Meet a Coz.. : NAFISA ATTA

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Disarmingly Beautiful. Smart. Intelligent. Go – getter. Outspoken. Competitive. Fashionable. Great cook. Neatness freak. Busy bee. Any guesses yet? Our end-of-month guest for February is all these and more! A multi-linguist, marketing strategist, fast rising authority on Islamic fashion, events & catering professional, this sister is a true representation of who an Atta Princess is.

 

Please meet:

 

              *Nafisa Atta*

 

Nafisa is the Chief Marketing Executive at Izy Air, a Chartered Air Services Company. She’s also a principal partner at an Islamic fashion Company and the brain behind the annual Islamic fashion week @abuja. She also manages an events and catering outfit. 

 

Our expectations about how hard it would be to get her to do an interview were pleasantly allayed when she readily agreed and her prompt responses left us breathless with admiration.

 

Please meet naffy, or nefertiti, like you’ve never known her. Served hot!    

 

Q. Your Background – parents’ names, your birth date, place of birth, siblings, education, work experiences, etc.

 

Nafisa: My father is Mohammed Ibrahim Atta and My mother is Late Lami Atta. I was born on March 27th 1979 in Lagos. I have 4 brothers am the first child and only girl. I attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where I bagged a Diploma in French as well as a B.Sc in International Studies. 

I have worked mostly in the private sector first and foremost in the Islamic Fashion Industry (I can say I’m a professional hijab stylist), I’m currently in Aviation as a marketer (I can sell anything, I might have Ibo DNA, who knows lol!), and most recently making Gourmet dishes on part time basis when contracted to.

 

Q. How was your growing up years? Recall fond memories.

 

Nafisa: My growing up years was awesome, I was a bit nerdy, reading loads of books and oh the television! Never thought I would say “adios” to that. There were also trips to Kingsway, Chellarams, Leventis on weekends, road trips with the whole family on vacations/picnics, climbing trees, bicycle riding competitions and Karate and Ninja fights with my brothers hahahaha, I couldn’t have asked for a much better childhood.

 

Q. Current status: married or unmarried? Your experiences & thoughts on family & relationships.

 

Nafisa: I’m single and waiting on Allah’s chosen one InshaaAllah. *wink*!

Trust should be the foundation for relationships. Any relationship that is not for the sake of Allah is a no no. Family is a haven where anyone should be able to run to when the chips are down or need to spring back to their feet after passing through the 21st century challenges. 

 

Q. Describe your typical day. 

 

Nafisa: It starts with the Fajr prayers followed by loads of Dhikr, it’s then off to work and lots of business and personal plans are made by me. I’m a mobile clock! And ends with an Alhamdullilah and a *yawn!   

 

Q. What it means to come from Atta Ibrahim family.

 

Nafisa: I’m proudly Atta always. It’s a great honor to come from such a noble background.

 

Q. Happiest moment so far?

 

Nafisa: The day I decided to start using the Hijab, the best day so far. 

 

Q. Saddest moment so far?

 

Nafisa: The day I lost my mum.

 

Q. What is your view on cousins marrying each other? 

 

Nafisa: It is permissible and islamically right (they are halal for each other). If they have a mutual understanding and love for one another then why not, “The best thing for two people who love one another for the sake of Allah is to get married”. 

 

Q. Craziest thing you have ever done?

 

Nafisa: Abuja can be crazily hot. And then it rained one evening and I stepped into the rain and got so drenched that I felt my clothes begging for mercy. Thank God it was dark n my neighbours were indoors, but it was refreshing! I think I wanna do it again. lol!   

 

Q. Your thoughts on Atta ibrahim family. Tell us one thing you would change about the family if you could.

 

Nafisa: The siblings rivalry / “caste system”. I want a “Proudly Peaceful and United Atta family”

 

Q. What does fashion mean to you?

 

Nafisa: Fashion for me means simplicity, timeless and classic pieces of items in my wardrobe. I’m not a fashion victim, I don’t follow the crowd!

 

 YOUR FAVOURITES:

 

Q. Favourite Meal

 

Anything (african or continental) that is tasty I don’t have a fave anymore…

 

Q. Fav. Drink

That would be Fresh Fruit Juice and water 

 

Q. Fav. Colours

 

It used to be Blue, but am in touch with my feminine side now, am yet to pick a replacement! 

 

Q. Fav. Football club

 

I hate football, sorry guys!

 

Q. Fav. Personality

 

Prophet Muhammad SAW

 

Q. Fav. Travel destination

 

Greece! Yeaaaay! the beaches are heavenly!

