One of my greatest joys in building Africanfinestmums is getting to discover and meet really amazing mums and learning more about them through their passions. In this feature post we get a quick and memorable glance at Ihu Nweke – wife, mum, designer, domestic violence awareness advocate, and so much more. We sat down with her for a quick interview about her and her upcoming event “Behind the mask”.
Please briefly introduce yourself
My name is Ihuaku (nee Chinyere-Ezeh) from Isiala Mbano in Imo State, Nigeria. I am married to Chidiebere Nweke from Enugu, Nigeria, and together we are parents to 3 lovely boys. I’m an MCIPS qualified Procurement professional, I’m the Founder of Cedarcube, a Christian based family and relationship agency, and I am the Founder and Design Director of I.Kollection which is an online designer jewellery, couture and fabrics store. Cedarcube was borne out of a passion for people and championing the building of strong relationships founded on Christian principles. I.Kollection was borne out of a childhood passion for fashion, designing clothes and putting outfits together.
What 3 things about you would people be surprised to know?
- I am a titled Chief. I was crowned “Olaedo” which means gold or beautiful jewel in Igbo, in my married hometown in Enugu in 2016.
- When I first moved over to the UK from Nigeria as a teen I had a bald head so many people thought I was a boy. Basically I mistakenly shaved my head (well a sizable patch. As you can imagine my mum wasn’t best pleased and gave me a beating before shaving my whole head. Talk about bad timing for an Igbotic girl from Nigeria, looking like a boy and starting a brand new school in the UK. It was rough and definitely not fun.
- I almost drowned at the age of 6 or 7 in a neighbour’s swimming pool. Luckily the neighbour noticed I was struggling and came to rescue me. Naturally because of this event I developed a phobia for pools, but when we relocated to the UK we had to go for swimming lessons as part of school, so I gradually overcame the fear, and even went on to undertake a Lifesavers training course.
Tell us about your organisation Cedarcube.
Cedarcube is a not for profit organisation, the concept of which was birthed in 2002 before I got married. It started off as a dating agency of sorts. As a single Christian lady, I couldn’t find any good social networking avenues for Christians to mingle to build friendships and relationships, so set about to create one. The name Cedarcube is derived from the Cedar trees of Lebanon. These trees are known for their height, strength, deep roots, and branches that reach out. For me that symbolises being well balanced and whole as a Christian, and growing deep in one’s faith to then be able to reach out to others. As for the cube when opened up it has six sides representing different but equal parts of the whole. This can be likened to your social, personal, spiritual life etc., and ensuring they are all balanced. Also when you open up the cube it forms the shape of the cross, then when you put the parts together it forms a solid whole. Again this symbolises about being a well balanced and solid Christian.
In the process of researching about setting up Cedarcube, I met my husband. As part of my research I was testing out other dating apps, and set up a profile without a picture. My husband reached out to me even without seeing a picture, and despite my efforts to scare him off by hardly responding, he persisted, and eventually wooed me with a poem. Funny enough the poem was his last ditch effort to get my attention before throwing in the towel and walking away, and it worked. It caught my eye, when we finally met it was pretty much love at first sight, and we’ve been together ever since.
You’ve got a Cedarcube event coming up.
Cedarcube has since evolved to a not for profit organisation based on Healing Hearts, (especially those that have suffered trauma), and Strengthening Families. These days there are a lot of marriages and individuals in marriages that are not thriving and nursing broken hearts, unforgiveness, trauma, dealing with abuse or other hurts. They are existing, but not able to move forward and progress because they’re harboring these issues that are weighing them and ultimately their families down.
So, our wonderful event “Behind the mask” coming up on the 27th of October aims to address and tackle the taboo subject of domestic abuse. In today’s society we have a lot of disillusioned people who have been let down by the ministry of marriage. They have found it doesn’t meet the expectations they had going in, and there is nowhere for them to get help. Many people are suffering in silence with physical or emotional abuse and there’s a lot of resentment harboured. People are hiding behind the mask of “everything’s okay”, “oh it is well”, when in fact it isn’t. The event aims to raise awareness of domestic violence in its various forms. This is important especially as many cultures hide it a lot and refrain from addressing it. When it is addressed it isn’t done so in a way that identifies the core issues or support to finding sustainable solutions to strengthen the relationship properly. This event is aimed at encouraging those who have or are suffering. The call is not to hide behind cultural or social media masks, but be courageous enough to seek help and advice to improve their situation. Through this event we will help raise funds to be able to provide subsidised counselling for those that need it. Getting help and being able to access help to deal with domestic violence is too substantive an issue to be swept under the carpet. Do watch our event promo video below.
If you were given 3 wishes to change the world what would they be?
- I would eradicate war. It is not necessary and causes so much pain.
- I would erase cross Atlantic slave trade as that opened the doors to a lot of societal injustices against those of African heritage. The repercussions of which we are still dealing with and haven’t recovered from till date.
- I would go even further back in time to talk to Eve and say, “Why in the world would you want to take that apple girl??!!!”. Then I’d slap it out of her hand or something. Our lives would be so much easier today.
Why should people attend “Behind the mask”?
It’s going to be a fantastic, not to be missed night. Cedarcube events are known for providing a touch of class, and this one will not disappoint. There’ll be great live jazz music, great networking, mouthwatering 3 course dinner, fashion catwalk with an opportunity purchase clothing and jewellery from award winning designers like Anita Quansah. There’ll also be an Afrobeat DJ so come ready to dance. Raffle draws, great giveaways, auctions etc. Finally there’ll be opportunity to hear from domestic violence survivors like our key note speaker Cllr Sandra Naden Horley, counsellors and therapists, and get behind and support a really great cause. It will be a night to remember. Hope to see you there.
Get your ticket at https://behindmask.eventbrite.co.uk
Thank you Ihu for a lovely interview, it was great getting to know a bit more about you. You can find and follow Ihu on her various social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Instagram – I.Kollection
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