics Cosmetics returned to Lagos Nigeria, to the renowned and internationally recognized Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island to host the second edition of PAMPER ME PRETTY- The LARGEST SPA BEAUTY EVENT to take place in Nigeria. Following this event on June 8th 2013 was the launch of Aesthetics cosmetics and Pamper Me Pretty for the very first time in Ghana at the renowned Silver Bird Lounge in The Accra Mall, Ghana. The Pamper Me Pretty event was carefully designed by Gbemisola Ogunyomi, CEO of Aesthetics Cosmetics to celebrate women of all ages in the African community by providing professional spa beauty services by the best Makeup Artists, Nail Technicians, Aestheticians and Masseuses at highly discounted rates that are easily affordable for the average working class African woman. Spa beauty services provided at the Pamper Me Pretty event included express spa facials, manicures, pedicures, both traditional and airbrush makeovers and full body massages. All beauty products provided at the Pamper Me Pretty event were from the Aesthetics Cosmetics Redwine and Blueberries Luxury Skincare Collection, the brand new Aesthetics Cosmetics Flawless Airbrush Makeup System and their entire line of beauty products, which were made available for purchase by customers at discounted rates during the duration of the event.

Gbemisola and the entire Aesthetics Cosmetics Team held nation wide auditions both in Nigeria and Ghana to scout for the best beauty service providers that Nigeria and Ghana had to offer. The audition requirements were broad casted on 96.9 Cool FM and 107.9 FM the number #1 radio stations both in Nigeria and Ghana. Professional Makeup Artists, Nail Technicians, Aestheticians and Masseuses were all given the opportunity to showcase their skills to the Aesthetics Cosmetics CEO who made the final decision on which of the contestants would be added on to the team. There were over 500 women present at the auditions in both Nigeria and Ghana and a team 60 women were selected to join The Aesthetics Cosmetics Team. On June 1st, 2013 the Pamper Me Pretty event kicked off at The Oriental Hotel Lagos, Nigeria with an outstanding number of people (both men and women) in attendance along with all the top media houses in Nigeria such as the renowned SilverBird Television, M-Net TV, Studio 53 Extra and Glam Report TV which both broadcast on DSTV and African Magic, Bella Naija, 96.9 COOL FM, 99.9 The Beat FM and so much more. The décor and ambiance in the Oriental Hotel Ball room was extremely beautiful and carefully designed to have all the spa equipment, towels, spa floor mats, tables, and chairs in pink, white and green. The event hall was demarcated in spa beauty sections with 5 professional


beauty service providers in each section, ready to provide each customer with the best spa beauty service Lagos, Nigeria had to offer As each customer walked in, they were handed a free cocktail, red velvet cake, finger foods and a brochure hand out with all the Pamper Me Pretty Spa services and prices listed. The event started off with the CEO of Aesthetics Cosmetics providing FREE workshops on skin care, hair care, makeup application and

total body wellness followed by one on one skincare consultations and Q & A sessions. There was nothing but RAVE reviews all throughout the day and customers stayed busy on social media telling all their friends about the amazing spa beauty products by Aesthetics Cosmetics and the professional spa beauty services being provided at the Pamper Me Pretty event. The event in Nigeria was a great success and this fueled the excitement in Ghana as the

women awaited Aesthetics Cosmetics and Pamper me Pretty to be launched for the first time ever in their Country. On June 8th the highly anticipated Pamper Me Pretty event in Accra, Ghana at The renowned SilverBird Lounge was in full effect! In Attendance were all the top media houses and celebrities in Ghana such as GHONETV, ETVGH, MULTI-TV, GHANIAN TIMES, SPY GHANA, THE

BE BOLD SHOW, GO WOMAN AFRICA, MY JOY ONLINE, 107.9 YFM, AMA K ABEBRESE (Award Winning Actress), EFYA AWINDO (Award Winning Songtress), NEOLLA wiyaala (Award winning Songtress), LADY JAY (Afro Pop Singer) and so much more., Aesthetics Cosmetics is scheduled to be back in Nigeria and Ghana to host yet another fabulous event in December 2013.

