73-year-old Nigerian Woman Becomes PhD Holder After Graduating From Top US University (Photo)
Florence Nwando Onwusi Digidu
The elderly woman defended her dissertation to earn her Ph.D. in Communication, Culture, and Media Studies on Sunday, April 26.
Florence’s dissertation titled, “Igbo Collective Memory of the Nigeria – Biafra War (1967-1970): Reclaiming Forgotten Women’s Voices and Building Peace through a Gendered Lens,” is a reflection of the Igbo women who, like herself, survived the war.
The 73-year-old woman went through many challenges to finish her program and even defend her final paper.
In the second year of school, Florence lost both parents and had to travel down to Nigeria to perform their burial rites.
She revealed that she was completely deflated, both physically and emotionally, but she endured because her father always wanted him to be a doctor.
The woman also battled shingles, which disabled the right side of her face and she lost her voice. According to her, losing her voice was symbolic as her work is about elevating Igbo women’s voices too.
Recalling the memories of surviving the Nigerian-Biafra War, a civil war between the Igbo people and the Nigerian government, which she overcame 50 years ago, Florence said she will never forget it.
“The day the Nigeria-Biafra War ended, I, like everyone was wallowing in anxiety and fear about what would happen to us as the vanquished.
“A very optimistic gentleman came over to me and asked: ‘Why are you so sad; can’t you see you have survived this terrible war?’
“I stood up, even though the Nigerian Airforce was on its last bombing raid, and leaped up in the air in mad glee, repeating to myself and others: ‘Yes, I have survived, I am a survivor!’,” she partly said.
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