Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Can You Believe 50 Years?

50th Wedding Anniversary Prep

Chosen fabric for our 'uniform'

Chosen fabric for our ‘uniform’

Hard to believe, but we’re near our 50th wedding anniversary on December 26! The major anniversary party will be in Nanka. Sam has taken on the role of chief organizer. Invitations have gone out, mostly by email, some by text messages, and some by phone.

As is customary for such events, all family members, men and women, will be expected to dress in the same fabric. Today I chose the cloth from photos Sam sent.

Do you like it? When we get back, I’ll have pictures of all of us dressed alike to post.

We needed new curtains for the house in Nanka; I’d asked an interior designer to go to the house and measure; she also sent photos of fabrics and I selected those today too.

I asked my brother and sister for a ‘tribute,’ that can be printed in the program that will be given to guests. They each responded quickly with lovely words which I’ll send on. My brother Peter said, “Their marriage demanded love, devotion and courage.  Of each of these qualities Cathy and Clement were amply endowed–and still are 50 years later.” I find his words lovely.”

My sister Beth said in part, “What accomplishments you two have made together and separately. What festivities Nanka is going to have this year, celebrating you two.” She is my only U.S. relative who has visited the village. I wish it were easier to get there; it would have been fun to have her along.

We leave for Nigeria on the 18th, a week from tonight. Clem and I are traveling on Air France. We arrive in Paris on the morning of the 19th, hang around for a few hours, and get to Lagos at 7 pm that night.

Have you celebrated a major anniversary? Will you travel for the Christmas holidays?

Nigeria – Elections Coming

Mildred and me at Christ and Holy Trinity Church after my talk.

Mildred and me at Christ and Holy Trinity Church after my talk.

In my book talk this morning at Christ and Holy Trinity Church in Westport, I mentioned the February 2015 Nigerian presidential election as one to watch. Mildred, with me in the photo, arranged today’s talk. The audience was small but curious,  and very interested in the history and current events in Nigeria.

When I came home I found a blog post with news about speakers on the topic of the election at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, in London.

It’s a little over sixty days away. I watched parts of the Chatham House speeches. A Nigerian professor talked about the Nigerian Electoral Commission and problems it faces.

I was especially struck by two comments. One was frightening: “Many of our politicians consider an election as a theater for war instead of an exercise in compromise.” How sad. It reminded me a little of our own most recent election – we didn’t get to blows, but there hasn’t been a lot of spirit of compromise among the people who were elected.

After naming several factors that constitute key challenges in Nigeria, including security, the Boko Haram insurgency, and weakness of political parties, he said, “Many of these factors have a direct bearing on the success of the 2015 election.”

I tend to think of success of the party I’m rooting for, not the success of the election. But in Nigeria where there is not yet a firm established pattern of civilian government’s being peacefully elected, I’m glad he and others are concerned about the success of the election itself and are taking steps to ensure that success.

Zainab Usman, whose blog I follow and often quote, was on another panel at the Chatham House event. She spoke on the work she and a colleague are doing on forecasting trends in the 2015 election based on voter turnout of 2011. She gives a lot of detail about their work and its implications for February.

Goodreads Author Page

Are you a Goodreads reader? I’ve been using the site for some time, but now I’ve added an author page with information about my memoir. I added my photo and a link to this blog.

I don’t yet have any reviews on Goodreads. You could be the first!

If you missed the chance to get the autographed book for the first Amazon review (it went to Deborah Stewart), here’s another chance. I’ll be very happy to give/send an autographed copy of the memoir to the first reader who posts a review on Goodreads. Then you can give your copy of the memoir to a friend or family member and keep the autographed one for yourself.

If you’re not yet a Goodreads reader, you can easily sign up and start keeping track of all your books.

Goodreads invites you to bring in all the titles you’ve bought on Amazon. (Amazon bought Goodreads not too long ago.) I did that and added the books to my ‘bookshelves,’ showing the ones I’ve finished, those I want to read, and the ones I’m reading. You can also put books in categories. I have African writers, memoir, and a couple of other categories.

I’m reading three books now, two on my iPad Kindle app, one in print. And that doesn’t even count the one on my phone that I listen to at the gym!

Will there ever be time to read them all?


Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. This one seems too political for my interest. Wish Nanka was closer and that I had easier access cuz I would have a great time celebrating….I’ll be there in spirit!!