Renua Giwa Amu deserves a befitting remembrance. The young ambitious artist took her own life in December 2020 after months of recounting her life’s troubles (incest rape by her father, uncaring neglect by her mother, abusive marriage, divorce and financial hardships). We have compiled her story below, in her own words, and hope that the justice she sought while on earth would be achieved overtime.
Renua Giwa Amu Bio
Multi-talented Nigerian filmmaker Renua Giwa-Amu is a 2D artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation and Interactive technology from the Savannah College Of Art And Design (SCAD).
Renua pursued Drawing & Storyboarding Minors; she enjoys visual development, illustration and painting.
Her graduating thesis film “The Stick” is featured in the sixth season of PBS & KQED television series “Film School Shorts”, a broadcast which features the top student films created at the best art universities in the US annually. The 2D animated short in which Renua wrote, directed, storyboarded, animated and voice-acted will air nation-wide in the US for 3 years.
In her spare time Renua pursues fashion modeling and loves to sing. She speaks English and French, with a smattering of Igbo, Yoruba and Spanish. Renua travels as often as she can, which has encouraged her to partially explore at least four different continents.
Renua Giwa Amu Family Life and Father Rape Allegations
Written and published on Facebook by Renua: A short open letter to a certain Mr OBAFEMI EHIMIGBAI Giwa-Amu (Renua’s father):
I know that you are a child molester, your numerous victims outnumber you and I remember everything now. All I have to say to you is this:You, your rings of pedophiles, bullies, thieves, hired cronies and family gang can do whatever you like in eternum. You already do so, and my belief in karma is strong enough to know that you have already begun the processes that will eventually be your own downfall. But lately, I got triggered again into remembering details about certain threats against my and my siblings you often made against our lives if I was ever to become successful and return to Nigeria after daring to come forward with my truth. I already did that. I had the nervous breakdown in 2018 when the truth about your various exploits and smuggling schemes finally came back to me in a big, horrible way. So, take note; if really you want to live long enough to indeed be the old dog turning tired tricks that you already are, you would be advised to start covering your pedophile tracks more efficiently. We both know you won’t; that is how your specific and vile pathology works. I only feel sorry for the countless women and men who consciously or unconsciously allowed you access into their lives, homes, children and businesses over the decades of your horrific schemes. I wished that I could make you a better man when I was little and had no choice engaging in the things I eventually believed normal because of you. Not because you even deserve the simple joy of being a good person, but because this already wicked world never needed the vile stench of a soul like yours to walk it and the day you breathe last on it, will be a purer tomorrow. All of that is fact, already known widely and in private, but after having to watch helplessly before while you took various jobs, titles and high positions that allowed you, smuggle and steal, trick innocent parents into sending their children places with you when really you know anything you did for money was always a reluctant business front you used to scout more victims, sophisticated scams and channels to perpetuate more crimes across international borders…. after watching you do all that and still manage to get away, living scot free off whatever femme du jour, I must admit it’s too hard to stay quiet again as an adult. Most people already know the thieving facts about you, but many more fools searching for quick easy money will always be happy to associate with a crook like you. So at this point, I just have to make a necessary, painful but awkward and public announcement for people in respectable society to understand that you should perhaps be discouraged from being such a homicidal thieving pervert, or maybe at least not be able to ask their kids to sit in your lap casually anymore.People make strange choices indeed; I have never understood the adults in my life who had power to create positive change over certain situations and just simply never did. Some lack courage, some lack intuition, maybe others simply believe this is how the world works and don’t bother trying to fight anymore. Thankfully, the world has beaten, pissed on and shot me down enough (starting with a father like you) it has become a source of pride, joy, excitement, happiness and even vindictive pleasure for me to help make it a safer place, even just a little, by putting my feminist money where my mouth is and outing your miserable depraved self to the world and whomever might be concerned with this message.To people associated with us both who try and guilt me into forgiving you, I sincerely hope they find either the healing or direction to understand why it is they feel personally incensed to police the tone and actions of a former child sex slave, or why they are willing to stick their necks out for a continuously harmful sexually offensive perpetrator who is wanted in several states across the world.His current piggybank/wife has vulnerable & unwell children, and built him a makeshift church with a budding congregation over which he presided as pastor and held sermons. My pedophilic father renamed his third wife after me, and she bears the name Ohirenua willingly. An uncle of mine dismissed my feelings about it saying it was intended perhaps as a “compliment”…..meanwhile it makes my skin crawl. Some others have whispered of his political aspirations of seeking glory in the footsteps of his father who was once an attorney-general of the old mid-west states of Nigeria. So, sentiments and forgiveness aside, the man is still doing the things that nearly ruined my life, to others. And that alone makes me sick to my stomach. Someone needs to stop this madness before it affects a child you know, you knew or once trusted him with. Several of my nursery, primary school, and secondary school friends in Nigeria at some point or the other always had to eventually tell me they couldn’t come to my house anymore because my dad was “becoming a problem.”
