Personal Stories

So Many Lessons Here To Learn From 92 Year-Old Elizabeth Ndibe


92-years old Elizabeth Ndibe is the mother of Okey Ndibe, a novelist, political columnist, and essayist.

She shares stories from her childhood, how she called the bluff of men, getting married late and the society’s conclusion that she was too old to be married.

She said,

We (my husband and I) grew up together; he was an Umueze village boy because he was from Umueze. I grew up here too; so, we knew ourselves as young people. Then, I used to call the bluff of men because I was as brilliant and as strong as they were. Some of them said I was a tomboy because I would not tolerate insults from them. If they gave me a knock, I would run after them and retaliate.

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He was a nice boy; he wasn’t a playboy like other boys. His parents weren’t very rich. I have this love for poor people; so, I wanted to complement it.

He read only Standard 6 and I was in higher elementary. Then, it was a taboo for girl that went to college to marry a person that was below her. But I wanted to show people how to live a happy and family life.

Among all the boys that we grew up together, I liked him the most because he was humble, handsome and didn’t pretend like other boys who would tell you flattering things. That was the attraction.

I got married at 33 and he was about five years older than me. He was born in 1920. He was training his other siblings and didn’t have much to boast of. Then, I was training my only brother who died a few years ago.

God is great. He blessed me with five children, four boys and a girl just as I prayed for. Before I got married, I didn’t live a flamboyant life. I didn’t answer some boys who wanted to marry me. I was full of myself; so, they said that I had outgrown marriage age because I was 33 then. When I got married March 1, 1958, shortly after that, I gave birth to my first child, Ogochukwu Ndibe, a medical doctor, also called John.

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So when people in our market got telegram that I gave birth, they were shocked and said, “Ehh! Elizabeth could give birth!” I was even hiding the pregnancy because I was ashamed. I love my husband so much. After one year and five months, I gave birth to Anthony, that’s Okey Ndibe.

Three years later, my daughter came. She lives in the US with her husband. Another one came two years later, Jude. He works with a private company in Lagos as an architect. My last child lives in the US. I’m happy with all of them and they are happy with me too.

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