In the spirit of celebrating a woman who has over the years become the voice for African women and even women all across the world.
A feminist who understands, appreciates, values the significance and importance of women not just because she’s a woman but because it is the right thing to do. An African woman who doesn’t undermine or downplay the strength, power and ability of women. As we celebrate her, we celebrate every African woman. Meet the iconic woman:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie born 15th September, 1977, is a Nigerian writer whose works range from novels to short stories to nonfiction.She was described in The Times Literary Supplement as “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors who are succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”.
Adichie has written the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013), the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists (2014).Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017. In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant.
Adichie was born in the city of Enugu in Nigeria, and grew up as the fifth of six children in an Igbo family in the university town of Nsukka in Enugu State. While she was growing up, her father, James Nwoye Adichie, worked as a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria. Her mother, Grace Ifeoma, was the university’s first female registrar. The family lost almost everything during the Nigerian Civil War, including both maternal and paternal grandfathers. Her family’s ancestral village is in Abba in Anambra State.
Adichie completed her secondary education at the University of Nigeria Secondary School, Nsukka, where she received several academic prizes. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. During this period, she edited The Compass, a magazine run by the university’s Catholic medical students. At the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria for the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
She soon transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to be near her sister Uche, who had a medical practice in Coventry, Connecticut. While the novelist was growing up in Nigeria, she was not used to being identified by the colour of her skin which suddenly changed when she arrived in the United States for college.
As a black African in America, Adichie was suddenly confronted with what it meant to be a person of color in the United States. Race as an idea became something that she had to navigate and learn. She writes about this in her novel Americanah. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University, with the distinction of summa cum laude in 2001. She was also awarded a 2011–2012 fellowship by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts degree in African studies from Yale University.
Adichie divides her time between the United States, and Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops. In 2016, she was conferred an honorary degree – Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, by Johns Hopkins University. In 2017, she was conferred honorary degrees – Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, by Haverford College and The University of Edinburgh. In 2018, she received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Amherst College. She received an honorary degree, doctor honoris causa, from the Université de Fribourg, Switzerland, in 2019.
In an interview published in the Financial Times in July 2016, Adichie revealed that she had a baby daughter. In a profile of Adichie, published in The New Yorker in June 2018, Larissa MacFarquhar wrote, “the man she ended up marrying in 2009 was almost comically suitable: a Nigerian doctor who practiced in America, whose father was a doctor and a friend of her parents.”Adichie is a Catholic and was raised Catholic as a child, though she considers her views, especially those on feminism, to sometimes conflict with her religion.
At a 2017 event at Georgetown University, she stated that religion “is not a women-friendly institution” and “has been used to justify oppressions that are based on the idea that women are not equal human beings.”She has called for Christian and Muslim leaders in Nigeria to preach messages of peace and togetherness.
In a 2014 interview, Adichie said on feminism and writing: “I think of myself as a storyteller but I would not mind at all if someone were to think of me as a feminist writer. I’m very feminist in the way I look at the world, and that world view must somehow be part of my work.”
To every African woman out there; you are strong, you are beautiful, you are recognized, you are loved. You are celebrated!
To Chimamanda, Thank you. Keep writing, keep speaking, keep moving!
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