It has to stop. I did my part in stopping this man from continuing to thrive amongst the chaos and disorderly nature of Nigerian living, both as a child and now as an adult. I have spent enough years cracking my brain over this and wondering what to do ever since I first noticed and wondered why my father always seemed to lick his lips while hungrily staring at any light-skinned children he spotted in Nigeria, as though he was about to eat a sandwich. I went through hell telling several adults who ignored, punished and dismissed me about this, to the point that I finally just dissociated and forgot a lot of this even happened until fairly recently. Whenever I remembered what he did to me as a child and attempted to tell anyone, and whenever he put me through his molestations, what followed was always an intense beating that always caused me to pass out and wake up feeling incredibly confused. It was a horrible, long process.I do not ever seek out or ask for any informational updates about this man & his whereabouts as I do not associate with pedophilia in any format, and simply do not care to endanger my newly reclaimed safety by knowing him. Occasionally someone unwitting might think to use the concept of my child predator father to mock, insult or shame me. Source of shame that he is, I have no more guilt or anger towards myself and others who knew better, about this. Going through it all was the hardest part, but it took me many fractured years to piece myself together bit by bit, one PTSD flashback at a time, and it was a lifetime before I could look myself in the mirror and feel like I fully saw my own face. Entire chunks of my memory were once lost and taken from me, entire friendships and interests and hobbies and goals I had just vanished and might still not fully ever come back. Instead I carried around such intense feelings of shame, regret and self-loathing disgust that it consumed me most times. Good or bad, traumatic or not, those memories of mine that hurt me and triggered me for so long have finally woken me up and reminded me that I promised myself if I survived you, escaped, and somehow found enough sanity to be willing to return home that I would never set foot in Nigeria unless I had publicly acknowledged the fact that you continually raped me as a seven year old child until I had a possible prepubescent miscarry and almost died of sepsis. I wasn’t even in Primary 4 yet.
I want you to know that my new, fulfilled and much happier family is made up of the abandoned projects you neither truly cared for as a husband nor father, and we were the only ones who loved you so blindly enough that while you destroyed us everyday on the inside, your kids only ever wanted to make you proud. The awful, scary truth is that we would have stuck by you through anything till the end of whatever this “family experiment” was for you, and could have helped you learn a better conscience and ways to take care of yourself. Instead, you freed us with your selfish departure and really, that is the one thing I can honestly say I will never stop thanking you for. You being a selfish piece of shit is eventually always going to be the best thing that happens to the people around you, because you will always plan to leave them when it suits you to change “sleeves”, as you once called me.One day though, you will run out of the means and channels to find new victims, and I want to hope that you remember not to be audacious enough to attempt manipulating any of your old discarded hostages into taking care of you. Most certainly not me. If you don’t want to suffer, my advice to you is that you either start saving some scammy bucks for old age, or you just find a private place where nobody else will be bothered & kill yourself. I can’t speak for my siblings, but me sha, I know old age is creeping on you around the corner and even if you mistakenly happened to tap any more heroin from your mother’s ass to call me one day and ask for help? I will personally ensure you kick the very first bucket that comes your way.Let me be clear, for summary and support: you do not exist. We do not speak of you. Your name has been changed mentally so that even in casual conversation we reference you as Jack or John or something, I forget. You need to know that what you did to me, your family, siblings, and all the poor people you took advantage of literally broke your father’s heart when he found out. What you were doing to me and the poor people of apapa & ebute metta he trusted you to care for, not to smuggle, rape and pillage, devastated my poor Gramps. It deeply disappointed him; he fell so sick