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AFRIPRO HOUSTON BRINGS WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE “LET’S MOVE” TO THE COMMUNITY Jane Udoewa is AfriPRO Houston Vice President. She enjoys organizing Health and Fitness awareness programs for the community.


very year AfriPRO Houston organizes a free Health and Fitness event for members and the community. But as you know, healthy living is not a once a year event, its a lifestyle and it is very important that families encourage each other to make daily decisions that affect their health. With that in mind, this year AfriPRO Houston decided to take this event a step further and involve not only members but also their family and the surrounding community. Thus we joined forces with the First lady, Michelle Obama’s White House Initiative called Let’s Move. Last year, Let’s Move was held at the HBU Fitness Center. We saw families come out who engaged in conversations surrounding health. We were able to have Stacey Harper, Lieutenant Commander, of the U.S. Public Health Service provide education, and exposure to an active lifestyle that will help people make informed choices about their well-being. This event reminded people of all ages and sizes to make movement a part of their daily lives. HBU’s own Zumba instructors came out and really showed us how to add fun, and flair to health!

This year, July 12, 2013 at the Boys and Girls Club located in Finnigan Park, Let’s Move Houston was back in effect! In partnerships with NAHSE Houston, Let’s Move engaged and encouraged the youth to live a better healthy lifestyle by having conversations surrounding health, providing education, and exposure to active lifestyles that will help them make informed choices about their well-being. The event kicked off with a welcome speech from Houston’s City Controller Ronald Green, followed by

an action packed healthy hip-hop dance! Afterwards, attendees rotated around from station to station learning healthy tips. Some of the stations included the American Diabetes Association, Eye Examinations, scoliosis testing given by TruCare Physical Therapy, and a cooking demo by Chef Micheal Holderfield and more! For more information on how you can get involved in a neighborhood near you, please visit http://www. letsmove.gov/



ercy Okorie is no stranger to the spotlight. The former member and captain of the Nigerian National Women’s Basketball Team is currently a TV Host and Reporter for the Millennium Broadcasting Channel (MBC). But this 6 foot, Lagos-born lady hasn’t traded her sneakers in for stilettos just yet. Her passion for the game and her desire to make a difference motivate her to give back to the community. Mercy uses her own, personal resources to run a basketball clinic for female middle school, high school and college players. These workout sessions are held annually and are free for the players that at-tend. Her mission is to teach the girls how to be successful both on and off the court, by creating an environment where work ethic, confidence, teamwork, and leader-ship skills are developed. After graduating from Texas State University, she be-gan pursuing a career as a professional basketball player, but the journey wasn’t easy. 10 APHJ / 2013

“I didn’t have things handed to me. I had to work for everything. My stats in college weren’t good enough to attract WNBA agents or coaches, but inside me I felt I was-n’t done playing. With a lot hard work, a lot of pa-tience, A LOT of prayer and the support of my fam-ily, I’ve been able to travel and play all over the world. I thank God for everything.” Mercy never had coaching in mind, but she realized younger girls were looking up to her, and has determined to help where she can. “I see the need and the responsibility. I believe leadership is not about titles or recognition; it’s about service and setting a good example. It’s about listening, in order to lead effectively. By God’s grace, I’ve come this far and I want to inspire others to realize their potential, and accomplish great things. I’ve been blessed and I want to be a blessing.”

Mercy Okorie played in Turkey, her first year over-seas and had a remarkable season. Thereafter, she was selected to join Nigeria’s National Women’s Basket-ball Team where she helped the team win the FIBA Africa Cup Championship. This win qualified Nigeria

for the FIBA World Championship for Women held in Brazil, the following year. She was also made captain of the team that represented Nigeria at the Common-wealth Games in Australia.


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reative thoughts and ideas are endless and free flowing. I, like most, have been reflecting on recent political, social, environmental and economic changes and downturns. As an artist, the turmoil I see made me want to issue some sort of social commentary or make a change, but how? I have always wanted my works to uplift the viewer or evoke a positive vibe.

