“I decided to join Ezibota because I found the idea of a community for people of color very enticing. Living in Istanbul, I had lost touch with my roots, surrounded by so many different people from so many different places, I had developed a detachment from the most important things, things that were supposed to matter the most, my culture and my writing. Ezibota felt like a place where I could put all of that back together.

I wanted to be a part of a community where I get to speak to young people whom had a passion for writing just as much as I do, whom have had not quite same but at least similar and an understanding of my experiences. I want to share my stories, ideas and listen to other people’s stories. I love meeting and talking to new people. I enjoy learning about their cultures, traditions and what drives their passions.

Ezibota feels like a virtual representation of what a home should feel like.”

-Asma’u Shaheedah

Read Asma’u’s Publications

Meet Asma’u

My name is Asma’u Shaheedah. Shaheedah is not my surname. I had always officially used my surname until few years back when I decided to drop it and adopt my first and middle names.

I am a Muslim Hausa girl from Northern Nigeria. I was born and raised in Kano State, Nigeria until my paternal grandmother died and my father decided it was too much for him to have to keep coming to the city where his mother no longer lived. I speak Hausa, English, Turkish and currently learning French. I have one older sister, a younger brother and two amazing little sisters. My father worked in Southern Nigeria and moved around a lot so in 2001, we packed up and moved to Lagos Nigeria. I do not remember most of my childhood in Lagos state but I continued my primary education there.

Few years later we had to move again and we moved back to Northern Nigeria, Kaduna State where I finished my primary education and went to a boarding secondary school where I began writing little pieces of amateur poetry for myself. Some of my teachers found out about my little passion for writing and encouraged me to write more, I was assigned the president of Press Club for my writing skills. I spent six years in a boarding Turkish secondary school where I met my closest friends. At the end of my 6th year, I was approached like most of the good students in my class by one of my teacher whom was Turkish. We had a conversation about my future goals and she offered to apply to Universities in Turkey for me. I had never imagined moving to Turkey but I agreed. Few weeks later I got a call, I had been admitted into two Universities in Istanbul. I spoke with my family and my mother and father decided if I wanted to go, I could go. I packed up and moved to Istanbul at the age of 16 and began studying Software Engineering.

I had the hardest first year of my life. 6 months after I moved to Istanbul, I decided I was going to leave; I couldn’t handle the culture shock. I had major language barrier problems, the fact that for the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who did not look, dress, talk or hold the same ideals as I, at that point in my life, writing was the only thing I had which kept me from falling apart. After my first year, I went to visit my family in Nigeria and after my summer break was over, I decided I would go back to Istanbul, leaving would mean change and culture shock won and I could not have that.

Here I am, 6 years after my terrible first year. I have my Bachelors degree in Software Engineering, self-published my first book; a collection of Poetry titled Solitude, in my final semester of my Masters degree in Information Technologies, have made some pretty cool friends and adopted a pet Brazilian turtle.

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