that he never recovered and I finally remember why you never wanted me to tell anybody how & when you found out that my grandfather was sick. You killed him, plundered his estates to sell my birthrights away and ensure your siblings would have to suffer.But as we very well have seen, the truth endures. And now the truth about you has been shared freely, the entire world now is free and able to make educated decisions about associating with you. I know I wouldn’t, because I don’t. And no matter how many times you call me to threaten me, or beg through fake tears that you are sorry for everything you and your brother did to me, I am going to spend the rest of my life sticking to my truth and spreading the gospel of your horrible lifelong misdeeds. You can kill me tomorrow, the way you hired killers to track down & kill my mother for surviving the years of mental warfare and trauma you put her through including your messy stint in America (when you fled from Atlanta to Nigeria hiding from the FBI who are still hoping to catch you for the crimes of your drugs smuggling and child sex trafficking ring all over the entire state).You could even succeed in ending me and it still wouldn’t matter because now, it’s actually worth it for me to die knowing I did for myself as an adult what I needed someone to do for me as a child, and to have survived here now. Nigerians might be an ignorant, unhelpful and irritatingly enabling lot when it comes to listening to children over the messy adults in their lives, but we are also a very very VERY nosy lot. Even if it’s just for the gist, people will certainly have lots of inconvenient, nasty lingering questions about my disappearance if it occurs too swiftly after sharing this truth, especially in a country like ours where everybody knows you have henchmen & cronies on speed dial. By all means please, make me a martyr, I’ve enjoyed my time here and will go in peace. Just in case your sorry, loathsome, dimwitted, tiny egg balloon dick having self still is unfortunately dumb enough to spite your own soul and seek me out, pray you don’t find me. If you do? Better turn heel and flee like it’s the FBI approaching. Because it just might be.You fucking failure of a son & fraudster.
Renua Marriage, Divorce and Financial Troubles Leading up to Her Suicide in 2020
2020 was a tough year for many, Renua spoke publicly of how tough it was for her. We wish people who knew her especially her parents and immediate family, did more to help her get through the tough year. She created a go fund me account but was unable to withdraw the funds prior to her exit. In it she told of her Marital and financial troubles:
I need to raise legal fees and short term funds to keep my home studio open for six more months during the quarantine period, after getting out of an abusive marriage. This is just to avoid being evicted next week and to allow me to downsize properly once my lease ends.
To whom it may concern, Please, help me.I got married in 2018 to someone I believed was the love of my life. I was 24. We lived together for a year prior and met when wewere about 15 years old.I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. My husband is Nigerian, but was born in the US and raised in between both places. We met in secondary school in Lagos, where we both attended private catholic sister-schools: The Lagoon School for girls and Whitesands School for boys. I came to the US as a student in 2012, in pursuit of a degree from the Savannah College Of Art And Design. I graduated with a BFA in Animation & Interactive Technology from SCAD in 2017 where I also studied two minors: drawing and storyboarding. At that time, I was legally under the sponsorship of my mother who was fighting a difficult legal separation from my abusive father. In reality however, I supported myself with my art, working on campus as a server/hostess, serving as a paid model for the SCAD school of fashion, and also as a student ambassador under the SCAD admissions department.I paid taxes as a single working adult for at least four years in the US before my marriage.Facing graduation as a working immigrant in “Trump’s America” my husband and I both thought it prudent for us to build a home together as two working adults. He asked me to move in with him, and we agreed that he would sponsor me to naturalize in the US as his legal spouse. I could have stayed supporting myself in Savannah, but I sold everything I could and with two independent authors having promised me separate contracts to illustrate their words remotely, I moved to my husband’s two-bedroom apartment in Indiana after SCAD.
