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NAOMI: I shared my story of abuse on the world stage

By Josephine Agbonkhese

From drawing inspiration from her travails as a victim of domestic violence in her first marriage and later a single mum, Naomi Osemedua became a global sensation, streaming live videos from the comfort of her home.

As a nursing motherand with no tech background, she would hit the live button on ‘PeriscopeTV’ and simply begin to ‘talk.’ Soon, the world became her audience  and in no time, she was nicknamed‘African Queen of Live Streaming.’

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This was at a time when the live button was absent on most social media platforms. Gradually, the author of Amazon’s bestseller‘Socially Speaking -My Periscope Miracles’ became a highly sought-after inspirational speaker at conferences and seminars, a content creator and positive change coach.

The alumna of Ambrose Ali University,  Dale Carnegie Institute, Dr. Myles Munroe Global Leadership Mentoring Programme and University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, is today the Creative Director of the firm Sparkle with Naomi and the Chief Storyteller at Women With Stories International. Osemedua will be the only African speaking at the 8th edition of TEDx 2019 in the US next month.

How did you earn the ‘African Queen of Live Streaming’title?

I started live streaming in October 2015. Before then, Iwas not a big fan of social media. I had no tech background and I assumed it was unnecessary. Everything changed when I hit the ‘Go Live’ button on the Periscope App. I was intrigued at how with one touch of a button, I could connect with the world. This was at a time when there was no Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, YouTube or LinkedIn live platform.

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It was so profound because Periscope had a world map feature that would show you when people were ‘Live’ around the globe by a red dot. I would have people come into my live broadcasts on so many occasions and tell me: “Right now, you are the only one who is live on the African continent.” I invested in learning how to use the platform and soon people wanted  to pay me to teach them.

On the 6th month anniversary of ‘Going Live,’ precisely October 11, 2016,something amazing happened. My channel started trending live on the Periscope.tv app, making me the first African to trend on the platform with millions of users. Hence the title ‘African Queen of Live Streaming’ from my fans across the globe.

…but what inspires issues your talk about?

I love to inspire people. As a people builder with amission to call out the seeds of greatness in others, I am obsessed about people living their best lives ‘now’. I am also on a mission to ‘die empty’. I do not want to take any of the gifts and talents that God has blessed me with to the grave. So, I show up daily online to ‘sparkle’ my world, like only Ican.

What skills helped?

I started with nothing but my smart phone and internet connection. What kept me in the game were three things: the right mindset, the willingness to ‘do it afraid’ because there is no ‘edit’ when you ‘go live’ and that could be scary for so many as they wonder about the mistakes they might make, and the constant investment in personal development.

I’ve heard so much about  Women with Stories. What’s the idea and is it meeting its objectives?

During one of my live streaming sessions, I went public about my personal story of running away from home and eloping at age 22. People really couldn’t believe I experienced so much because I didn’t look like mypast. I kept getting messages of how my story was inspiring. The

Women with Stories platform was launched on March 8, 2017,with a podcast in which I shared my story as the first episode; we even got featured on the International Women’s Day website.  Over the next one year,we featured many more women from across the globe and in August 2018, as Iturned 40, we hosted the first ever global conference in Lagos with the theme:’Your Story is Your Gift’.

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At the Women With Stories International, we are on a mission to empower women to find and ‘own’ their unique stories, discover their cure, serve others and “profit from it”. I am a living witness as the ChiefStoryteller. In April, I received an invitation to the Women Economic Forum inNew Delhi, India, where I shared my story in different sessions over six daysand received the ‘Exceptional Woman of Excellence Award.’ In October, I will be speaking at TEDx Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A and I am the only speaker fromAfrica in this year’s edition.

You eloped?

That was a major dark season of my life. Imagine losing your family and everything dear to you for love and then ending up being mistreated. My sons were not spared.

No one should ever have to experience abuse in the hands of someone they love.

How did you survive?

Survival came in various forms in that season. I was cut off from my family, so, I needed to survive emotionally. I was a second year student in the university and therefore needed to survive academically too. Then there was the financial, marital and even motherhood survival struggle with my two sons.  I had to grow up fast and learn new things as the years went by. I never dropped out of school. Instead, I started a business to survive and after school, I got a job.

What key personal decisions helped?

I have always loved reading from my early years at Living Faith Church International; Bishop David Oyedepo always talked about reading books. That prepared me for what was ahead. My favourite author was Dr.Myles Munroe. I read so much about purpose, potential and more. It’s phenomenal that I actually met Dr Myles personally in 2012 and was privileged to be mentored by him before his passing. I had a strong knowing that there was more to my life than my current situation; and that there was purpose behind my pain. So, in April 2009, I walked away and never looked back!

But some remain in an abusive relationship…

I believe you owe it to yourself to be alive first of all. Some stay for fear of how they will survive when they walk away, but end up getting killed in the process. Others stay for the kids who are not just watching, but whose entire adult life will be defined by decisions which they (the abused partner) didn’t make earlier. And the cycle sadly continues.

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What is your idea of a peaceful, non-abusive marriage?

One where there is love and respect. My story has a happy ending; I found love again after four years of being a single mum and I got married for the first time in 2013 in the presence of my entire family and loved ones.

When my husband Richard met me, he had never been married and he had no kids. We recently celebrated our 6th year wedding anniversary and our union is blessed with another son and a daughter. Richard has so much respect for who I am and the work I do and he really is my biggest supporter alongside my family.

Vanguard

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