Dee Dawkins-Haigler is a politician from Georgia, USA. She was a member of Georgia House of Representatives, representing the state’s 91st district from 2009 until 2017. She lives in Atlanta Georgia in the United States of America. She is a woman of many parts, a political journalist, entrepreneur, and loves to empower women all over the world. On September 3, she was one of the guests at the unveiling of Design Fashion Africa (DFA) at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Dressed in a lemon blouse and black jean pants, her scintillating shoes attracted the reporter to walk up to her. She spoke passionately about Nigeria, her life trying to touch people’s lives and lots more in this interview.
You look very much like a Nigerian, how long have you been in the US?
All of my life; I was born in the United States. I’m always opportune to go to different places to meet wonderful people. I have been to at least 14 African countries but I haven’t been to Cameroon, I recently found out I have a root in Cameroon. I have been to West Africa, East Africa, and South Africa. I just found out my lineage three months ago. When they said Cameroon, I didn’t know all this while but now I have to make sure I travel to Cameroon to see if I could learn more. But I have been to every place: Rwanda, Liberia, and Botswana.
Why are you in Nigeria?
I was in Delta State to see the development there. Then, I came to Lagos to relax a little bit. I may go to Abuja maybe to see some of my other friends. One of the things I have done in the past is honour Nigerians and Africans in the United States. When I come to Nigeria, I want to see some of them and stay a little bit longer.
Having said that, what do you like about Nigerians?
I love the people. The people are very nice. I love the food, I love the culture. I just love the whole experience of Nigeria richness. I love the vegetation. Usually, I have always flown whenever I’m in Nigeria. But this time, I wanted to ride in a car from Delta State to Lagos. I wanted to see some of the topography, I wanted to see the largeness, and I wanted to see the land and farms. I wanted to see the beauty of Nigeria. I refused to take the airplane; I just entered a car to Lagos. It was quite an experience. Well, I did that but I would never do it again. I would never do that again, never (laughs).
What was your experience on the road?
In America we have the speed limits, we have the one-way and the traffic goes in one direction. This fateful Sunday, everyone was going the same direction, in both sides of the highway. It was another experience, I have never witnessed that in my entire life. I would never do that again. Never, I would just go on the airplane.
What Nigeria food do you like?
I love jollof rice, I love pepper soup, I love suya, and I love the different vegetables. I love Nigerian food.
In America, how do you spend your day?
It depends on what the day is. I have four children; three of them in college. One writes music. He’s a hip-hop artiste. I’m in a lot of women organizations, I empower women. I may go up in the morning and do community service. I may go to the television to do my shows. On other days, I give speeches. Every day is a different day for me in the States. Every day is busy and I help the less privileged women a lot. Even when I come to Nigeria, I have always helped women. We have poverty everywhere. We have poverty in America as well not only in Nigeria. In the United States, we have those who are doing very well and those who don’t do well so much. It’s not as much middle class but we have a lot of people who need our help. Even those who may be middle-class, you find out that sometimes, they need encouragement to open a business. They need encouragement to go to school. There are children who are orphans in the orphanages, they need our help. So, I try to make my life a life of service.
Does your background have anything to do with your service to the less privileged?
The Bible says whatever you do to the least you do it unto him. The Bible talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visit those who are in prison. I make my life one that would be pleasing in God’s sight. I believe if you give unto others God will give it back to you. The Bible tells us that seek ye first the kingdom of God… This means that you don’t treat anyone like they are bad creation. So everything I have belongs to God.
Let’s talk about your NGO, what is the purpose of founding it?
I have two NGOs. One of them is called Organization of World Leaders and TIME 1000. I bring people around the world to come into the country and help to empower those in needs. What I do is, I bring people together around the world to run and to help empower one of the less privileged. I bring in entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers and bank executives. We come together we, raise money and we go back and empower our community. Other organization that are registered in the US is the Orchids. That NGO and my NGO and World Leaders last three months ago gave menstrual cups to all the girls in South Africa. We assist school children, we have tampons for babies, during the hurricane Wilson flooding, we spent money to assist. The NGO is about professional people who want to help change the world in a positive phase; to stop hunger and eradicate poverty. I go to the United Nations a lot to help stop human trafficking and sex trafficking.
I also use the ample chance to talk about domestic violence, illiteracy, police brutality and rape. I talk about all the things that cause black women to die. I invite people from all over the world to come to Johannesburg and talk in that community, a lot of times, we talk about black boys that have been killed, and they never paid attention to the girl that is black.
You talked about your children, are you a single parent?
I’m married and we have been married for 29 years. We met in college. He is in the military. I have 27 years, 20 years and 18 years old children.
You don’t look it. How do you keep up your figure?
I just walk. I try not to eat too much. I eat Nigerian food all the time.
You seem to be adventurous?
I do like adventure. People tell me that I’m not afraid coming all alone to Nigeria. I came in last Monday. I stayed in Lagos one night, I went to Delta State and stayed in Delta for five days. I traveled to Warri by myself. I’m not afraid. I usually come to Nigeria with at least one Senator or House of Representatives member from the U.S. I bring them so that they can see. Some of them have never been to Africa. But on this trip because I didn’t know how long I’m going to stay I decided to come alone. In 2017, I came in from the US to attend “The Experience”, by Pastor Paul Adefarasin church. I came with another Representative from South Carolina. This is the first time I’m coming to relax, sit down and go to the pool for relaxation.
What is fashion for you?
I like all types of fashion. When I’m with lots of people; businessmen and women , politicians, I have to wear a lot of dresses. I love dresses. I love bright colours.
How do you spend your pastime?
I love music. I love all kinds of music. I love to dance. I love things that make one feel good. I love the beach, I love the water, I like ski diving and I like to read. These are the things that make me feel good. I like to be in the water. I like beach, I like to visit the zoo. I’m very adventurous.