Sisi Abah Folawiyo will forever remain one of the custodians of style. At 75, this fabulous woman still makes dresses for friends and clients. She maintained has thoroughly enjoyed her life and if given another chance, she would live it over again and again.
In a bare it all interview she had with us on life at 75, she let us into her experience, secret of longevity and words of advice to the youths…
You celebrated your 75th birthday days back. How does it feel clocking 75?
I feel so happy. I thank Almighty Allah for granting me good health. I am fulfilled. I thank God for that.
What is your interpretation of life at 75?
I can only tell you about my own life. I have stayed quiet all the years from my 40th, 50th till 75. One should take life easy, take it as it comes and be a happy person.
You stayed quiet before now, was there at reason for it?
I was a young person growing up, I was just happy with life and wanted to stay happy. I go for friends’ functions and that is all.
You don’t look 75, what is the secret of your radiant look?
I don’t have any, my dear. Thanks to God. I am happy for everybody. I take life easy, I take it as it comes. I don’t have anything that worries me, thank God for that. I am a fulfilled person.
What is the greatest lesson life has taught you at 75?
To stay as you are, always be yourself, be happy with others, accommodate people. Learn to accommodate people, it is very important.
What are the things your age would prevent you from doing now?
No, I don’t have. I do all things I have been doing since I was 40, 50, 60 years because I stay very quiet. I am not the go go woman. I go to weddings, parities celebrate with good friends that I love. If I have the chance, I would live my life all over again. No regrets. If I come back to this world, I want to stay the same person I have been.
75 years is not a joke, can you tell us the secret of longevity?
I don’t have any. I am a workaholic, I work very hard. I stayed in my factory all the years till I retired, maybe that is what keeps me happy being on the table cutting cloths and designing. I just love working. It is important that you do whatever you want to do well. It is very important.
What age did you retire?
I retired at 60.
Who took over from you?
Nobody, I hope my granddaughter would, she is still doing her own thing. Maybe when he gets to 40 she would take after me. She loves designing, in fact all my grand children design for me.
Do you miss that aspect of your life?
No, because some of my old customers wouldn’t let me go. I have chased them, I have asked them to go but they wouldn’t. They all love my designs. I have some old friends I make clothes for, little money to keep me going and that’s it.
Can you still recollect some childhood friends that are still with you till now?
I have many childhood friends that are still with me till today, many of them. The likes of Mrs. Onileere, Mrs. Asemota, Sheri Balogun, Florence Ita Giwa, many of them. We don’t quarrel. We don’t fight, we are all happy with one another.
Are you on a special diet because of your age?
No, I eat everything. I don’t believe in that in the first place. I eat what I like. I thank God for how he created me. I also thank my parents too. I had a beautiful mother and handsome father.
Your mother passed on at a very ripe age, will you say it is kind of genetical?
Well, I don’t know. My other siblings all lived long. It depends on what God has given you. My mum passed on at age 83. I pray I stay longer than that.
Life span in Nigeria is very short. What do you think the youths can do in other to live longer?
I don’t know, it is up to God. We just pray that God will continue to keep the youths.
What would you say you missed about your late husband?
I missed a lot about him, especially when I turned 75. I wish he was around but thank God, the children took over and everything turned out well. The children are always involved in all I do, thank God I am a happy woman. And of course my son is also around me. My daughter in law as well, she is also always around me. She is the daughter I never had. I am a happy woman.
What advice do you have for younger couples about marriage?
Many marriages break up today because of a lot of reasons. Not being patient is one of it, you just have to be patient. Men have different characters, you have to learn to stay with them. Men should also learn how to stay with women.
As a woman, you have to learn how to be calm, do whatever your husband wants you to do. Many girls want to go out, work and earn their money but once your husband says otherwise, you have to comply. If you talk to him and he listens, fine. If not, don’t quarrel, just obey him. Leave everything in the hands of your husband and God. Many women don’t have that patience. They want to be richer than their husbands. You just have to submit to your husband.
Aside making your own clothes, who makes clothes for you?
All designers, they all make clothes for me. Even my 75th birthday, three designers planned to dress me up. I love them and they love me too. I appreciate them and they appreciate me too. I wish them the best.
- Shade Wesley-Metibogun