19 January 2013

Nigeria: My Secret Life - I Had Problems With English, Now I Have a Problem With Hausa - Rahma

My parents are... My dad is my main role model. He's a banker, a lawyer and an economist, and he instilled us with a business mind and made us independent and goal-oriented. I come from a large family, I am the second of sixteen children. My mum passed away when I was 11yrs old. We were very close.

The household I grew up in... My childhood was really good. I was a very outgoing child and I used to win all the dance competitions. My dad was always very tough on us, which has helped us because we've all grown up and all of us are doing well.

When I was a child I wanted to... become a doctor, but I'm very squeamish, which didn't help! I decided later to study pharmacy, It's a great job, it's flexible and I can work for myself.

As funny as it may sound... When I was younger I couldn't speak English, and it's so weird now because I can't speak Hausa.

You may need to know... I don't believe that I'm 28. I still feel like a teenager, like my younger sisters. I still feel like there's so much I can achieve.

Looking in the mirror... I see a strong, independent woman. I feel young at heart. Sometimes I feel like I missed out a bit on my childhood because I had to grow up quicker after my mum passed away. I feel as if I should have had more fun.

If I could change one thing about myself... My seriousness. Sometimes I can come across as too serious.

Believe it or not... I can't sleep without reading, either science fiction or historical romance. I love reading.

Fashion to me is... I come from a family with lots of girls, and no one would look at me out of all the others and say that I'm the most fashionable one in the family. Fashion is great but it's not a driving force for me.

One of my life's challenges... Image means a lot in Nigeria, because people judge you as you present yourself, especially in business. Even now I still have that challenge where when people come and ask if they can see the pharmacist and I have to tell them that I'm the pharmacist. They think I'm too young.

One thing people don't know about me... is that I'm very soft and romantic. But I come across as very independent and self sufficient. People don't really get to see my softer side.

My one regret is... not taking chances. Whenever I thought of doing something bold I always held myself back.

My greatest achievement is... setting up my business.

In five years time... By God's grace I hope to be married with two children, expand my business to four pharmacies around Abuja and be more content.

My encouragement to women...I feel there are limitations here in Nigeria for women, but when I was in the UK you could do your own thing and people didn't judge you. And guys can get intimidated with your success. So I think we as women should be more assertive and confident in ourselves to say 'This is what I want to do.'

My life in eight words...honest, friendly, caring, outgoing, supportive, disciplined and goal-oriented.


Rahma Ndanusa was born in Kaduna in 1984 to the family of Dr. Suleyman Ndanusa from Niger State. The family later moved to Lagos where she completed primary school before going to England for her secondary education, after which she studied Pharmacy at King's College, London, where she also got her Masters.

After working as a Clinical Pharmacist for six years, Rahma left the UK in 2012 to open her own business, Rama Pharmacy in Abuja. She is single.

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