A NIGERIAN and MBA student at Harvard Business School, Boston, United States, Miss Nneka Ezeigwe, has won the best prize in the School’s art competition. A statement from Harvard Business School website reads: “Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver. We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Ezeigwe's response was the wining entry for The Portrait Project.
Ezeigwe wrote: “‘Where are you from?’ is a question I struggle to answer. I pause when asked, and finally mumble a response that feels roughly accurate. Truth is: I’m part tourist, part native in many places. I’m frequently described as ‘lucky’ to have been exposed to many enviable experiences globally. I feel lucky, mostly, but a big part of me wishes I had the choice to grow up in the land of my birth (Nigeria), wishes I had the choice to attend high school and university with childhood friends, wishes I had the choice to start my career close to family.
“When you’re from the third world, if you’re lucky, staying home is rarely an option. You migrate to get a world-class education; you stay abroad to find the opportunities that set you up for the career success you desire. You leave loved ones behind, make new friends, lose touch with old ones and feel like a terrible daughter when you don’t make it home in time to call mum before she falls asleep, hours ahead and halfway across the world from you.
“This is why I want to spend my life contributing to the social and economic transformation of Africa. I want to grow companies and build institutions that give our children a true chance to let home be home. I want to see Africa become a destination that can nurture the ambition and success that I’ve travelled so far away to find. And so I am lucky to finally be going home”.