-as she launches African Woman campaign
With a powerful voice and dogged determination, Waje has sang her way to the top. Now she wants other young ladies to have same opportunity.
Born Atiuaje Iruobe, the beautiful mother of one and I Am Inspired crooner has launched African Woman campaign to give more young ladies the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
In this chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, she spoke on the campaign, her NGO (Waje Safe House), her music and her pretty daughter…
Your African Woman campaign is a bold initiative. Tell us more about it?
There has been an important and often misunderstood concept in the narratives for gender equality which is opportunity. African Woman campaign is to create awareness about the need to guarantee the same opportunities for education and life choices for the African girl or woman. I will also be launching a scholarship fund for five bright young women who are unable to complete their education through financial difficulties. While the scholarship fund will commence first in Nigeria, it will be extended throughout Africa in the future. We will be touring Africa starting in January through to March and we already enjoy support from organisations and highly placed individuals at every stop.
What is the drive behind this initiative for you?
Our women do not have the opportunity to make better lives for themselves. There is a need to enlighten them and let them know that they can be the driving force of African growth.
How much support do you have for the African Woman initiative, it will be quite capital intensive?
I will be supported by some organisations including ONE for which I am an ambassador and headliner of the song Strong girl. I am also a purple ambassador for 50/50 rights for women so I am trying to get support in any form it appears from across the world. So far we have support from Barkue Tubman who is a leading equal opportunity force in Liberia, we have support from the wonderful people at Okay Africa and Tiwa Works which is based in the USA, the Muse Media group in Ghana. Pulse in Nigeria and so many more.
Do you think gender equality is really attainable in Africa, in the face of several similar campaigns in the past?
Of, course it is attainable. With time and the right enlightenment with African women, we will get there. Besides, this campaign comes at a critical time when worldwide conversations have kicked off around the subject of gender equality with world leaders and influential personalities like Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and actress Emma Watson as some of its biggest supporters.
How important is girl child education to the society at large?
Girl Child education is very important as it helps promote gender equality, reduce poverty, lower child mortality rates resulting from unwanted pregnancies, protect against HIV/AIDS and many more.
What is the role of the government in achieving this?
We haven’t received any support from the government so far yet. We are expectant though.
What has the year turned out for you?
I would say that this has been my best year yet. This year alone I had a mini tour in East Africa and the love was overwhelming. I was also one of the headliners of the Strong girl campaign for ONE and got to meet Bono of U2 and attend the World Economic Forum in Johannesburg. This year, I also performed for the first of what will be many more performances in Hollywood! I performed on the same stage with people like Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, Jordin Sparks of American idol. I even got to meet Michael Jackson’s elder sister. It was also this year we launched the African Women campaign and the response has been overwhelming. It has truly been a very busy year. From music and video releases to many more major projects. I am also at work on my second album.
Would you say you’ve hit all your targets thus far?
I have hit the Hollywood target (laughs) there is so much more. As they say the journey is the destination, my goal is to make the most of the journey to meeting my dreams.
What should your fans expect from you in the remaining weeks of the year, music wise?
My new album, the African woman campaign and so much more!
What are your projections for 2016?
I am working on some major projects for 2016.
At what point would you say your African woman campaign is a success?
I would say this campaign is a success when I begin to see African women being given equal opportunities in the society as regards education and their life choices.
Your daughter is almost a full grown woman now, what are some of the values you’ve instilled in her over the years?
Education is key and crucial, it is the biggest open door of opportunity a woman can be given to succeed. Luckily I have been blessed with a daughter who excels at her studies.
How many projects has Waje Safe House undertaken this year and how much success have you recorded?
Waje Safe House has undertaken a couple of projects this year and all were successful. We visited orphanage homes and street children in Lagos with Kaymu and Kenya, had motivational talk programmes. In collaboration with Child Life Line I also released a new single ‘African child’ with the proceeds of the song going to Child Lifeline to aid street children.
The average Nigerian woman is missing something, what would you say it is?
I would say it is opportunity! I had to fight to get to here I am in the industry today. Girls and women need to be given greater opportunities to become the people they dream of. Our dreams are valid as Lupita Nyongo would say, we should be able to work hard to achieve our goals without societal norms keeping us behind.
What are the important things to you in life?
God, family and music.
You are a multiple award winning singer with hits, where do you draw your motivation and drive?
I draw most of my motivation from my life experiences and things that happen around me.
- NKECHINYERE IBEREME