July 19, 2024
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Hilda Dokubo shares insights on personal growth, resilience, parental support from ‘The Waterside Girl’ memoir

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  • July 3, 2024
  • 6 min read
Hilda Dokubo shares insights on personal growth, resilience, parental support from ‘The Waterside Girl’ memoir

I want to help young people arrive at decision-making, overcome their fears, says Dokubo

By Godwin Okondo

IN an engaging virtual conference hosted recently by Mrs. Koko Kalango’s Talking Books Africa, a programme of Rainbow Book Club, notable Nollywood actress, politician and human rights activist, Hilda Dokubo, discussed her memoir, The Waterside Girl, offering participants a rich expose on personal growth, resilience, and the critical role of parental support in fostering healthy development among children. With insightful contributions from participants, the conference provided a valuable platform for reflection and empowerment.

The programme held on Saturday, June 29th, featuring development professional, Tarari Kalango, who was the interviewer, with moderation from youth and organizational development specialist, Osarume Akenzua.

While welcoming participants, Kalango said, “It’s exciting to have a guest with so many facets in her life, and the audience should expect an interesting conversation. It’s always lovely to sit down with the brains behind a book to know what the author was thinking and identify with them.”

In her introductory remarks, Dokubo said, “I take one step at a time and I felt the need to put this account down after listening to other people. The younger generation thinks you wake up one morning and success just falls on your lap, but it doesn’t work that way. This platform gives me an opportunity to speak and meet with diverse people and remodel myself. I’m also a work-in-progress.”

On the desired impact of the book, the star actress said, “Young people are having the audacity to open up and share things they are afraid of. I’ve heard all kinds of things that I have had to invite parents over to discuss with them, and let them know that they are responsible for some of the things their children are going through, and I’m grateful that a lot of people today trust me and want to talk to me.

“Listen to their unspoken words. When you want them to visit a relative, and your children put up a fight, try and find out why. Watch out when your kids run away from home when you have a particular guest around, or that child may end up in the wrong hands, because if they can’t get the help they need from you as a parent, they go out and they turn to their friends for help.

“If you notice there is a lot on that child’s mind, hold the child closer, interact and get that child to talk, and show them love. This isn’t the time to condemn them, because the more you do so, the more they want to run very far. I also felt the same way. I want to help young people arrive at decision-making and help them overcome their fears.”

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Hilda Dokubo

She spoke on how she keeps herself in a new mindset when something triggers her fears, adding, “Over time, I have learnt that it is very important not to beat yourself up and learn to admit that you’re human and are prone to making mistakes. Do not let anyone make you small because you made a mistake. Don’t let anyone make it look like everything is against you, and don’t talk down on young people when they make mistakes. Instead, find out what is wrong.”

She also talked about effective strategies to healing and forgiving after a difficult relationship, and how to move forward, saying, “Don’t jump into another relationship after losing one. Take the time to heal yourself from the pain and anger you feel about the rejection and abandonment. One might have gotten disfigured in a relationship, if it was violent, or may have been psychologically abused. Forgiveness is a gift, and some of us have learnt to build it for ourselves. I forgive people for not understanding me and I move on. I won’t beat myself up or beat you up for not seeing it.”

On why she has been vocal in Rivers State politics and why she joined the Labour Party, Dokubo said, “I came into politics through advocacy, discussing the rights of women and children and I had to read the document of the Labor Party and it spoke to who I was and still am, that there was a party like that, and that’s why I am still in the party and I am the chairman today.”

She also spoke on the inspiration behind the book’s title, The Waterside Girl, saying, “I like to give positivity to things that people have termed as negative. The book is about a young girl who was born in the town Port-Harcourt, around the waterside. The waterside children are seen as useless, and you being a waterside girl means you can stand tall, allow the water cleanse you and you can come out clean. Your life is so productive that everyone else would want it.”

Kalango also shared a few words of appreciation and commended Dokubo for producing a good story, noting, “Thank you for making out time to write, and I’m so excited you have written something that children in Port Harcourt can interact with.” She also asked questions regarding Dokubo’s stormy relationship with her mother while growing up, and how she was able to go through that difficult time, as well as her experience with one of her sons.

Reacting, Dokubo said, “My dad would walk you through your offense, but my mom would beat you through them. After my dad died, we drew closer. I got to the university and I began to read more, and I learnt about how people react to fear, and my mom’s fear was losing us. I was not created to take someone breathing down on me, so we didn’t connect, but now we do.

“For my son, when I realised he was depressed and had insomnia, I let him know that we can go through it together if he shared with me what the problem was. What everyone hate is people saying, ‘I warned you,’ and the person living with this trauma sinks in deeper. If they don’t have anyone they can trust, they are going to turn to their friends. Make yourself the go-to place for your child.

“My sons can’t share anything with anybody until they tell me. Sometimes, they would go out and they would come and tell me different stories about where they went and what they did, and I would also talk to them if there was something they could have handled better. Make your children your friends and build an environment where they feel they can trust you, but let them know you are their parents and not friends!”

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