RELEASE YOUR INNER ARTIST! By Danna White Speaks to the violence during civil rights efforts in America’s south

My answer was to make use of recycled materials by creating delicately decorated mirrors and paintings abstracts of social issues with evoking titles. These are MY offerings to date. I encourage you not to no only enjoy my works but to get out there and discover your own way to express yourself and Release Your Inner Artist! Good or Bad, Evoke Something! http://dannawhitesite.webs.com

Speaks to the people of northern Africa’s shouts for freedom and justice and their government’s efforts to drown those shouts down to a meager whisper

Speaks to environmental concerns (deforestations, air and water pollution) Speaks to the violence on the African continent Danna White is our contributing columnist, an artist, writer and humanitarian. She lives in Houston, Texas and can be reached at dannawhite2010@yahoo.com












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process of applying for the 501c3 to gain access to funding sources to finance its programs. MISSION

IMPANDE YE AFRICA “The Root of Africa” P.O. Box 771511, Houston, TX. 77215 Tel: 713/771-0635 Email: impande@att.net www.impandetheatreproduction.com

Impande Ye Africa-is a performing arts company that preserves, creates, teaches and presents the cultural experience of Africa. VISION

BRIEF BACKGROUND Impande Ye Africa meaning “The Root of Africa”, is a production and performing arts company founded in 2012, that serves as an Authentic

trative offices are located at 6440 Hillcroft, Suite 217 and the studio is located at 3333 Fannin Street Suite 101, Houston Texas. Impande Ye Africa is led by its

Company Directors also enforces company policies and procedures. Impande Children’s Theatre is a theatre for children that is branching out from the main company and will be operated and guided under

It is the vision of Impande Ye Africa Production Company to see African dance and theatre forms thrive both artistically and professionally; and to serve as a catalyst for Youth in Community development in the city of Houston and throughout the United States. Through our Educational activities, concerts and other community outreach events, the company hopes to build an audience that not only appreciates the Art, but wants to be part of the Art VALUE STATEMENT Impande Ye Africa Production Company believes in offering programs designed to reinforce a community value system that restores cultures with values that are vital to the development of today’s youth. COMMITMENT STATEMENT Impande Ye Africa Production Company’s commitment is to pro-

African Cultural Theatre that provides activities throughout Houston and Nationwide, educating young and old in schools, colleges, libraries, communities, and festivals with live educational programs. Impande Ye Africa strives to preserve the history and traditions of the continent of Africa, captivating Southern African cultures. Impande is offering authentic works of art forms in dance, theatre productions, music, and storytelling, providing authentic and contemporary enter-tainment with an authentic appearance in costumes and props that represents different tribes of Africa. Housed in central heart of Houston, Impande Ye Africa will maintain a presence in the marketplace and will strongly associate with the “site” of the performances. Impande Ye Africa’s operating and adminis-

founder and artistic visionary, Cynthia “Thandi” Mthembu-Hicks, whose experience and background in the performing arts, particularly dance and music, has gained national and international recognition. Mrs. Mthembu-Hicks, a native of South Africa, will guide the artistic vision of the company to have a strong South African cultural influence and other Southern Countries. This makes Impande Ye Africa dance programming unique from most African dance programs in the United States of America, in that it does not have to compete with the hundreds of dance companies that have a West African dance influences. The administrative and operational aspects of the company are overseen and governed by the partnership of Thandi Mthembu Hicks and Reginald Hicks. The

the same vision and mission form Impande Ye Africa. Impande Children’s Theatre is in the

vide quality programming that advances Excellence, Integrity, Social Responsibility and Cultural Diversity. 2013 / APHJ 13




ccording to John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” There is no gainsaying the fact that, leaders are born not made. Though some jurisprudential scholars have opined that leaders are made, however, it is this author’s position such discussions should be analyzed objectively and subjectively. Now who is a true leader? we shall be examining the word “Leader,” the relativity of the concept and its interrelationship to nation building, within the context of the African leadership and the place of the youths in Africa in nation building.