 

Q. Fav. Perfume.

 

Anything that smells nice is cool with me. 

 

Q. Your nickname: ‘Nefertiti’; who gave you and how?

 

Nafisa: A friend of mine gave it to me as a teenager and it has stuck ever since!

How to Be a VIP on the Day of Judgment

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

 

“Allah will cover seven people with His shade, on the Day when there will be no shade but His: a just ruler, a youth who has grown up in the worship of Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the mosques, two persons who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only, a man who refuses the call of a beautiful and influential woman for illicit relation with her and says: I am afraid of Allah, a man who gives charitable gifts so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given, and a person who remembers Allah while he is alone and his eyes are flooded with tears.” (Al-Bukhari)

 

We all need Allah’s shade. To be under Allah’s shade is to be protected by Him and be blessed by Him. We need His shade in this life and in the Hereafter. It is mentioned that the Day of Judgment will be a very hard and difficult Day. On that day everyone will be worried and will try to find some protection and shade; but there will be no shade on that Day except the special shade of Allah. This shade will be granted to seven special types of people:

 

1. A just ruler or a just leader: It could be any person who has some authority and he/she uses this authority with justice and fairness without any favoritism or prejudice. Justice is the command of God for all people; but the most critical is the doing of justice when one has power and authority. More difficult is, of course, dealing justly with those who show hate and animosity towards you. A just person, especially a just leader or ruler, is given number one place in this list of seven.

 

2. A young person growing up in the worship of Allah: Worship of Allah is good for all people at any age and time; but the worship of Allah from the tender young age has special blessings. Many people become devoted to Allah when they grow old. In the old age when the body becomes weak, people start paying attention to the spirit. However, to be conscious of one’s spirit and growing up as a youth in the obedience of Allah bring a special honor and blessings.

 

3. A person whose heart is connected to the mosque: Literally it says that the heart is hanging (mu`allaq) in the mosque. Imam Malik explained that it was a person who when he leaves the mosque, looks forward to coming back again soon. Normally people’s hearts are attached to their jobs, business and home. Mosque is not the priority for many people. However, those who love the House of Allah and keep it as their priority are the blessed people and they shall receive the special favor of Allah.

 

It requires a lot of moral strength to refuse temptation when the other partner is attractive, rich, and not only consenting but persuasive.

 

4. Two people loving each other for the sake of Allah: One should be friendly to all people and deal with all people in a kind and courteous manner. However, the friendship for the sake of Allah, for the reasons of piety and goodness is a very blessed friendship. This is a sincere friendship and when two or more people become attached to each other for Allah’s sake they bring a lot of good to themselves and to those around them. This is a kind of friendship that generates goodness in the world and is especially blessed by Allah.

 

5. A person of solid moral character: The Prophet gave an example of this solid character. He said a man tempted for illicit relationship by a woman who is beautiful and rich, influential or of a prestigious family (the word “mansib” means all these things in Arabic) and he refuses. Imam Ibn Hajar says that this is not limited to a man only who is tempted by a woman; it equally applies to a woman who may be tempted by a man who is very beautiful, powerful and rich and she refuses and says “I fear Allah.” It requires a lot of moral strength to refuse temptation when the other partner is attractive, rich, and not only consenting but persuasive. Those who have such a strong character are indeed under the protection of Allah.

 

6. A person of charity who does not show off his/her charity: A person gives charity in such a way that even his left hand does not know what his right hand has done. This is a very powerful and beautiful way to say that a person gives quietly, discreetly and with sincerity. His/her purpose is not to show off, seek publicity, name or fame; but only to please Allah. This is the highest kind of charity and it has a special reward and blessing from Allah.

 

7. A person who remembers Allah privately with eyes filled with tears: Thinking of Allah, repeating His Beautiful Names, thanking Him and praising Him, these are the ways to remember (dhikr) Allah. Doing the “dhikr” alone in one’s privacy, when no one is watching, with moving heart and tearful eyes is a sign of sincere faith and deep love of Allah. Those who have the love of Allah, they are indeed under His shade and protection. 

 

All these seven characters are deeply moral and spiritual characters. They indicate a person’s faith and sincere commitment. They are related to feeling, thinking, speaking and action. These are true characters of sincere believers. We pray to Allah to bless us with these characters and with his shade in this world and also in the Hereafter. Ameen.

 

Source: http://www.onislam.netImage

Meet a Coz… “ABDULMUTTALIB ATTA” (Dole!)

