03 December, 2010

Chimamanda Adichie -Celebrating Great African Literary Writers !

I celebrate and salute Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for one she captures the un told or rather rarely told sentiments of many Africans.

The video below of her presentation at TED Global 2009 entitled " The Danger of A Single Story" illustrates why i have reasonably arrived at the foregoing conclusion.I suggest that you listen to it before reading the addendum to the video.

So who is Chimamanda Adichie? for now i have not had the opportunity to interview her, but from the little i have gathered from her bibliography at her official website :

  • She was born on 15 September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents, Grace Ifeoma and James Nwoye Adichie. While the family's ancestral hometown is Abba in Anambra State, Chimamanda grew up in Nsukka, in the house formerly occupied by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe.
  • She completed her elementary Education in Nigeria and at the age of 19 she left to pursue higher education in the USA .She graduated Summa Cum Laude  with a major in communication and  a minor political science at Eastern Connecticut State University.Thereafter she pursued a master's degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She also holds an MA in African Studies from Yale University.
  • Her literary works include  the Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (2005) and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was also short-listed for the Orange Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and long-listed for the Booker Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in Granta, Prospect, and The Iowa Review among other literary journals, and she received an O. Henry Prize in 2003. She was a 2005-2006 Hodder Fellow at Princeton, where she taught Introductory Fiction. 
 Her academic credentials illustrate a gifted and brilliant intellectual .But more than that her ability to communicate clearly and succinctly in a unique African prose is perhaps what impresses more! 

In brief, i cannot credit Adichie for capturing the Creative African Story(she only tries to explain her feelings on it though i applaud her)...not her, not Chinua Achebe, not Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Professor Ali Mazrui , Armah, Ayi Kwei ,Wole Sonyika, Okot Pbitek or any other famous African Literary write that has come up in the last century .Because the African story can only be retold- it was long told and written  by our forefather ,evidence of which is captured on wall paintings, shields ,carvings ,artifacts...etc  found in the Ancient ruins of the Burial places of the Pharoahs-the pyramids ,the ruins of Kingdoms such as Mwene wa Mutapa ,the Songhai Empire and others .Africans are a great people yes we were ravished by slave trade, colonialism, disease, wars and death but truly speaking which culture of the human race hasn't.Perhaps we were the latter in time to experience such thus our story is muddled by the hard times we have recently been through. But the greatness of us as a people is being retold, there is a Renaissance in the making.The likes of Chimamanda Adichie are telling it .

We have always had a story worth telling ,in fact the story of humanity cannot be fully told without the African element and yet many look at us with disdain,its their right eschewed as it may be but for certain things are bound to change.

Our literature and our books have hardly generated the recognition that they deserve,but the last decade or so there's been growing evidence of change-change you can believe in.The young skinny Kid(to borrow his words) President Barrack Obama whose father was from Kogelo,Siaya Kenya  recently told his side of the African story but in the American context;of great  people,aspirations,resilience, achievers who can inspire change-the story was so appealing that despite decades of the African American populace fighting for political power and recognition; in two or less years -his story became a favourite American story and it resounded across the seven continents around the world.

His story tells much of the African story...it is powerful,it is appealing ,it can change perceptions.Chimamanda Adichie and other great African writes ,those who have gone before and those emerging ,thanks for re-telling your side of the African story !

1 comment:

  1. She totally deserves all the accolades. Thanks for profiling her.




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