“I recently spoke at a university where a student told me it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had recently read a novel called American Psycho,and that it was a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Not once but always, people identify writers with characters in their literature and bash them as such. Even more serious is the likelihood for a writer’s story about their place of origin to be misconstrued in connection with the collective as aligned to the concept. “Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories”.
I was invited to the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in Accra to do a guest lecture on storytelling and Chimamanda’s work about the dangers of a single story was a very viable source of information for the notes I shared. I named the lecture ‘storytelling and the ideas market.’ and connected the importance of telling one’s story as a creative or digital entrepreneur using the format of the spoken word or oral traditional style and the emotional connection to potential clients in the world of ideas and concepts.
When the Cable News Network (CNN) presented its list of the most inspiring women of 2014 and two Nigerians, author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh; the Nigerian doctor who died last year after overseeing the treatment of Ebola patient Patrick Sawyer, made the list.
“But culture is constantly changing. Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.” Chimamanda’s passion to steer the message of feminism as a potential to abridge the broken skin of society and drive the vision of equality and possibility of oneness with regards to gender has been very profound. Chimamanda says “we should all be feminists.”
Her knowledge about the dynamics of culture and her keen sense to identify the lines that separate us as a people through her journey as an author documenting her life at the same time shedding light on a country and a race which has grown with her makes for much to write home about. Identity is her pillar of salt and her ideologies marry history with the contemporary situation where her role makes you realize the fact that she being a woman does not stop her from pushing the boundaries because “stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”