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Hello ‘Coz-Za-Coz’! and welcome to February’s mid-month edition of our program! In case you are wondering at my new slang, I am infected by the swagger of our Mid-Month Guest, dole!

 

One of the young Turks of the urbane Atta Ibrahim generation, his mostly hilarious and yet forthright contributions to discussions on this page and his signature ‘fav-word’, makes this well-read graduate of geography/Urban planning & I.T Strategist, hard to miss!

 

Please meet: 

 

       *ABDULMUTTALIB ATTA* 

 

Humble, for someone well traveled, he was a delight all through the interview. A True Royal! Enjoy the chat. Dole!

 

THE INTERVIEW:

 

Q. Tell us about your Background – parents’ names, your birth date, your place of birth, education, career, etc.

 

Abdul: I was born on the 23rd of Dec, my dad was late Safiyanu I. Atta and my mom is Hajiya Habibatu Atta(momsy), born in Kawo, kaduna state. My early education started at the saint Johns nursery school after which i attended St. Paul’s township school at Jos, from where I proceeded to. St. John’s college, also at Jos.

My tertiary education took me to the famous ABU, but my sojourn there didn’t last long, as I returned to the university of Jos to pursue my degree in geography and planning. I graduated in 2004. Briefly worked as a field officer to the Federal Government on the construction of the Kano western bypass before relocating to the United States for my Masters.

I presently work in the medical field as an IT Strategist to An MD in salt lake city, Utah.

 

Q. How was your growing up years? – recall some fond memories.

 

Abdul: Wow that’s an awesome one, I grew up with the best siblings one can ever wish for, 7 of us, 4 boys and 3 gals. I am the last boy and you know how we get pampered *wink*. I will best describe Childhood in these words “la tasty, la creamy, la crunch”, looool. I remember little bout growing up in Kaduna but my fond years where in Jos. I grew up at a poultry farm, I remember most Attas who came to Jos had a home to stay, it was huge! I remember uncle Lateef coming back from the states and stayed with my dad for a while; Uncle Dalhatu teaching me how to dance (I learnt all my moves from uncle Dalhatu,he was good, lol). Lots of memories to numerous to mention.

 

Q. Marriage – Are you married? If yes: how you met your partner, how has married life been, advice on marriage, etc.

If No: Describe your ideal partner and dreams of an ideal home.

 

Abdul: Marriage, hmmmmmm, I am single again. My ideal partner should be religious, articulate, productive, beautiful, gregarious, sexy, educated and with a rich sense of humor. dole!

 

Q. Describe your typical day routine?

 

Abdul: My day generally starts with my obligatory prayers, then i hit the gym for an hour to keep in shape; a little Vegetable here and there, then I get set for work. I have a flexible work routine. After work, I do some reading to get my brain in sync.

 

Q. What it means to come from Atta Ibrahim family.

 

Abdul: its a privilege!

 

Q. Happiest moment in life so far?

 

Abdul: knowing my mom escaped the massacre at Jos!

 

Q. Saddest moment in life so far?

 

Abdul: when I lost my dad

 

Q. One thing you would change about Atta family if you could.

 

Abdul: I would bring back the spirit of togetherness which Gramp promoted and preached.

 

Q. Tell us your guiding philosophy in life.

 

Abdul: PPT=TTT, which means: Power of Positive Thinking = Total Terrific Time.

 

Q. What does fashion mean to you?

 

Abdul: Clean statement of who you are.

 

Q. Your hobbies?

 

Abdul: Reading, dancing, soccer.

 

Q. Are you a football fan? Which is your favourite club?

 

Abdul: l love soccer, Manchester united for life!!!

 

ABDUL’s FAVOURITES:

 

>Food – iya (pounded yam)

>Drink – cranberry

>Colour – black and red

>Perfume – big pony 4

>Travel Destination -brazil,Nicaragua

 

Q. One thing you wish you could do to enhance the Atta family legacy?

 

Abdul: setting up a foundation that will go a long way to touch humanity, in line with Grandpa’s love for humanity and development.

 

Q. Lastly, and I’ve been dying to ask this: why are you fond of saying ‘DOLE’? What does it mean, why do you say it, and how did it start?

 

Abdul: loooooool, cuz za cuz! Well to enlighten you, it’s my slogan and logo line and it means “its a most” in Hausa and in English it means ”to dish out”. It actually started in Kano and I got used to using the word. When I got to the states, I just kind of funkified it, and am rolling on the logo – slogan activity 🙂

 

It been awesome being a part of this interesting & interactive family forum and hope to be part for altos to come.

