Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Granddaughter Graduates from Radnor High School

Granddaughter Graduates

Proud parents and Kenechi as our granddaughter graduates.

Proud parents and Kenechi as our granddaughter graduates.

Our granddaughter Nkiru graduated from Radnor High School on Wednesday afternoon. Of course we were there!

Four years ago when Kenechi graduated from Radnor, the ceremony was at Villa Nova, in their Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Mawr. But apparently there was construction underway, so the event was at Temple University, downtown Philadelphia.

The high school band was excellent, despite lacking their seniors. Daughter Beth and I both had tears in our eyes at the beginning of the graduation march. Music can call forth such powerful emotions!

Both grandmothers were present to see our granddaughter graduate. Elouise and I were thrilled that Nkiru’s whole name, Nkiruka Catherine Elouise Garner, was printed in the program and read from the podium when she was given her diploma.

I took a Selfie with Elouise, the other Grandma as our granddaughter graduates

I took a Selfie with Elouise, the other Grandma as our granddaughter graduate

Nkiruka means “The best is still to come.” I love the name and its shortened version Nkiru.
As the graduates filed out at the end and the band was playing the same martial music over and over again, three different students were given a chance to conduct!

Nkiru looked superb. Her mom tried to pull her white graduation robe closed when we snapped the photos. “No, I want my dress to show,” Nkiru said. It was a lovely lacy white!

Nkiru wanted to show her dress - you can see why!

Nkiru wanted to show her dress – you can see why!

Lots of other students greeted her while we were taking pictures outside.

Brazilian Steakhouse Dinner

We had the celebratory dinner after graduation at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse.

Fogo de Chao, Brazilian Steakhouse, for graduation dinner.

Fogo de Chao, Brazilian Steakhouse, for graduation dinner.

First we helped ourselves to a buffet for the hors d’oeuvres. The waiter explained what to do when we were ready for the main course. “See the cardboard circle at your place, red on one side, green on the other. When you want the meats to come, turn the green side up.”

That’s the signal for waiters to offer meats from the lengthy skewers they carry around. Several side dishes of mashed potatoes and fried bananas were placed on the table for us.

“Fogo de Chão is an authentic Brazilian Steakhouse (Churrascaria) that has been setting the standard in Brazil for the past 36 years,” I read on their website. “Today, our gaucho chefs . . .carve tableside each of our cuts of meat like Picanha (signature sirloin), Filet Mignon, Ribeye, Fraldinha (Brazilian sirloin) Cordeiro (lamb) and more.”

I couldn’t resist flan for dessert. I only wish the restaurant did not provide the calorie count on the menu – I didn’t need to know. But it was worth every calorie!

My sister says she’s been to a similar restaurant, but I never had. It was delicious, just right for the occasion.

Another Interesting Title for My To-Read List

My teacher and editor Marcelle sent me the link to this book. I nearly didn’t open her email, wondering if she’d been hacked. There was just a subject and a link, nothing else. But then the link showed enough of the title so I knew it was legit.

Another book for my to-read list, growing almost daily, and diminishing only every two weeks or so as I complete a book – something is wrong there! Still, thanks, Marcelle!

I’m especially interested since the piece says the novel includes a critique of the political structure of Nigeria.

Resistance Blooms in Nigeria

New Boko Haram Attack

Lorri was my classmate in my recent memoir and essay writing workshop. She sent an email two days ago asking if family members in Nigeria were safe. I was puzzled. Then I found this sad story.

Although Boko Haram has been weakened over the past year by concerted military efforts, they are still around and still able to cause major harm.

But it’s Ramadan, the month which commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, Wikipedia tells me. Muslims are not supposed to engage in sinful behavior during Ramadan. So how could they attack?

Still, they did! “. . .late Wednesday in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, as evening prayers were ending, targeting four locations around the city. Thirteen people were killed, including four attackers, Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu said.”

This was the “deadliest attack in months,” the article said. Most likely more individuals will end up in camps for internally displaced people where food is scarce. When will it ever end?

But in response to Lorri, our sons are in Lagos, about as far as you can get from Maiduguri. They are not threatened. Clem’s village is in south-eastern Nigeria, so again relatives there are safe from Boko Haram.

Are Igbos Under Threat? 

UN reacts to Arewa group’s threat against Igbos

Apart from Boko Haram, there is another threat in the north of Nigeria. A group of youths in northern Nigeria have declared that the Igbo people in the north should leave by October 1. A few Igbo leaders of a movement campaigning for a referendum have agreed.

The Biafran War, 50 years ago, was caused in part by massacres of Igbo people in the north. So of course this brings memories.

Emir of Katsina, photo from

Emir of Katsina, photo from

The Emir of Katsina, religious leader of a major northern city, spoke out. “Here in Katsina, I am ready to sacrifice my last drop of blood to ensure peace and protect all Nigerians residing in the state,’’ he said. He promised “all necessary measures to ensure peaceful coexistence.”

He said, “You are my sons and daughters. Katsina is your home, so, feel free to go anywhere.’’ Other religious and political leaders also said the Igbos should not be frightened. They are asked to remain and continue to live peacefully with their neighbors.

If you visit the website with the article, notice on the right there is a chart of sunrise, sunset and other significant times for cities in Nigeria and nearby during Ramadan.

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. It is so heartening to see this generation graduating. I can’t help but think that, as they mature further and take their places as voters, we will see better societies all over the world.

  2. A hearty congratulations to Nkiruka! What a beautiful name, and it is a wonderful fit, I see! Wishing her family much love and peace, as she embarks upon her next chapter of learning and living, and blossoming further! Thank you for sharing such wonderful, intimate, and powerful stories that fill a mind with wonder at this amazing planet.