My Mum… A Biography

THE LIFE & TIMES OF LADY BENEDETTE UGWUNWA EZEANYA (nee ENECHUKWU)

Mum in her CWO attire, holding a trophy
Celebrating the Life of an Amazon

Lady Benedette Ugwunwa Ezeanya was born on the 4th of April, 1959, the third child out of eight children of Late Mr. James Obumneme Enechukwu and Late Mrs. Elizabeth Onyemaenu Enechukwu (nee Okeke), both from Uke, Anambra State.

Lady Benedette as a baby

Her father, a devout Catholic, a business man of integrity and the then Treasurer of St. Dominics Catholic Church, Uke would set the pace for her outstanding commitment to the service of the Lord and her regard for humanity throughout her lifetime.

Young Bene like most children of her age loved to go to school. At the age of 5, she attended St. Michael’s Primary School, Fegge, Onitsha. Her secondary education took place at the Young Women Technical College (YWTC) and Regina Paecis Secondary School, all in Onitsha.

Her dear father, James Enechukwu would pass on when she was about 12 years old, but his legacy lingered as she and her siblings would proudly introduce themselves as James Enechukwu’s children “Nwa James Enechukwu” at any given opportunity.

Mum & some of her siblings at her nephew's ordination
Umu James Enechukwu at his grandson’s Priestly Ordination

Lady Bene’s love for knowledge and for formal education reflected in her lifelong quest for it as she continued schooling; attending the Teachers Training College, Obosi and later on, College of Education, Nsugbe after she got married and had children.

She would later on go back to school to obtain further education at about the period she became a Grandmother, efficiently combining this with taking care of her daughter and first grandchild.

All through her life, she resounded the importance of education to her children, her domestic helps and every young relative or person who came to close to her. Several times, she would go out of her way to help them get quality education. Such was her belief in the ability of education to improve someone’s standing in life.

Lady Benedette got married to Chief Sylvester Ifeanyi Ezeanya in 1976, and they had their white wedding in 1978. Together they bore and raised eight children.

Becoming Mrs. Ezeanya
Mum, Dad and their eight kids
Ndi Be Ezeanya

Through her years of child bearing, her tenacious personality and her go-getter qualities would shine through as she kept pursuing her education, maintaining her commitment to the service of the Lord and to her various business interests as well as contributing her quota to helping her husband run his businesses. He would fondly refer to her as his adviser.

On a business trip

Lady Benedette Ezeanya was an entrepreneur and a business woman who worked hard and taught her children the virtues of hard work. Her business interests included high-end clothing fabrics, car paint, automobile refurbishing and accessories. She was a person of integrity, ethical in her business dealings and she earned the respect and trust of many clients and business partners.

A kind hearted woman who was easily moved by the plight of others, Lady Benedette Ezeanya always left people better than she met them. She gave generously and would visit the Motherless Babies Homes to make donations. She was always ready to help her relatives, taking special care of her beloved Mum and her grandparents too. She would always assist the needy, usually going the extra mile to help people solve their problems.

Lady Benedette Ezeanya though a disciplinarian was a peace maker and tried to maintain peace in her home.

She was full of life and she loved to look good. She was one person you could count on to turn up at an event being organized by her family or friends. She was an active participant in every community she lived in at Onitsha and also in her hometown Uke.

A lover of the arts, Lady Benedette Ezeanya was a storyteller, dramatic in her narratives and pulling in her listeners as she painted vivid pictures of different scenarios, punctuating with songs, chants and ululations where relevant.

She loved different genres of Music both local and international and at a point in her life was an active member of the choir.

Lady Benedette loved to dance; she belonged to several dance groups in the Church through her lifetime, participating actively in creating and releasing new dance steps and until her demise was among the leaders of her CWO Band Group.

At a Dance Group Presentation

Most importantly, Lady Benedette Ezeanya was a God fearing woman who took her Christian faith seriously. She believed so much in God and in prayers, and would usually be found in her room with her rosary, uttering prayers to God. She rarely missed the daily early morning Masses and she raised her children to love the Lord and to fear him, ensuring they attended prayers daily in the Block Rosary Crusade. The Lord Almighty showed her mercy and gave her the opportunity to reaffirm the Lordship of Jesus over her life before she took a bow.

An astute leader; Lady Benedette Ezeanya belonged to, and led several Christian organizations in her communities both in Onitsha and Uke where she had the opportunity to mentor several young women. These include:

  • St. Anne Chigozie Women’s Group, St. Dominic’s Catholic Church Uke (Former President)
  • Catholic Women’s Organisation (C.W.O), Zone 3, Holy Spirit Parish, Onitsha (Former Vice President)
  • Ubulenu Girls Association (Matron)
  • C.W.O St Dominic’s Catholic Church Uke, Onitsha Branch (Assistant ChairLady)
  • C.W.O St. Michael The Archangel Community, Our Lady Queen of All Saints Catholic Church, Federal Housing Estate, Trans-Nkisi (Treasurer)
  • Faith Alive Sisters’ Prayer Group, Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha
  • C.W.O St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Federal Housing Estate, Trans-Nkisi
  • Daughters of the Holy Spirit, Adoration Ministry, Federal Housing Estate, Trans-Nkisi Chapter
  • Nne Di Uso Women’s Club, Uke

…and several others.

Fondly called “Abe Ndi Uwa” by her grandmother, “Fashion Madam” or “Fashion Mazi o” by friends and family, “Mama Ifeyinwa” or “Lady B” by her husband; Lady Benedette Ezeanya would be fondly remembered for her simplicity, humility, down-to-earth, approachable and friendly personality.

She will be deeply missed by family and friends.

Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling, Only remembered by what we have done.