My husband struggled instantly to maintain an honest account of our relationship with his parents. They had not been told I was moving In, and even after we married a year later in 2018, his parents still regarded me as a guest in his home. This was despite my repeatedly encouraging him to talk to them, and the fact that I began paying bills and contributing everything I had to give to the household financially the moment I moved in. My husband claimed his parents were difficult and had refused to allow him to follow his chosen ambitions, instead forcing him to become an engineer. It seemed unlikely they would ever come around. After my debut animated short film titled “The Stick” was picked up by PBS/KQED for television broadcasting all over the US, my husband started to apply seriously for Engineering work in California. Aside from my freelance artwork, I was working as a data analytics specialist and then as a stylist in Indiana. I continued working as a stylist in California, starting the very next day after we had moved across the country into my current studio apartment fall 2018 in September. This ensured that we could maintain the household in the hiatus between my husband’s new job, and I received a check from PBS for my film during that period as well for their licensing of my film “The Stick”, which went directly into the household as well. My work fed us several times when we had little else, and my husband frequently borrowed my credit cards to use as a backup means to bank electronically when he fumbled his credit card payments, which was very often. We had no student loans between us and I repeatedly asked to be given the chance to at least organize our household finances. He refused. His father visited us weeks after we moved here, I silently paid for all of our train tickets to sightsee and tour our new home city. It was my pleasure to be able to contribute, and it was never discussed.By Halloween, we had managed to pay rent for the rest of the year and to scrape the necessary $4k together required for his family lawyer to officially start the process of applying for my green card. I was legally allowed two more years to work in the US under my OPT agreement, as I am a STEM candidate but the green card application rendered OPT renewal unnecessary, so for a brief moment I breathed a sigh of relief. Then my husband broke the news of our marriage and legal plans to his parents, and without my knowledge, permission or consultation, they instructed our lawyer to cancel my green card application. My husband’s mother informed me personally that she intended for us to divorce, with assurances that she would give us her blessing to remarry at a later time. I protested and was eventually hospitalized with a nervous breakdown in December 2018. My husband called my mother to ask her to come and get me as he had been “putting his hands on her daughter.”During the time I was hospitalized, my husband maxed out my savings, my debit and credit cards, while his mother texted him to “get me to secretly sign papers while in the hospital” to ensure I wouldn’t be able to go home to my apartment. I vehemently refused to quit my household in the US to return to Nigeria with my mother, and she left without me. When I finally did return to my home in January 2019 I had to borrow funds just to reopen my cards, though my husband had started working again. Following the fallout with his parents, in 2019 I mostly depended on funds I made from my first art sales in California. Additionally I had no knowledge or updates from my husband as to the status of my residency application other than to assume the worst. We lived together but barely spoke for months. In March 2019 he took a photograph of me nude on his phone without my permission and sent it to my best friend that he had claimed to dislike repeatedly, asking her to respond with nude photographs of herself. She was horrified and refused. When I confronted him, he said I should be okay with it because I am bisexual and he “needed something new to see.” I often felt powerless other than to stay in touch with my outside support system, and to keep working, and to stay strong. My art has always been my therapy, savior and release from the worst. I was working at the RBH Works art gallery as a resident artist and docent in March when I finally interviewed for a high-paying full-time storyboarding job with a Netflix-partnered animation studio. That same week my film “The Stick” was playing in theaters across silicon valley in the acclaimed CINEQUEST film festival, and my husband finally broke the news to me that my green card application had been canceled months prior. There was no real point in me pursuing the job because I was undocumented. Crushed, I still did my best but did not get hired. However my husband finally saw value in having another working contributor in the household, and he sold his car to finance another payment to the same family immigration lawyer, this time instructing her to communicate with both of us only. It took a year before my status was adjusted and I regained work authorization. In that time, I managed to stay busy however I could with my artwork, and I happily found myself developing an art career in the SF Bay Area somehow despite the mess at home and living undocumented for that long in the Nation’s most expensive region. In September 2019, while still awaiting work authorization my husband again “put his hands on me” after I got tired of waiting for him to spend time with me while he played video games online with his friends. I attempted to leave the apartment for a night out with my friends and. Again I did not tell the police what he was doing to me, although I confided in at least one of my therapists, several close friends and an uncle. I had to go to the dentist to see if my gums needed stitching, and they asked me to come back for minor dental surgery after sending me home with antibiotics and painkillers to heal the swelling. My husband had hit me, choked me, kicked me, and put his fist in my mouth to claw at my gums. I was still out of status immigration-wise, and it was unclear to me if I could stay to work in the US if he was arrested before my residency was approved. So I kept working.
