A Victor’s Story Of Tribulation, Triumph and The Road To Attaining Endless Fortune
Moving to a far-off country, at a young age and becoming largely separated from your family is undeniably one of the most life-altering events that any human being can encounter. Factor in starting a family, building a career and studying at university, while still adjusting to living in a new setting for years to come and you’ll find a journey that’s expectedly challenging but all too fulfilling, nonetheless.
This is exactly the life Ify Adenuga made for herself when she left the shores of Nigeria in 1980 and journeyed to London, England to find greener pastures as a young woman in her 20s. Her life prior to this point was however much more riddled with trials that shaped her childhood and upbringing.
Ten years before her move to London, the Nigerian Civil War had just come to an end. A defining moment in history, the war caused the deaths and vastly upended the lives of millions of members of the Igbo community, who were forced to relocate from other parts of Nigeria to their home states in the South-Eastern region. Adenuga was one of these individuals – a young girl who had to move back home with her family, to find a safe haven, away from the violence that was being inflicted on her tribespeople.
As you can imagine, her life during this harrowing period was far from smooth sailing. As the eldest of a family of eleven children, she had to take on the responsibility of caring and looking after her siblings, some of whom she sadly lost to illnesses, and assisting her parents throughout this period, while enduring gruelling experiences and even falling victim to an illness herself, which nearly claimed her life.
“[My] work ethic [was] inbuilt in me and that’s what has carried me on, driven my inspiration to achieve and guided me non-stop.”
On learning about her story, it’s safe to assume that Adenuga’s experiences of not only living but growing through and surviving the war solidified her unwavering resolve and provided her with an inspiring level of fortitude which guided her as she grew into the young woman who would later find herself in the unfamiliar territory of London.
Her experiences have also unsurprisingly moulded her outlook on life and how she manoeuvres it, till date. “When I was growing up, my parents [toiled] non-stop, irrespective of whatever the circumstances were” she says to me in conversation. “That work ethic [was] inbuilt in me and that’s what has carried me on. That’s what has driven my inspiration to achieve and guided me non-stop.” This work ethic is glaringly evident when you look at Ify Adenuga’s life and the many ways she’s achieved success.
Long recognised as a motivational figure for the younger generations, she has intentionally dedicated her life to developing youth empowerment projects and working with organisations both in the UK and Nigeria to provide support and guidance to young people and help them to live rewarding lives. And this was a field she was always bound to end up in as her quest to “understand how to bring up a child happily” is something that has always fuelled her passion to educate the youths.
Beyond her professional life, Adenuga’s family life has definitely not straggled in contributing to her boundless fulfillment. Not long after moving to the UK, she found love and got married to Joseph Senior Adenuga and along the way, they became parents to four bright and exceedingly talented children. As the mother of artists and producers, Joseph Junior, popularly known as Skepta and Jamie, popularly known as JME and younger siblings, Julie, a radio presenter and Jason, a graphic designer, Ify Adenuga has won glory as one half of the parental unit to heirs who are undeniably some of the most successful and celebrated names in the UK’s creative space today.
“We allowed [our children] to be themselves and engaged with them, we stepped away from the parent-child [dynamic].”
And she partly owes this to the non-conventional ways in which her children were brought up and the fact that restrictions weren’t placed on them as to how much they were able to express themselves. She and her husband raised her children to see the entire family as a team, they didn’t “put boundaries on what a child could and couldn’t say” she says. “We allowed them to be themselves and engaged with them, we stepped away from the parent-child [dynamic].” And this clearly allowed her offspring to blossom into the talents that they are today.
Having found fulfilment in both her professional and family life, through the milestones she’s achieved and the extraordinary experiences she’s had throughout her life, it was no doubt the perfect moment for Ify Adenuga to share her journey, which she had been documenting from a young age, with the world. And so, her soon to be released memoir, ‘Endless Fortune’ was born.
As a prelude to its release, she shared her reasons for writing the memoir:
“Firstly is to inform my children and my grandchildren about my life growing up and how it’s so different to theirs, an opportunity I missed with my own parents. And secondly, to recognise and appreciate the fellow diaspora, regardless of where they call home.”
Endless Fortune is an enthralling and moving chronicle of survival, perseverance, love, family and all the ordeals and victories of growing up and attaining success as a migrant in a foreign land. It’s also a story of how the author did this in her own way, refusing to let society’s dictations or rules place any restrictions on her goals and how she was determined to achieve them.
To round up our conversation, I ask Ify Adenuga about some of the major lessons she’s learnt so far. For such a formidable woman who has conquered so much in life, you might expect a highly layered answer but her response is more grounded, displaying a level of humility that’s more than inspiring.
“If you take away all the human social constructs, we’re all one” she says to me. “We’re all chasing two goals in life, happiness and freedom. And that’s what we should be concerning ourselves about, nothing else.”
An empowering frame of mind that boldly shines through the narrative of Endless fortune as she takes us through her journey and the experiences which have all contributed to her becoming the woman she is today. And perhaps, the most important thing to note about Ify Adenuga’s story is that, despite the hurdles life has thrown at her, she has gained a type of fortune, way more prized than the assets or material valuables that have come into her possession over the years. A fortune that most, if not all of us, perpetually seek throughout our individual journeys – a life abound in happiness, fulfilment and love, in all its remarkable forms.
Pre-order ‘Endless Fortune’ here
Images Courtesy of BWL Agency