AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Author Spotlight On Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Perhaps the most celebrated African writer on the continent today, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a woman whose wealth of talent has not gone unnoticed. From her success in the publishing industry to her strides in the field of public speaking, she has made a name for herself. She is known all over the world for her unmatched achievements. However, not many can claim much knowledge about the woman behind all the acclaim. Hence, the need for us to shine a spotlight on the parts of her life which some might not be too familiar with.

Beginnings

Born on the 15th of September in Enugu, Nigeria as the fifth of six children, Adichie was raised by two high-ranking members of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Growing up in a family which held literacy in such high esteem, she was easily drawn to the allure of books. However, this did not necessarily translate to a desire for a career in writing as she opted to study Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria. This did not last for long though; at age 19, after less than two years of study, she moved to the United States, where she enrolled in Drexel University, Philadelphia for a degree in communications. She graduated summa cum laude in 2001. During this time, she had published two little-known books: a play and a poetry collection. She also got nominated for the Caine Prize which was still in its nascent years.

Chinua Achebe

Photo accessed via Daily Time NG

Adichie’s Rise to Fame

After bagging a master’s degree in creative writing from the John Hopkins University in 2003, her literary pursuit was kicked into high gear. That year, her debut novel, Purple Hibiscus was released to overwhelmingly positive acclaim, bagging numerous international awards. This was followed by the two novels which are often points of debate as to which is her magnum opus – Half of A Yellow Sun and Americanah.
Half of A Yellow Sun is a painful recollection of the events of the Biafran War, humanized by the simple stories of everyday characters whose lives are complicated by the senseless genocides and displacement rampant during such wars. The novel was hailed by many as the modern equivalent of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart for its eloquent prose and immersive storytelling. It was made into a movie starring Oscar nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Americanah came seven years later in 2013 as the bold, fierce meditation on race and class relations in post-9/11 America. Its unwavering voice and deft technique earned it a global attention. It was recently chosen by book readers all over New York and Maryland as their favourite book to be recommended for all readers, from a long list of several internationally-acclaimed books from numerous nationalities. The novel is being made into a movie by Brad Pitt, with Oscar-winner, Lupita Nyong’o set to play the lead role.

 

“The Danger of a Single Story”

In less than three years after Adiche published her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, she had a grand entrance into global relevance with an engaging speech at TED. She exposed the precariousness associated with believing a single story about a person, a country, and a continent. The talk went viral in 2009 and has raked over 3 million views on YouTube as at the time of publishing this piece. She told the story of how she found her authentic voice while reading the works of other great writers. Adichie made the world see Africa in a new light and shattered the partition of misunderstanding existing between African literature and the Western world.

 

“We Should All Be Feminists”

In 2012, Adichie gave a talk at a TEDx event, discussing gender and appropriation in the African cultural landscape. The speech was a reverberating discourse on the way society easily pigeonholes individuals based on predefined gender constraints. The speech gained additional attention after multi-Grammy-winning American pop star, Beyoncé used samples of the speech in her feminist song, Flawless. The speech is considered today to be a starting-point for many discussions on feminism.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Photograph accessed via Flickr

The speech gained additional attention after multi-Grammy-winning American pop star, Beyoncé used samples of the speech in her feminist song, Flawless.

Contemporaries

Adichie’s international relevance elevates her to the point of almost being unequalled in the past few years. But she does have a number of contemporaries whose work exist within the same calibre as hers: Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, Camara Laye and so on.

Awards

Adichie has won over 20 international literary prizes; including the Henry O. Prize, Commonwealth Writers Award: First Book, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, American National Book Critics Circle Award and so on.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Photograph accessed via Flickr

Published Works

Novels

  • Purple Hibiscus – 2003
  • Half of A Yellow Sun – 2006
  • Americanah – 2013

Short Stories

  • Checking Out – 2013
  • Apollo – 2015
  • Arrangers of Marriage – 2016

Non-Fiction

  • We Should All Be Feminists – 2014
  • Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

As we conclude, it is worthy to note that Adichie recently turned 40 in September but her excellent strides on and off the page within 15 years of active writing speaks volume. Her gigantic profile cannot be fully captured in this article but this is a summary of her unique sojourn in the world of letters.