 

Thank you and God bless. dole

A delay in a prayer

Don’t forget to share this article after reading

There was only 15 minutes left before Salat-ul Isha.

He quickly made Wudhu and performed Salat-ul Maghrib.

While making Tasbih, he again remembered his grandmother and was embarrassed by how he had prayed.His grandmother prayed with such tranquillity and peace.

He began making Dua and went down to make Sajdah and stayed like that for a while.

He had been at work all day and was tired, so tired.

He awoke abruptly to the sound of noise and shouting.

He was sweating profusely.

He looked around.

It was very crowded.

Every direction he looked in was filled with people.

Some stood frozen looking around, some were running left and right and some were on their knees with their heads in their hands just waiting.

Pure fear and apprehension filled him as he realized where he was.

His heart was about to burst.

It was the Day of Judgment.

When he was alive, he had heard many things about the questioning on the Day of Judgment, but that seemed so long ago.

Could this be something his mind made up?

No, the wait and the fear were so great that he could not have imagined this.

The interrogation was still going on.

He began moving frantically from people to people to ask if his name had been called.

No one could answer him.

All of a sudden his name was called and the crowd split into two and made a passageway for him.

Two angels grabbed his arms and led him forward.

He walked with unknowing eyes through the crowd.

The angels brought him to the centre and left him there.

With his head down his whole life was passing in front of his

eyes like a movie.

He opened his eyes but saw only another world.

People were helping others.

He saw his father running from one lecture to the other, spending his

wealth in the way of Islam.

His mother invited guests to their house and one table was being set

while the other was being cleared.

He pleaded his case, I too was always on this path.

I helped others and spread the word of Allah.

I performed my Salah. I fasted in the month of Ramadhan.

Whatever Allah ordered us to do, I did.

Whatever he ordered us not to do, I did not.’

He began to cry and thought about how much he loved Allah.

He knew whatever he had done in life would be less than what Allah deserved and his only protector was Allah.

He was sweating like never before and was shaking all over.

His eyes were fixed on the scale, waiting for the final decision.

At last, the decision was made.

The two angels with sheets of paper in their hands turned to the crowd.

His legs felt like they were going to collapse.

He closed his eyes as they began to read the names of those people who were to enter Jahannam.

His name was read first.

He fell on his knees and yelled that this couldn’t be, ‘How could I go to Jahannam?

I served others all my life, I spread the word of Allah to others’.

His eyes had become blurry and he was shaking with sweat.

The two angels took him by the arms.

As his feet dragged, they went through the crowd and advanced toward the blazing flames of Jahannam.
He was yelling and wondered if there was any person who was going to help him.
He was yelling of all the good deeds he had done, how he had helped his father, his fasts, prayers, the Noble Qur’an that he read, he was asking if none of them would help him.

The Jahannam angels continued to drag him.
They had gotten closer to the Hellfire. He looked back and these were his last pleas.

Had not Rasulullah [SAW] said,
‘How clean would a person be who bathes in a river five times a day, so too does the Salah performed five times cleanse someone of their sins’

He began yelling, ‘My prayers? My prayers? My prayers.?’

The two angels did not stop, and they came to the edge of the abyss of Jahannam.
The flames of the fire were burning his face. He looked back one last time, but his eyes were dry of hope and he had nothing left in him.

One of the angels pushed him in. He found himself in the air and falling towards the flames.
He had just fallen five or six feet when a hand grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back.

He lifted his head and saw an old man with a long white beard.
He wiped some dust off himself and asked him, ‘Who are you?’
The old man replied, ‘I am your prayers’.
‘Why are you so late? I was almost in the Fire! You rescued me at the last minute before I fell in’.

The old man smiled and shook his head,
‘You always performed me at the last minute, did you forget?’ (And what of those who perform no prayers at all?)

At that instant, he blinked and lifted his head from Sajdah. He was in a sweat.
He listened to the voices coming from outside. He heard the Adhan for Salat-ul Isha and got up quickly and went to perform Wudhu.

Hope it helps open our eyes InshaAllah.

Mother, Not Matyr

Being a mother is certainly not easy. As Allah describes in the Qur’an, “His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years.” (31:14).

 

These weaknesses are often referred to as pregnancy, birthing and nursing. But that is just the beginning.