As of February 14th, 2020, I am now a legal permanent resident of the United States of America. It feels great to say it, even better typing it out. The following month after my green card was approved, I was offered my first (remote) animation contract for a lead social media graphics animation position with Chairish downtown SF, one of the largest online retailers in the world. My film was also screened at a downtown LA Fairfax cinema’s event. I couldn’t drive, and my husband angrily refused to drive with me from SF to LA for the event. He then informed me that he no longer wanted to be with me romantically. I raised no objections and only asked to be allowed time to gather the appropriate resources I would need to move out and establish my working home studio elsewhere. Before I could finalize the Chairish contract negotiation, the SF Bay Area went under mandatory lockdown, and my starting date even as of today is still unclear. My husband refused me any consideration, stated that he did not care, and did not want to continue living together. Neither did I, but I had less of a choice.During the enforced quarantine I was working from home at my desk as usual, on a project that would help supplement the household bills. My husband’s work-provided laptop seemed inefficient for him to comfortably use, so he then attempted to displace me from my home office. After I refused, communication between us completely fell apart, and he passive-aggressively started to use his video games and any other means to loudly distract me from my work and even prevent me from being able to fall asleep. I begged him to give me a few hours of silence so I could sleep and work while his friends listened and laughed on his PlayStation microphone. He kept threatening to “ruin me/my life” for telling him to “keep quiet in his own house”, and eventually stormed out after I asked him in front of his friends if I did not deserve to sleep in my own house, given that I was also paying rent.To cut a long story short (for legal purposes also), my husband resorted to abusing his right as a citizen to place me under citizens’ arrest in the middle of the night. The police expressed annoyance with his behavior to me, (I told the officer not to tell me what my husband did to piss him off because I know the person I married.) They said they had been forced to deal with several domestic violence complaints during the quarantine period all over the area and my incident was not an isolated one. Women all over the city had been displaced due to the lockdown. They were extremely helpful in getting me through the entire process as quickly as possible given that it was an overcrowded jail serving several makeshift purposes during the pandemic. I am anemic, with a compromised immune system. (My husband knew this, and laughed.) I was released without paying a single dollar and the charges were dropped, but I spent the night in jail.When I got home, my husband was gone.He has taken several steps against me including a restraining order based on bogus charges, and he will most likely be released from our lease shortly, with the help of his lawyers. I tried several times to file a complaint after I was arrested but with the coronavirus outbreak, even our local police station was closed. By the time an officer took my statement about the assault, he told me he doubted the DA would press charges since I didn’t call 911 the day the incident occurred. I was given a case #, they said they’d be in touch. I need to stay in the US for some time each year to maintain my status here to naturalize, and pursue my career which is finally taking off in the animation capital of the world.If it can be helped, I do not want to be evicted as I have yet to establish an alternative, more affordable living space. I am actively working independently towards becoming self-sufficient, but I need short term help at least until I start at my contract animation job. I have no access to the proposed government relief checks which will likely be given to my husband. There are limited options available to me right now other than being evicted from my home amid this pandemic. If I can assure my leasing office that I will be able to pay my rent for the next six months before my lease ends, then I won’t be evicted, and I can continue to work in the meantime saving towards more affordable accommodation. If I am not able to reach my goal with this campaign to raise 6 months of rent here, I will still apply all funds raised towards moving, and hiring legal services. I know it’s a tough time to ask for help. But I am here, and I can’t do this without your support.If you managed to make it this far into the read, here’s a fun fact: my birthday is tomorrow.