vangelist Chukwuemeka (Success) Ekeh is a perfect example of servant leadership skills hard at work, He is worth a special highlight in this edition for his service and love for the people and his community. The grassroots movement his organization embarks on are in the inner city and remote areas that are not popular. The Humanitarian ministry requires a servant leader who is focused and determined to make a change, one who abandons the path chosen by many but a road less travelled. God has given him a mandate to show love to his people through facilitating several medical mission and environmental projects in the community where it is mostly needed. He is the Founder of Liberty of Christ world outreach ministries and the Executive Director of Initiative for Environmental Sustainability and Development (IFES&D), an International humanitarian organization, non-governmental, non- profit, gender sensitive, voluntary aid network promoting sustainable development through adequate research, travel, education, community health, desired participation and raising awareness on environmental issues, founded in 2005 and was registered with the corporate affairs commission (CAC) Nigeria in the year 2012. Many communities in Imo and Abia State, Eastern Nigeria have benefited a lot in the fundings of the organization on health awareness campaigns such as long lasting insecticide treated nets, ACT malaria drugs, quarterly social mobilization and education on causes and preventive measures on malaria, typhoid, and other preventable diseases, to the communities selected, higher institutions, post primary and primary school students “catch them young” campaigns teaching preventive measure putting to action the saying, prevention is better than cure. The organization is now presenting their 2013 gender initiative campaign in Nigeria “Against female genital mutilation” starting with 10 communities. Their focus and mission is to cover other Local Government Areas(LGA) in Imo and Abia States and to begin expanding their reach other states in Nigeria and countries in Africa. There are several partnership and sponsorship levels for healthcare, education and environmental sustainability within the organization. About the Servant Leader: Evangelist Chukwuemeka Ekeh, “Success” as most of his friends call him, is a catalyst for change, humanitarian and evangelist. He has dedicated his life to doing God’s work, service and seeing positive changes in the community. He is interested in projects that makes a difference and uplift the human conditions. He is passionate about creating visible changes in the communities. The gender sensitive programs his organization leads are the most remarkable, sharing information on gender inequality, women rights, education, health, with collaborations from several international agencies, healthcare professionals, government, ministries and advocacy groups. You can contact for more information on partnership, sponsorship and speaking engagements: Address: 3 Umez eronini street, Ikenegbu layout, Owerri, Imo state, Nigeria. Email: emi4joy@gmail.com Phone: +234803612737, Facebook: www.facebook.com/Ifesd 14 APHJ / 2013

In the words of Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Along the same line, according to John Maxwell, a leader is a person who is able to motivate the people while being close enough to relate with them. Leadership is thus an art, a gift, a skill and a powerful instrument in the hands of the holder, as a power, if used for its legitimate purpose. The world has indeed experienced many forms of leadership which has shaped the global world both negatively and positively. Africa is making progress and developing, President Nelson Mandela, the first black President to have visited the White House was instrumental to the success of South Africa because of his stands against the apartheid. He fought for a cause he believed in, despite been sent to prison, he never relented and continued to fight for the emancipation of his people after he left the prison. Even after he left the prison he contested and won the presidential election. Same thing can be said for President Barack Obama, who fought for a cause he believed in using the youths to make history during the 2004 presidential elections. The development of Africa no doubt is the hands of the youths. The current leadership in majority of the regions are affected by corruption. The system is indeed broken and needs to be fixed. Some of the problems facing the regions is poor leadership, corruption, poor infrastructures, poverty. The youths are to become willing to make the desired change, which Africa needs and deserves, they need to learn interpersonal skills in addition to improving themselves academically, socially, morally, psychologically and otherwise. In other to solve a problem, the problem has to be identified. We shall discuss some of the issues that have really affected the development of the

African region and how the youths can fix it. ORIENTATION: The greatest problem and disease that can ever occur to man is poverty of the brain/mind. This is by far the greatest cancer that is prevalent in the minds of the average man in African. DISCIPLINE: This is one of the greatest problems that have really affected the region. The attitude and lackadaisical attitude which the current leaders in the continent have exhibited in recent times, are not encouraging to the youths. POVERTY: This is one area most African leaders have failed their citizens, because most African leaders, have refused to make even, in the distribution of wealth and natural resources. It’s advisable that the present youth stop this unhealthy attitude. EMPOWERMENT: This is another area most African leaders have failed the region, the communities are not properly empowered.The youths in Africa have to realize that it’s time they face the issues, fix the problem and stop the blame game. CHARACTER: No country in the world can function effectively without a vibrant leader, who is both a leader and a follower. Africa has been known for some many stereotypes-corruption, terrorism, internet scam, poverty, dictatorship. Africa is our mother land, Africa is our home, and just like it’s been said, civilization started first in Africa (Egypt). I implore my fellow youth, those of us in diaspora and wherever we are located that if we want to effect this change, join me in this clarion call, and say yes to the movement, we can change, we need change.

