Ice Nweke is one of thousands of Nigerians who have adjusted to the realities of the new normal occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nweke is the Executive Director of Ice Productions, a creative enterprise which recently launched a virtual dance conference tagged DC-DE (Dance Convention-Dance Education) which aims to organise an annual convention with the objective of teaching, training, empowering and equipping dancers with necessary tools, to enable them thrive in the fast changing global economy. In a brief chat with Sunday Sun, he talked about his mother.
Please give us a snapshot of your mum.
I have two mothers, and I guess I have to explain. My biological mum died when I was five years. Then God gave me another mother. Her name is Anne Henshaw. She is a business woman, prayer warrior with a rock steady personality. She didn’t treat me differently from her son. Do you know the craziest part? She’s not my stepmother. She’s not married to my father but she knows my mum. She witnessed the death of my mother. As my mum was passing passing away, her last word was, “Please take care of my children.” Later, shecame to pick me and my sister from Anambra State and brought us to Port Harcourt and put me through school. When she is talking to her son, when she’s giving us transport and pocket money, she would share it equally. I have never asked for any other mum than that woman. She has been in support of everything.
How did she feel that about your decision to become a professional dancer instead of practising what you read in the university?
One thing about my mum is that when she sees that you are serious about something, she makes you go ahead with it and she keeps watching, to give you encouragement when the need arises, because she knows all her kids are serious in whatever they do. After coming to Lagos in Lagos 2005 and staying for awhile, I told her that I would travel outside the country, to France. She asked me what I was going there to do. When I told her that I was going to become a professional dancer, she said okay and began praying about my dance career. I often advice other mothers to have the same attitude toward their children. Watch them and see how they will thrive in their chosen career. You should try and channel the person’s to the right place. When parents do that they could actually see they can boost that passion and support. Most times the support is the key.
What is her favourite food that you also like?
She made me like egusi and okro soup. Not the way they make it here in Lagos. She’s Igbo. Those soups come from our native land but they are bastardised in Lagos, because of the way they cook the soups. My mum’s Egusi and okro soup is one in town, it is just delicious. Egusi is very easy to make. I always say to myself, a lady that cannot make egusi soup something is wrong somewhere.
Please what advice did she give you and which you have held onto till date?
One advice she tells us every day is this: if somebody comes to you and is hungry, give the person food. If they need water, because they are thirsty give them water, if they need shelter give them shelter. That has always been my mantra. People that stay with me don’t have their own place. I feed people because they are hungry. At the end of the day, we are on this earth to serve one another; we are not on this earth to enrich yourself.