 

Mothers are in the daily “trenches” of changing diapers, helping with homework, cooking dinner, disciplining and running between work, picking kids up from school, and soccer games. These daily acts of service to her family can encompass her so completely that she loses balance and perspective of herself. When a woman loses the deeper spiritual significance of motherhood, she may feel that the duty of a mother is to martyr herself for her family by putting everyone else’s needs ahead of her own. But carrying all the burdens and difficulties is not the path to being a good mother. In fact it only depletes a woman, and may even build resentment, making her think that her children and her family “owe” her, as payback for her “martyrdom.”

 

As the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us: “A person’s wealth shall not decrease with charity.” What better charity is there than the charity of a mother helping her family? However, as with all forms of giving, the reward is in the giving, not in what is paid back to us by those we give to. Indeed all forms of giving benefit the donor, when done right.

 

Motherhood is a journey that allows one to witness the growth of a child as well as instill growth in women by making them stronger and wiser. Allah blesses women with children and in turn mothers make a promise to Allah to nurture children into adulthood. Through the process of parenting children, one realizes that it is also about role modeling a balanced and healthy lifestyle to children. Being a mother is not being a martyr. Rather it is respecting the trust and responsibility of raising children as well as respecting yourself as a strong woman. Children will respect their mothers as women who service their families for the sake of Allah. The responsibility of motherhood makes a woman grow stronger physically, mentally and spiritually because she is tested in all areas. She learns to stretch herself to serve those around her with the ultimate purpose of pleasing Allah, while at the same time not losing herself. A mother should not simply become weaker through her giving, but stronger and more balanced.

 

Here are six ways mothers can find balance and stay focused in order to get through the tough days of parenting as well as enjoy the journey of motherhood:

 

1. “I will remind myself daily that my time with my children is precious.”

 

Childhood will end one day and my “baby” will soon be an adult. Our children are changing daily and maturing into an adult. Parenting is celebrating the everyday moments more than focusing on the milestones of our children’s life. Spending quality time with our children and making time to communicate and share with our children is what will be remembered. The mundane activities in our life are the ways we connect daily with our children, so we need to see them more as experiences of connection rather than activities we just need to get through and move on to the next.

 

2. “I will take care of myself.”

 

Physically, mentally and spiritually. By constantly giving attention to our children and husband, we many times forget to take care of ourselves or we put our needs at the bottom of the list. Some mothers don’t even put themselves on the list at all. But as mothers we can only give as much as we have, and if we do not refill our own tanks then we will have nothing left to give. Taking care of our bodies through exercise is vital for our physical health as well as boosting our overall mood and energy. Spending time exercising is not selfish, unnecessary or extra. It must be seen as a priority in order to be able to do our duty as a mother. Taking care of our mental and spiritual self is also vital because this is the area that is most challenged and drained from us when raising our children. The intention of our daily prayers is to help us refocus and slow down our hectic lives, especially as mothers. Since women are the “heart” of a household, we must find inner peace in order for the family to feel in balance. Finding and sustaining self-confidence and happiness will manifest to our children and husband.

 

3. “I am not a perfect mother.”  Many Muslim mothers have extremely idealistic views of parenting or high expectations of themselves as mothers. Our children do not need us to be perfect and they actually will easily forgive us when we acknowledge our mistakes and show our imperfections. We must accept that we will make mistakes which will be opportunities for us to grow and become smarter moms for future challenges. We need to forgive ourselves and release ourselves of the burden of striving for perfection. We need to eliminate the thinking that other moms have attained perfection and they do everything right. We can only do the best that we can with what we have and we should focus on the things that matter – our relationships with them. Dinners won’t always be amazing, the dishes won’t always be clean, and laundry will pile up, but when our kids become adults they won’t remember any of that; rather they will remember the time they spent and the conversations they had with us.

 

4. “I will make my marriage a priority.”

 

Children place a huge strain on a marriage, especially for mothers of young children. Many mothers focus entirely on the needs of their children and in the process neglect their relationship with their husband. Physical and emotional exhaustion leave women with little energy left to give to their husband and this attitude of “nothing left to give” can cause disconnection in the marriage. It is vital that we find balance in our marriage alongside parenting because not only is it good for our children to witness a healthy relationship, but it is also good for our mental health. The companionship of a spouse is one that will supersede our relationship with our children, especially as children grow older. We must maintain a loving connection to our spouse so that we can grow old together and be further bonded to one another after the children are grown and married. This means we can’t put our marriage “on hold,” rather we must maintain a bond of friendship and love through the trying times of parenthood. It is vital we spend time alone with our husband so that we can see each other through the lens of a spouse and not only as a caregiver to our children. Going on “date nights” and weekend outings as a couple is vital for the bond to be maintained and sustained.

