Chigoziem Emereuwa's Winner's Attitude

Winner: Most Inspiring Nigerian in South Africa Award 2018

By: Olaniyi Thevoice Abodedele
25 April, 2019

Column: Personality Profile and Interviews

Determination, resilience and self-belief are words that can best use to describe Miss Chigoziem Emereuwa a Mathematician, PHD graduate, an Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Pretoria.

Chigoziem won the Most Inspiring Nigerian in South Africa award at the Nigeria Community Excellence Awards 2018; an annual Nigerian Community awards organised by The Nigerian Voice Newspaper, South Africa.

The award honors an outstanding Nigerian in South Africa whose personal achievements in any field of endeavor inspire others and project good image of the Nigerian community in South Africa.

Speaking after the event, Chigoziem told The Nigerian Voice Newspaper that winning the award made her nervous, confused and happy all at the same time. “I didn't think that I'll win. I thought that getting to the final three was the end of it. Winning the award, made me nervous, confused and happy all at the same time. Now when I look at the award, I smile because it reminds me to stay resilient and positive”.

Speaking further, the mathematician said, the awards ceremony is an excellent initiative which places a much needed focus on the good Nigerians do and the contributions they make towards the country and towards each other. She believes that the award initiative in itself is motivating in that it recognizes individuals who make an impact.

Reflecting on her inspiring story that won her the award, Chigoziem recalled “I only remember being at the back seat, playing a travel game with my sister and then waking up in the hospital”. 

Chigoziem Emereuwa is the only surviving member of her family having lost her father, mother and siblings through a fatal car accident at the tender age of 11 on the 17th of August 2001. “I am the only survivor of a car accident that claimed the lives of my parents and siblings. In one second, I went from having a happy family to being alone, no father, mother, sister or brother. Despite the sorrow, sadness and pain that followed the incident, I continued to live”.

Undeterred by the life-crushing incident, Miss. Chigoziem Emereuwa crawled out of the dark hole of loneliness and sorrow and pursued her dreams and goals with uncommon passion and dedication to enviable success and inspiring accomplishments.

“Even though a reason to despair isn't far if I look, I stay positive and lead a life that shows that surviving a tragedy isn't the end, one can draw strength from it, find a purpose and continue living. My loss has given me a different perspective of life and with that, through teaching and volunteering with initiatives for children in Mamelodi, I help younger ones understand that no matter what life throws at you, you should keep living, keep dreaming, stay dedicated and most importantly, stay optimistic” Chigoziem waxed philosophically.

The budding academic continued; ‘the life I live taking a day at a time could be a source of motivation for someone else to also take a day at a time and not give up because it always gets better and everything works out in the end.’

‘My life story is one of resilience and strength, sharing it has put smiles as well as tears in the faces of a few who have heard it but mostly, it serves as a source of motivation because in all, I try to stay happy, dedicated to my cause and kind to people I meet.

‘The way of life, the environment and the university structure were all new to me when I got here which needed me to make a little adjustment. Besides those, I didn't face any huge challenges, as God would have it, I had Prof Kenneth and Dr Rita Ozoemena supporting me and ready to give me advices regarding those minor challenges.’

Chigoziem advised Nigerians in South Africa to keep their heads down and stay out of trouble “All I can say is that we need to relax, keep our head down and stay out of trouble”.

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