About the Author: Henry Ukazu is the Public Relations Officer for the Nigerian Lawyers Association (NLA). Henry immigrated to the United States in 2008. He recently earned an LL.M. in Tax Law from New York Law School. While in Law School, he was an active member of the Black Law Student Association, he also interned at Thurgood Law firm. Henry believes in change, and he believes the youths are the agents of change. His desire to see a better society, He promotes leadership at LEAD Nigeria, an organization which seeks to empower the youth through Leadership Empowerment, Advancement and Development. Henry is a big believer of leadership through service. He hopes to return to Nigeria in the near future to serve his fellow compatriots. You can reach him on email: Henrous@gmail.com




ove. As a child growing up in Africa your story echoed boldly throughout the church walls, classroom, market square and village gathering.

to give your life in sacrifice for your people, for the greatest good. Liberty!

Inspiration. Your famous speech ignited the fire in me that peace, human rights and democracy are our divine rights.

tion, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” ~ Nelson Mandela. Facing the death penalty his words to the court at the end of his famous ‘Speech from the Dock’ on 20 April 1964

“I have fought against white domina-

A Call to SERVE: You were prepared

Mandela! Our generation look up to

Faith. The story of a leader who gave his life in prison for his beloved nation.

Jesus Christ died for us on the cross, our sins are forgiven, our liberty is guaranteed and through this grace we can come to God. Our salvation rest in his sacrifice. In John Chapter 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].

BIAFRA: WHEN I TURNED 30 By Ofili in Memoirs Of An Immigrant, Success


hen I turned 30 my father began telling me stories about the Biafran war. At first his stories were sporadic and short, but soon they became more routine and detailed. I never understood why he waited till I was 30 before telling me stories of the war, maybe he wanted me to be a bit mature. To be honest that would not have been a surprise because many of the stories he told were heart-wrenching and cringe worthy. Such as the stories of the pogrom where people were slaughtered en-masse and their dead bodies loaded onto trains and sent into villages in the East or the time when a Young Doctor arrived home from work only to be sprayed to death by the random bullets of the Russian MIG planes. I always wondered how he remembered the exact type of air-craft that was attacking them, but as more stories unfolded, I began to realize that airplanes and sporadic shooting had begun a daily part of life in the East. Much like NEPA taking light is routine, aircraft’s spraying villages and cities with bullets was normal. So normal was the occurrence that it led to some funny stories. I remember the story about a church marriage. The couple had just made their wedding vows

and topped it off with the classic phrase “for better for worse” when a Russian MIG airplane probably sent by God to test their faith…began spraying church. By the time the commotion had subsided, the church was in tatters. And the newly wedded couple? The groom had completely disappeared, leaving his wife behind in the church. I guess for better or worse did not include 100’s of bullets falling from the sky. PART II Now it was agreed that in the advent of an attack on Port-Harcourt, that all the refinery engineers and technicians would meet up in the Imo city of Owerrinta (which means small Owerri). These arrangements were made because engineers and technicians

Tina Amadi Author, “Rebranded for Christ” (Summer 2013) Tina Amadi is an inspirational speaker, author, trainer, bible scholar, and humanitarian. She enjoys serving in women ministry and public relations consulting for ministries and non profit organizations, going on international mission trips. She has a degree in business administration. She is founder of Hannah’s House International Foundation a restoration center for women and children. Websites: www.thehannahshouse.org • rebrandedforchrist.com Email: amaditina@gmail.com you. We study your life as example for leadership, resilience and strength. We are grateful for your exemplary life! God bless you. Sir. His Excellency, Nelson Mandela. President of South Africa [10 May 1994 - 14 June 1999]

were prized assets in the war. So their movement and security was paid special attention. At Owerrinta they met with the local Nigerian engineers from the Shell production companies. These were the people responsible for providing the oil that the refinery processed. All of them were eventually moved to Uzoakoli secondary school, where a quasi-research team from Shell Nigeria and BP Nigeria had already began building a refinery.
(Now at this point I interrupt my Dad, to ensure that he knows what he is saying…cause I did not believe it was possible to build a refinery under those circumstances, it was a war, and they had only been taught about how a refinery worked but not to build it!) But my Dad insisted that they did actually build a refinery, they were able to build it from salvaged parts from the old refinery and scrap metals that were welded together. The first refinery had already been built before my Dad’s team had got there, but still they had a chance to influence the design of the refinery as they had first hand knowledge on how a refinery was operated. The new refinery was eventually completed and they were able to independently get it functioning and refining oil… Excerpt from my latest book “Our Dangerous Addiction To Intelligence” coming sooon… I swear… real soon… definitely will be out before NEPA stops taking light in your House =D 2013 / APHJ 15


16 APHJ / 2013


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