 

5. “I will value my friendships.”

 

Connecting and sharing with other women helps us to realize the commonality in our struggles as mothers and women. Having sisters and girlfriends in our life makes us stronger because these relationships nurture us emotionally and help us manage the stress in our lives. Our girlfriends and sisters have a special place in our lives that even our husbands cannot fill or replace. Making time to connect with our friends will help us feel happier and recharged so that we are able to give to our children and husband. Talking to and going out with girlfriends is vital for mothers to boost their connection to other women. It will improve our moods and fill our tanks so that we can give to our children and better connect with our husbands.

 

6. “I will prioritize family dinners.”

 

Eating together as a family is a daily activity of bonding. Routines in children’s lives can foster a deep sense of security. Creating traditions such as eating together is meaningful to our daily lives because it is a time the family comes together to share their day and connect with one another. Research has shown children who regularly have dinner with their families are more likely to do better and make good choices with regard to friends, drugs and sex. Bringing everyone together daily will create a more communicative family dynamic, and the tradition of food, conversations and joy will be the memories that everyone will cherish.

 

Source: http://www.suhaibwebb.com 

Meet a Coz… “SEFI ATTA”

ImageWelcome to the maiden presentation of our Personality Interview Program.

Our first guest is:

 

               *SEFI ATTA*

 

granddaughter of Atta Ibrahim and daughter of the late Abdul-Aziz Atta, former Secretary to the Federal Government during the Gowon regime. She is a playwright, short story writer and novelist, and the author of Everything Good Will Come, News from Home, Swallow and A Bit of Difference. She is also the recipient of the Wole Soyinka Prize For Literature in Africa 2006, the Noma Award For Publishing in Africa 2009 and other literary prizes. She lives in the United States with her husband Gboyega Ransome-Kuti and their daughter Temi.

 

THE INTERVIEW:

 

Q. Your background – family and education. 

                                                         Sefi: My mother is Iyabo Atta and my late father was Abdul-Aziz Atta. I have four siblings, an elder sister and brother and two younger sisters. I was born in Lagos in 1964, educated at Queen’s College, Lagos, and Millfield School and Birmingham University, England. I graduated in 1985 with a business degree. After my degree, I spent a couple of years in Nigeria and returned to England to train as a chartered accountant. In 1994, I moved to the United States where I trained as a CPA. 

 I started writing full-time in 1997 and graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles, in 2001.

 

Q. Your childhood.

 

Sefi: I had a wonderful childhood. I grew up in Ikoyi, Lagos. Ikoyi was a safe, clean part of Lagos back then, with real neighborhoods. We would go from house to house, ride our bicycles and roam around. There was always somewhere to explore, Ikoyi Park, Five Cowry Creek. If we wanted to swim or go to beach, there was Ikoyi Club and Lagos Motor Boat Club. My childhood was idyllic, except for the fact that my father died when I was 8.

 

Q. Your marriage.

 

Sefi: I met my husband Gboyega Ransome-Kuti at the polo club in Lagos in my national service year. He was doing his house job at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, where he had trained as a doctor. We have been married for 20 years and our daughter Temi is 18.

 

Q. What it means to you, coming from the Atta Ibrahim family.

 

Sefi: Our family history is fascinating to me, the good and the bad. I am particularly interested in Atta Ibrahim’s introduction of Islam to Igbirraland, his struggles with the British colonials and his subsequent dethronement and exile. I am curious about the impact his exile had on uncle Abdul Malik, Nigeria’s first ambassador to the United Kingdom, and my father, who studied at Oxford and later became the head of the Nigerian civil service. Aunty Sefi, too, has a fascinating history. She converted to Catholicism, married poet Christopher Okigbo who died fighting for Biafra, and had a very successful career as woman in the government. Our family history is one epic story after another. 

 

Q. The thing you would do, if you could, to promote the Atta Ibrahim legacy.

 

Sefi: I hope it’s enough to live up to his principles of being proudly African and open to people of different religious and cultural backgrounds. 

 

ABOUT SEFI’s WORKS:

 

“One of the most original, imaginative and gifted fiction

writers in Africa, and arguably the best of her generation.” THE NOMA AWARD 2009.

 

“Again and again Atta’s writings tugs at the heart, at the

conscience. At the same time, reflecting the resilience of

the Lagosians whose lives she explores, humour is almost

constant, effervescent, most often satirical slant.” SUNDAY

INDEPENDENT.