Imaginary Tea with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ms Adichie knows something...
Ms Adichie knows something…

So…

The video I would like to share is here;

First confession: I love Ms Adichie (I feel so cosmopolitan using Ms).

Second confession: I haven’t read any of her books (yet).

Now, seeing as I love her why wouldn’t I devour her books? After all, her art is an extension of herself and I love reading her interviews and watching her speak. (Laying on the excuses now). Well, I did come to her party late. One of my younger sister’s is into stories that have a “deeper” moral compass and if they have an African Or African-American theme even better. I bought this sister Half of a Yellow Sun as a birthday present one year and I didn’t have any intention of reading it because it was not “my thing”. I preferred either pure escapism through fantasy or history that was culturally different to my own. I found solace in gasping at the horrors other societies inflicted and didn’t want to learn any more about how African’s did it.

But the truth is, I was escaping her work because I thought it was another example of how African writers should write. Insert village, un-pronouncable (I decree that a word) names and then make the story about a struggle that usually cannot be wholly felt by most contemporary Africans. I believe we are more than that and I wanted more examples of contemporary African story telling, which I could not get anyway because I shunned stories written by African sounding names, which is terrible I know.

I stayed in my father’s village as a child one holiday (I have never had so many nosebleeds in my life but learned holding your head over burning sunflower seeds cauterizes your nostrils and stops bleeding for a few years at least), and I cannot base all my work on that one interaction when it isnt ingrained in who I am, yet any time I came across successful African writers, that is what I found. You needed it to be rural and lay it on thick. But those rural locales are where my family stems from and is a part of me but not the part that comes to mind immediately when I define myself. But this post isnt about my identity.

I feared that if I read her work, I would try and make my writing more “African” to be successful. That is not the content of the video (and you should really see it, if you haven’t), it is what I would talk to Chimamanda about if I were to share a cup of tea with her. Identity.

The video is about being a feminist. I believe generally society holds women a lot morally upright than they actually are. This post will end up being a lot longer if I keep going, and I did promise these would be short, but I will say that when the time comes for me to be a mother. I hope I do not forget that I want my sons to be as self reliant as my daughters and my daughters to be as practical as my sons. We shouldn’t continue to hold our daughters as mass nurturing mammary glands because not all women want or should be having children. I hope when my daughters are of an acceptable child bearing age that I do not suddenly expect grandbabies to fall from their wombs at the risk of their dreams. May my sons know value above financial success and most of all, may my children have a sense of humour, because they will probably need it to survive having me as their mother.

Check out her new book Americanah. I will be reading this one soon…just need to borrow it from the sister.

Over and Out!

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