Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who writes about feminism and Nigerian history. She hails from Enugu in Nigeria and is a powerful leader in feminist culture, shining a light on marginalized people. I see her as a role model and a woman of strength.
I look up to her for several reasons, the first being that she is from Africa. People do not see African writers often in American culture, so I see her as a gem. In America, people focus on white American writers, but there are many people of color who are writers and people should be experiencing. Being very well educated, she reminds me that my education is important, too.
Adichie is a great writer about feminist and racial issues, my favorite being Half of a Yellow Sun.
The story begins in a somewhat peaceful and almost idyllic setting. Olanna, the main character, has fallen in love with a radical Nigerian professor who rallies his colleagues, friends, and students around the idea that the southern portion of Nigeria needs to declare its independence. A new country was going to form and called the Biafra. Many of the characters are inspired and excited about this concept. It is a beautiful story of the history of Nigeria and for those who want to learn about other cultures and history.
It is important to learn about other cultures and history because life is like a book. If you stay in one place all the time, you are only reading one chapter of that book.
The female characters in Half of a Yellow Sun are very strong women. They are women who make decisions, and their opinions are valued by their spouses. They carry power, and they speak up without fear. They are involved in conversations. Showing female characters, particularly those from male dominated societies, as strong changes how people see women. It changes the way that we imagine women can be. She is a feminist, and I love feminism, as it is important to stand for women’s equality.
Adichie is funny, loves to joke a lot during her speeches and handles criticism with grace.
I read a story once about how she was criticized for supporting people who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. In Africa, gay people are seen as taboo, and they are not safe. Adichie said that if someone was not happy with what they read in her book, they could stop reading because she will write what she believes. She did not get angry at all. Showing someone in the margins with confidence provides a great example to others.
Her sense of style is amazing. She dresses so well and I love her headscarves. She loves to rock the African look, wearing Ankara. People assume that Africans dress in weird ways, but Africans dress so beautifully.
I want people to know that everyone is gifted in one way or the other and it is very important to work on those talents and skills and use it to their full productivity.
Her books are full of history and it would be enlightening for those who have not yet read her books (a list is shared below). Africa is not just a place of hunger. Africa is a beautiful place. It is important to shine the spotlight on African women, because they live within the margins and shining a spotlight on marginalized groups gives them a voice.
I think that Chimamanda Adichie is a great role model to women and she has a great personality, talent and intellect. She is famous as an African Feminist, even though feminism is not popular in Africa. Her TED Talk was amazing. Beyoncé even featured it in her song titled “Flawless.”
I also recommend Americanah to anyone who is interested in Race and Culture in America.
It is amazing that a Nigerian wrote about navigating the differences between the African culture and the American culture. That I can relate to. It always helps to have positive role models who look like us (or not) that can show us what is possible in today’s world. I look up to any woman who can make a name for herself in her field.
I believe that Adichie is one of the most amazing people on earth and she is a force to reckon with.
I understand that opinions differ and people do not always agree with her views on some issues but I believe we can learn even from those differences. That is how we have richer conversations. That is how we grow, by learning why others different from us think the way they do. By learning to accept others the way they are without changing them, we give them room to be real and unique and be true to themselves. This benefits all of us long term. Would we not want a world full of confident people with their true views rather than people trying to be different and pretending to be what they are not and cannot bring their full selves to the table? In my opinion, I choose the first idea.
Therefore, what I want to say to young girls is to forget likability. If you start thinking about being likeable, you are not going to tell your story honestly, because you are going to be so concerned with not offending, and that is going to ruin your story. The world is such a wonderful, diverse and multifaceted place that there is somebody who is going to like you; you do not need to twist yourself into shapes. – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I love this quote from her because it just empowers women of all ages. It say to girls that they should not care who like them. Truth is that everyone cannot always like us (it would be nice if it happens) but realistically it does not. I see so many people who look down on themselves because people said something bad about them or something that is not true.
Nevertheless, the reality is that we are all good enough. In fact, I want women to know they are more than enough. No question. We do not need anyone to validate us or accept us. We all should just love ourselves, face our goals and be happy without bothering about anyone’s opinions. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says so and I agree with her hundred percent.
Here is a list of her books.
1. Half of a Yellow Sun
3. Purple Hibiscus
4. The Things Around Your Neck
5. We Should All Be Feminists
6. One World: A Global Anthropology
7. You in America
8. La Flor Purpura
9. and other short stories
Cover image via Ted.com