A recent video posted by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (CNA) shows off her dance skills. You never thought you’d see the day, right? It was five seconds long but served as the final assurance that the Half Of A Yellow Sun author is my twin. I mean, she can’t dance to save her life, just like me!
The first time I came across this brilliant author was through friends reading a purple-covered book she wrote, aptly named Purple Hibiscus, for the Literature-In-English WAEC (West African Examination Council) paper. This book piqued my interest because unlike Sizwe Bansi Is Dead and Tempest, it made the rounds with students who didn’t offer the subject. However, I didn’t join the movement at the time, but I knew it was a good book.
Almost ten years later, I have bought Purple Hibiscus three times and I just concluded reading The Thing Around Your Neck. While reading this book, I finally realized that our Aunty Chimamanda, currently recognized worldwide for her vociferous stance on feminism, is ultimately the enigmatic Nigerian.
She is a representation of a potent version of the Nigerian dream. Born and bred in Eastern Nigeria, she moved to the USA at age 19 to further her studies. She understands and speaks the Igbo language fluently but still has a bank of knowledge of the abroad as is evident in her writing. Her accent is distinct, style of writing and fashion, impeccable.
A controversial being, CNA is known for her stringent stance on various issues, ranging from etiquette to fashion to feminism. I am a feminist and I probably always have been. I do agree that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie brought the word to my consciousness as can be seen read. However, I have a gained other life tenets from her which are paramount to living a fulfilling life. Here are two of them;
YOU ARE YOUR OWN POWER
There’s a video where Chimamanda says, ‘Wear what you want to wear,’ and expatiates on what she means. It goes beyond decency or morality, it also involves wearing that ugly polka-dot shirt for no reason other than wanting to!
As an avid follower of the matchless being that is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she led me to re-discovering the power of self.
No matter what goes on in your life, the sole constant is you. Nobody will give you the life you want on a silver platter. You have to create it for yourself, by yourself.
When part of Chimamanda’s Ted Talk was adopted into Beyoncé’s ‘Flawless’, everyone but CNA was excited, saying, among other things, ‘Still, her (Beyoncé) type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don’t think women should relate everything they do to men.’
For some people, this would have been the monumental moment they’ve always dreamed of, and that’s alright. For her, it wasn’t. This is fine, too.
As much as I am here for realizing that we are all learning, I was reminded that self-expression is a depot for power. The force she is today is due to an amassing of her refusal to be shy or worried about people and being who she is with all candour. There aren’t many things as important as this in life.
Tell Your Own Story
As an Igbo woman, I am proud of the detailed description of our culture that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie portrays through her writing. It is never forced or inadequate as she delivers it with apt narration.
At least eighty per cent of the characters in her books are of Igbo descent and her varied description of Nsukka shows her fondness for her childhood. Americanah, which is my favourite book from CNA has been said to be an adaptation of her experiences and thoughts on race and culture disparity showing the beautiful and ugly parts of both Nigeria and America.
Chimamanda isn’t utterly seeking ‘diversity’ in telling her story. It is her story after all, and she relays it- what, when and how she wants- and it is thoroughly beautiful. If you have read her writing, you’d agree that it has an endearing and relatable effect.
Even if you don’t agree, she doesn’t care. That is the life we should look to. Living without creating borders.
Even Jesus lived his own life opposing the ways of the world. People probably thought he was crazy, but guess what?
He was, is and will always be the most important being in the world.
Think about it;
Every person you know that is successful- Oprah, your Mum, Obama, Trump, The Kardashians, Tinubu- whether you love or hate them- got to where they are by literally following their own path, despite the thoughts and words of people.
You get one attempt at doing this thing called life.
Do You. Be You. For You.
So, tell me, what is the ONE thing you’d do if you had NO BORDERS? While you’re here, tell us your favourite book by Chimamanda?
Let us know in the comments.
Ps. Since you made it here, I give you the gift of the link to Chimamanda’s dancing here!