Born 15th September 1977, is a Nigerian writer of novels, short stories, and nonfiction.Adichie, who was born in the city of Enugu, grew up the fifth of six children in an Igbo family in the university town of Nsukka. Nsukka is in Enugu State, southeast Nigeria, where the University of Nigeria is situated.Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is well known for her world best selling novels from “Purple Hibiscus” to “Half of a Yellow Sun” to “Americanah” and even her renowned book “The Thing around your Neck” which made top sales in Sweden.
As many would regard Chimamanda a feminist, others still adore her as a voice in the world of Women. Ever wonder why women in most instances look to men for it all?
It’s because it has become stereo-typical for us to do so especially in our reputational African culture where a woman is naturally tagged incomplete without a man. Well, here’s Chimamanda’s views on feminism.
“I think very often of my dear friend Okoloma Maduewesi. May he and others who past away in that Sosoliso crash continue to rest in peace. He will always be remembered by those of us who loved him. And he was right, that day many years ago, when he called me a feminist saying, “I am a feminist” . And when I looked up that word in the dictionary that day, this is what it said:
feminist : a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
My great-grandmother, from the stories I’ve heard, was a feminist. She ran away from the house of a man she did not wish to marry and ended up marrying the man of her choice. She refused, she protested, she spoke up, whenever she felt she was being deprived of access of land, that sort of thing. My great-grandmother did not know that word, “feminist.” But it doesn’t mean that she wasn’t one. More of us should reclaim that word.
My own definition of feminist is:
feminist : a man or a woman who says, “Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it, we must do better.”
“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are.”
How, men and women are different. We have different hormones, we have different sexual organs, we have different biological abilities; women can have babies, men can’t, at least not yet. Men have testosterone, and are in general physically stronger than women. There are slightly more women than men in the world, about 52% of the world’s population is female. But most of the positions of power and prestige are occupied by men. The late Kenyan, Nobel Peace Laureate, Wangari Maathai, put it simply and well when she said,
The higher you go the fewer women there are.
Now, imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations. Boys and girls are undeniably different, biologically. But socialization exaggerates the differences, and then it becomes a self-fulfilling process.
Some people will say a woman is subordinate to men because it’s our culture. But culture is constantly changing. I have beautiful twin nieces who are 15. If they had been born a hundred years ago, they would have been taken away and killed. Because a hundred years ago, Igbo culture considered the birth of twins to be an evil omen. Today that practice is unimaginable to all Igbo people.
Culture does not make people. People make culture.
So, “If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture”.
All of the above spoken are the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the height of her perspective or do I say ‘of her growing perspective’ towards the world and culture as it is today.
If we can recall, the words of our President Muhammadu Buhari in his disheartening statement on the position a woman in the kitchen and the other room; I feel we allowed gender inequality rise to its peak but together we could bring balance to the society by “creating a new culture”.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie makes an idol to many and would most likely stay that way for a long time to come.
-Idogbo Jephthah for UnbrokenChords