Wave Maker of The Month 🌊: Caroline Ikpea

Caroline Ikpea, our first ever ‘Wave Maker of the Month’, is a Nigerian youth making waves in Austin, Texas as the President of St. Edward’s University’s (her school) African Student Organization (ASO).

On Boxing day, Caroline and I sat down to discuss everything from her role as ASO’s president to Libya slave trade to the pressing issues in Nigeria.

IMG_5427

As the president of ASO, what exactly do you do?

Okay, so I am the African Student organization president at my university in Austin, Texas and they basically have these presidents across the United States. Basically every ASO president has a goal in their university. I have chosen the goal for my school to be the one that would educate white people about Africa. Sometimes Africans too, because not all Africans are actually educated about African culture. I try as much as possible to keep the youths in my school up to date with African culture and news.

I also teach African dance (even though I’m not the best teacher) and hold dance exhibitions in my school.
The events we hold range from debates to meetings and panels, where we just talk about our culture. There are 54 African countries of course, and how Ghanaians behave is not the way Nigerians might act, so we talk about those things. And we ask, ‘why is it that way?’. We try as much as possible to know more about eachother which I think is important.

 

You’re very vocal about African issues. Recently on your social media I saw you talking about the Libya slave trade, could you share some of your opinions on that?

In my opinion it’s just very crazy. First of all in this time and age we shouldn’t be hearing things like this. Africa has always been backward. We’ve always been backward. Like if you’re in school and you’ve learned some little history, you will understand that. But in 2017, hearing that leaders back home have actually been co-operating with Europeans to enslave us…

Me: What? That’s a thing?

Caroline: Yes, it is a thing. They are actually doing this together, they are getting profit from this thing. And it kinds of sucks, because Libya I heard does not have a president. They don’t look up to anybody. There’s no head figure. So it’s like, who is about to take this major step to break this thing. I’m just very frustrated.

IMG_5872

I would want to have kids in the future but I don’t know how I’m going to live knowing there’s just a 50 percent chance that my kid might be a slave.
It makes me feel very bad. History is repeating itself. By 2030 my kids will be learning that slave trade happened in 2017, when I learned that it had been abolished over 200 years ago.

I personally feel like this is not just about Africa. Asia, America, Europe; we all need to talk about it so we can scrap this out of history.

I’m still trying to educate people that ‘yes we were slaves’, but there’s more to us. Now what am I going to say? How am I going to let them know that, ‘yes we will get better’? How am I going to empower the youths like myself? It’s just like, where will I even start from?

What do you think is the biggest challenge in Nigeria right now?

The thing is, there are a lot of problems in this our country. From cultural conflict to religious conflict to corruption. And it took me time to understand that because we are so divided, it will be difficult for Nigeria to get better. I’ve asked some Christian friends ‘would you get married to a muslim?’ And they are like ‘oh no, they’re religion is terrible’. It’s those little little things that we don’t even know that’s breaking us. Because if we can actually all come together and say ‘this is what we want to do’ then that’s that.

IMG_5873
But honestly, I won’t lie to you, right now I don’t think that’s possible. What I think Nigeria needs right now is just the basic needs of life e.g. stable electricity, we’ve never had that. We need health care, people are dying. We need to figure out a way to feed people and tackle poverty.

Nigeria just needs to survive first. When we’re eating, when there’s light, when we’re happy, when we have good jobs, from there we can say, ‘okay, let’s tackle corruption’, but right now, people are dying, people are suffering. It’s just so hectic, we need to find a way to survive.

If you were ever president of Nigeria, what are 3 things you would do?

IMG_5896

Hmmm…very very tough question. Everytime I think of becoming president, I get very….I don’t know….I’m not discouraged. But I know my people. They are afraid of women. They look at a woman and are like ‘ahh, please, we don’t want it, her emotions are going to get in the way’. But the truth is, if you give women the opportunity to rule this country we’ll be better, but that’s not even the question you asked..

Me: (laughs) it’s funny because my next question was literally going to be ‘Do you think Nigeria is ready for a female president’ and you just answered it.

Caroline: (laughs) oh my gosh, are you serious? I’m sorry.

Me: It’s fine.

Caroline: But yeah, I feel like Nigeria is so talented. I’ve seen a lot of things and I’m just like, ‘wow, I want to invest in you, but I don’t have money’. So I would want to invest in that and support Nigerian talent.

I would also want to change the cultural conflict, but the thing is, things like that would get bloody. You can’t force people to like eachother, you know?

As president I would just give Nigeria the basic needs of life. And try and make Nigeria a country others look up to.
And I know this sounds very unrealistic, but I would try as much as possible to be genuine. Nigeria has had a lot of leaders that just want to chop money and talk tooo much and do nothing. I would do the work first, then talk.

Okay, so this next question is really tough.

Oh wow, I’m in trouble.

What did you do for Christmas?

(laughs) I didn’t do anything. This year’s Christmas was kind of dry. I was just at the bar with my friends. Nothing serious, just chilling. But the food was good though.

___________________

Caroline is such a passionate Nigerian youth, and interviewing her was a joy. And at the rate she’s going, she’s definitely going to be a force to reckon with.

Follow her on social media guys!

Twitter – Carolyne_xo

Instagram – Karolyne_xo

Snapchat – caroline_ik

 

 


4 thoughts on “Wave Maker of The Month 🌊: Caroline Ikpea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.