Chichi Ngozi
AGE WHEN INTERVIEWED: 30
BORN: Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
INTERVIEWED IN: Sunnyside, Pretoria, South Africa
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: Madelene Cronje

Chichi Ngozi’s childhood dream was to become a nun, a lifestyle choice her parents would never allow. Instead, she studied education in Owerri, in the heart of Igboland where she was raised. At the age of 24, a twist in an intimate relationship pushed her toward a new life in South Africa. She is now a hairdresser and lives in the suburb of Sunnyside in Pretoria with her husband and three-year-old daughter.

     The way they are dressing here is totally different from Nigeria. There, when you walk the streets wearing a miniskirt you feel embarrassed. They’ll be shouting, ‘Hey! Didn’t your mother see you when you left the house? You want to show all the men that you are ashawo?’ That is the word for a loose woman. You will feel so embarrassed!

     There is no way my daughter will grow up in Nigeria. She was born here, and I would like her to grow up here. She will go home and visit but she’ll live here. I don’t think she will manage in another place and, besides, there are more opportunities here for her, even if she is a girl.

There is no way my daughter will grow up in Nigeria. She was born here, and I would like her to grow up here. She will go home and visit but she’ll live here. I don’t think she will manage in another place and, besides, there are more opportunities here for her, even if she is a girl.

Except – if tomorrow I wake up from sleep and hear that the government says we should go back to our country, then you can see me leave this place and go back to Nigeria. Then from Nigeria I will go to another country.