Wednesday, 05 August 2015 09:02

Mrs Mokgadi Ozokoye, Leader of Wives of Nigerians in Southern Africa (WONISA) speaks to us.

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Mrs Mokgadi OzokoyeHello Madam, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Anne Mokgadi Ozokoye, founder of Wives of Nigerians in Southern Africa (WONISA), owner of Events By leDiamante, HeadfirstSA, Stepahead publishers and Varity Magazine. I work full time at the Provincial Legislature; I have a Post-graduate Diploma in Business Administration from Milpark business School,

currently pursuing a PhD in Programme and Project Management through Cranefield College.

That is an impressive resume. You must be a dynamic person as in your introduction you mentioned your commitments towards several endeavors. What is WONISA and what does it stand for?

Thank you, Wives of Nigerians in Southern Africa is an NPO, seeking to create a social home for all women married to Nigerians in SADC (this does not exclude Nigerian born women)- to motivate and support them in their business endeavours, share skills with those who require them, create employment through programmes that will be suggested by members,have a working relationships with governments, educating our children about their heritage and the importance of patriotism.

But there are other organisations of Nigerian wives in South Africa. Why do you think that the Nigerian community in South Africa need WONISA and what do you think that they would do differently from other similar organisations? What do you think that you would do differently as WONISA?

Yes there are, WONISA is different in the sense that it involves women in SADC and not only non-Nigerian. Nigerian women are also included in this organisation. Futhermore, WONISA is not a pressure group. Members from other women groups can be part of WONISA as objectives are different.

By not being a pressure group you mean WONISA as an organisation would shy away from issues like advocating against xenophobia and prejudice especially against their Nigerians husbands?

No, we will be working in partnership with government. We will be participating in government processes that form those adverse policies. In that way, before those laws come into effect or are amended,we would have been involved in the consultative process. Where there are issues to be raised we will use the process of government like petitions processes through legislatures to table our concerns.

In other words you will be using more effective means to achieve your goals?

Yes, means that our government responds better to and where there is due process followed on issues, where government representatives can be called and the petitioner can present their case and there are answers. That process is more credible and effective.

Mrs. Ozokoye, as the founder of WONISA, you must have created this organisation to respond to some challenges that wives of Nigerians face in South Africa. What are those problems that you and your co-wives/membership face?

The number one challenge is stigmatization, we create a community that understands, and through our participation we can get involved in government structures and with government. Our people will be educated that there is nothing wrong with inter marriages especially to Nigerians. Second on the list is unemployment. This is a challenge that faces all Africans, one of our objectives is to create employment opportunities for our communities, on employment for individuals who are inter married to none natives of the country, there is prejudice or how would you explain a candidate qualifying for a position but will never be short listed? It ties back to the issue stigmatization which I raised before. We will try to fix it so that there will be employment for our communities. The other issue is women support, you know as women we go through challenges, which every female go through as married women, now these problems are compounded with entrance into a new culture through marriage. Here in WONISA, we will be with our sisters in law who will also advice and teach us on how to navigate through certain difficulties we may have in our new cultures. The other is our children's knowledge of their fatherland, we should be able to raise children that know and are proud of their roots.

What about the women? I mean the women you intend to work with, how are they responding to your call to come under this progressive umbrella?

There has been a positive response, since the announcement of the formation in July 01 2015 there has been incredible response from all our provinces in South Africa, and in Nigeria. So that is a good indication of acceptance.

One thing you have not mentioned to us -though it is implicit in your comments is that you are married. How do you juggle being a wife with all the other work, roles and functions that you perform?

I just do it naturally, however my husband give me support he knows my interests and pursuits, and more importantly God almighty that gives life and wisdom.

We understand that the formal launch of your organisation would be held here in Gauteng South Africa this month. Can you shed more light on what you have planned for the event, the date, time and venue of the event?

The launch will take place in the Magalies River Lodge, on the 09 August 2015 (Women’s day). All ladies who are married to Nigerians are welcome to the event which will take place on the 09th August 2015 at Magalies River Lodge, Magaliesburg. 12:00 to 18:00. WONISA will launch at each province according to membership. We planned a tea party event where the objectives of the organisation will shared, a woman leader to address women on leadership, government representatives on how partnerships can be forged and what programmes we can be involved in, there will speech by a representative leader from the Nigerian Community in SA, there will also be a celebrity entertainer at the event. Together we can effect the change we want to see.

Is there anything you would like to tell’s global audience especially, those who would like to attend your organization’s launch and Wives of Nigerians in Southern Africa who might like to join your organisation?

To your global audience, please support WONISA. Your positive contributions are welcome visit our website for more information and links for communication. We also have a Facebook page called Wives of Nigerians in Southern Africa; women are invited to join the group.

Thank you Madam for all your positive contributions towards building a better Nigerian Community in South Africa and a better Africa. We wish you success in all your endeavours especially; we wish you success with project WONISA

Thank you Mr. Sunny-Unachukwu for the opportunity given to speak about WONISA, we trust to see you there and your wife.

You are welcome.


Read 2992 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 August 2015 10:32
Sunny-Unachukwu John

Sunny-Unachukwu John is an avid reader and writer. A leader in the Nigerian community in South Africa and a seasoned community organiser. He is an advocate for immigrants assimilation in South Africa  and co-steers  an advocacy group- Immigrants Responsibility and Rights Projects (IRRP). He is passionate about Law, Politics, Social Justice and Pax Africana. He also loves literature, film and soccer.