Growing Up in Africa

A Destiny Fulfilled - A True Story of Courage, Optimism and Determination in the face of Adversities

Non-Fiction - Memoir
60 Pages
Reviewed on 10/17/2020
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Author Biography

I am a naturalized American citizen originally from Nigeria. I have four children and three grand children all at various stages of their academic pursuit.
The book is about growing up in Nigeria in the fifties a period when basic amenities were rudimentary at best and totally absent in most cases. Despite these shortcomings, I had a dream as a young kid of becoming a doctor. To the grown ups at that time, the dream could have been dismissed as pipe dream.
A ferocious civil war, famine and near death experiences did not prevent me from fulfilling my dream.
I survived the civil war and went on to qualify as a doctor in Nigeria. I later travelled to the United Kingdom for specialization and the rest they say is history.
What motivated me to write this book is my disappointment when I see young kids who are privileged in the western world but drop out of school and manage life doing menial jobs for the rest of their lives. With a bit of encouragement from parents, kids can be encouraged to aim higher in order to fulfil their potentials.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Growing Up in Africa: A Destiny Fulfilled by Dr. Benjamin Ogbonna is a moving memoir of a man who overcame the odds to become the doctor he dreamed he would be one day. A Nigerian raised by strict missionary parents in the 1950s, he faced troubled times in a civil war and grew up with very little except a dream. This dream took him all the way to the United Kingdom, where he became a specialist. Later he went to the Middle East to practice. Benjamin describes how little he had as a child, where basic necessities weren't available. Under such harsh conditions, one would think that dreams die easy, but his only seemed to flourish. He relates what he calls miracles and near-death experiences, and you really admire his struggle to overcome. He was mischievous as a boy, was sick at times, lost friends in the civil war, but no setback deterred him.

Aimed at helping readers realize their potential, this book accomplishes its goal and even though it is short, it is one of the most memorable books of this size I have read recently. I wish it had been longer. Ogbonna's life is so inspiring, and it's bound to touch readers both young and old. He believes in destiny and that some are chosen to do certain things in life. He likens the path of destiny to a maze, which may be hard to meander through, but so rewarding to reach the end. He is a believer in strong parenting and divine guidance and gives examples from his life to illustrate his points. It's sweet that he acknowledges his parents' help in steering him on the right path, and stresses the point of not giving that responsibility solely over to teachers. If you're in the mood to have your spirits lifted, or love reading success stories, Growing Up in Africa by Dr. Benjamin Ogbonna is a perfect choice.

Phil A.

A riveting book that's hard to put down until you get to the end. A book for all ages, both young and old, very informative, and gives a bird eye view of life in Nigeria in the 1950s. A book that shows that once the determination and ambition is there, nothing is insurmountable. I recommend this for anybody out there that wants to enjoy reading a good book.

Emeka N

When I got this book and read the short preface which said "A destiny fulfilled - through story of courage, optimism, and determination in the face of adversities", that was the appetizer I needed. I proceeded to tackle the book with great enthusiasm, and great intensity, and never stopped reading until I finished it just after midnight.
The book was sensibly divided into 8 phases, each devoted to a decade of the author's life. He showed incredible power of recall of specific events in his childhood, his escapades and the pranks he played to circumvent the strict upbringing of his devoutly Christian parents who believed that you spoiled the child if you spared the rod. He talked of the various "miracles" and some near-death experiences during the Nigerian Civil War. The book reveals him as a talented storyteller and should have stretched far in excess of each 60 pages. It is an interesting book indeed. Five stars

Georgie O.

This book deserves all the accolades it has received so far. The author is advised to write the next chapters to the book as he has left readers wanting more.

Emma U.

Congratulations on this book of your life. I could not drop it when I started to read it today after breakfast, until I concluded it at lunchtime. It's a story of a lifetime, well set out and articulate, no pomposity and no qualms about the authority, vision, and achievements of the author. I'm overwhelmed and wish I could think clearly as he has done. His power of recollection is second to none.

Joseph C Ogbonna

This brilliantly written book talks in a somewhat concise manner about a young man's determination to excel despite the odds around him. Having gone through the rigours of growing up under missionary parents in terribly uncomfortable lodgings in rural Africa, and surviving a brutal civil war, his quest for excellence remained relentless. I would liken his story to Ben Carson's, but from an African perspective. You never get tired of reading until you are finally done with it. I would urge the author to pen down a second edition.

Jane A.

"Growing up in Africa" is a memoir-based storytelling of Dr. Benajamin Obonna about his journey toward the path of fulfilling his destiny as a obstetrics/gynecologist (OB/GYN). Through a minimalistic and undersanding vernacular that is altogether endearing and witty yet informative, he takes you through a timeline of his quest toward pursuing, becoming, living, and reflecting his life that could be perceived as destiny in the making. However, his naivety to just live life as it presents itself alongside his futile and sometimes comical attempts at unintentionally veering off his path, but unknowingly finds himself coming back full circle toward fulfilling his destiny by the Divine creator, keeps the reader chuckling and engaged. Through the strict yet all the more loving, which may perhaps to some, be a relatable upbringing by his parents, side-handed subplots of those who had a mystified role in his naive and reckless adventures leading him through uncertain times, and others who may have had seemingly mundane roles in shaping his journey, tallies a life for which the author continues to denote could have been nothing short of a curious yet interesting miracle. His path athough unique may resonate with many. A delightful read even though at times, the desire to know more about other details of his life are abruptly dismissed as unrelated to the overall premise of his brief story-telling autobiography. His story is a lesson on the wonders of life: some aspects in one's journey may not seem to amount to anything until what has already happened and what has been experienced or achieved is reflected upon and leaves one in awe. Until then, we live our lives unknowningly fulfilling our destiny. As it may be, everything and every once of our existence is in it's right place.