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When Nonku Kunene Adumetey’s father died, the childhood trauma she spent her whole life pushing down, resurfaced. She spiraled into a state of anger and sadness while juggling a new baby, grieving her father’s death, and seeing the people who assaulted her at his funeral.
A first time mom, Adumetey said she realized she wouldn’t be a good mother if she didn’t deal with the unresolved trauma. After surviving one of the scariest moments of her life – her father’s death – she refused to live in fear any longer, and she began speaking up about her abuse.
Adumetey also started writing therapeutically. She wrote messages to her younger self and other survivors, teaching them self-love and empowerment. These messages turned into a children’s book, titled “I Celebrate My Skin,” which will be the first of a trilogy.
“My hope is that children from all ages aren’t afraid to use their voices,” said Adumetey. “I want them to really embrace themselves and appreciate who they are.”
“I Celebrate My Skin” reminds children to love themselves and their skin color. The picture book teaches children words like ivory, copper, and umber, so that they can refer to the color of their skin by name. It also describes the function of skin, outside of its appearance, that skin is the largest organ in a human’s body, and that it serves as a protective layer. The book is available on her website at nonkuscorner.com.
Adumetey’s second book in the trilogy, “I Celebrate My Voice,” will be published in November. Adumetey said as a child, she didn’t really express who she was, and in her book she wants to teach children to be vocal about who they are, what they love about themselves, and what they’re passionate about. “The things that make you shine, the things that you want the world to see and know about you, that is your voice, and you need to celebrate and love it,” said Adumetey.
“I Celebrate Myself” will be the last book in the trilogy, and she said it will remind children why it is important to appreciate and celebrate themselves. She plans to publish this book sometime next year.
Adumetey would also like to start an organization some day to support women and children who experienced sexual abuse and trauma, she said. She hopes by sharing her story, she can inspire others to speak up and get the help they need.
Adumetey was born in Eswatini, a small country in Southern Africa. She said her family had little money growing up, but her father believed in the power of education. Adumetey said she spent her childhood studying hard, and she remembers saving up money to buy stationery, on which she taught children who couldn’t go to school how to read. Adumetey was her father’s favorite daughter, and he greatly admired her ambition, she said.
“My dad really nurtured that spirit, nurtured me to be the best I can be and make sure that I go back and help others,” she said. “I use my life around his vision.”
At 16, Adumetey left home and traveled to Canada, where she studied on a scholarship. She came to the U.S. several years later. She and her husband, who is from Ghana, still find ways to give back to the women in their home countries by buying fair trade products from them and then selling them in the U.S. She has attended local markets, including Evanston Made’s Maker’s Markets, to sell the products.
“We really tried to create a social enterprise for people back home,” said Adumetey. “We know their lives. We’re really trying to make connections so that we can provide sustainable income for them and their families.”
Adumetey is the mother of two children, a four-year-old and a two-year-old, and she said being a mother is her best experience yet.
“I am completely at peace and completely embrace who I am 100 percent,” she said. “I am living my fullest life.”