Now, it’s your turn to share your thoughts. What is it that inspires you about the Adichie? Let us know in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a poet, essayist and writer of fiction. He is the Managing Editor of Kreative Diadem. He writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. His writings border on the themes of unease, racism, colonialism, terror and all things familiar to the black folk. He describes his art as that specialized literary alchemy which aims to extract beauty from the frail commonplaceness of words.
His experimental works have appeared or are forthcoming on such platforms as Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Bombay Review, Lunaris Review, African Writer, Sprinng.org, Authorpedia, Kreative Diadem, Parousia Magazine and Sampad International Journal. He was the 2016 recipient of the Albert Jungers Poetry Prize.

 

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SMITTEN by Eghele Akpere

SMITTEN by Eghele Akpere

SMITTEN

by Eghele Akpere

On the black rose hill,
Where no morning warmth hugs,
The mild expected no cuddle;
The freely priceless love,
And compassion shown,
Was welcomed with rebukes,
The rebukes of stripes.
Love was brute.

 

 

Without any lullaby,
No applauds or cheers,
With chants of crucify,
With blows and bruises,
Of shame and curses,
Mockery and laughs,
Laughs of scorn;
Love showed hate.
Without any words;
Calming words of affirmation,
She showed forth thorns,
Thorns as crown,
Trickles of vinegar,
Spits and slaps,
Strokes and ripping;
The ripping of death,
Death that was being swallowed;
Love bore cruelty.

 

 

With no feeling,
Feelings of compassion,
She nailed him still,
She spilled the gall,
And dared to say;
Let us see,
See who would save,
From this grip,
The grip that bore freedom;
Love walked still.
And as he looked,
At the bride he did love,
The same that pierced,
The same that sneered,
More love,
More love He poured.
From the wounds that bled,
That love was sealed.
Sealed with blood;
His stainless blood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 I am Eghele Akpere, I live in Warri. I am the author of a novel, Diary of a Warri Boy. I am a geoscientist, who loves discovering new things. I keep on understanding myself more, and I found out that I love poetry (for the beauty of it). I get better, as I appreciate corrections.

BROKEN TEARS by Akinsanya Damilola

BROKEN TEARS by Akinsanya Damilola

BROKEN TEARS

by Akinsanya Damilola

“Broda please, please find me something, my belle dey crack, broda please, please abeg you.”
He said this line in the same precise version over and again as though he spent an entire day memorizing that part. I looked straight into his green eyes searching for a shred of lie in them but all I felt pity for the poor boy. The kind of pity I had for the boy who had lost his right arm to the whim of a drunken policeman wielding a gun. The kind of pity I nursed toward my first crush when she lost her father violently during the Boko Haram winter strike. The kind of pity I could not describe when my next-door neighbour was diagnosed of the Ebola Virus. The fair-skinned boy could not be more than ten. I could tell by looking at his unlined face that bore a sea of endless uncertainties. He was a Fulani boy on the busy Iwo Road with crinkly hair the colour of a coconut husk.
Owo yin da? The driver shouted, etching out his impatience with meaningful glances. His calloused manner must have disgusted a woman in the back row and a rowdy barrage of words ensued. It was at that point I realized the bus was full.

 

“Ki ni e wan ro?” He added. Maybe the bus conductor knew I had been thinking of Oyinda before the Fulani boy came. Maybe he knew I had been picturing Oyinda’s beautiful figure in my mind. Maybe he knew Oyinda and I had, earlier that day, being in the same lecture room and I had not learned anything from the whole sixty-eight-minute class. “Is that your sister? The man sitting beside me asked when he saw me staring at Oyinda’s picture on my phone- the one with her mum. Yes, I replied sharply to avoid further questioning. Unfortunately, the man was not one to give easily.
“She is very beautiful,” he added.
“Thank you, sir!” I said as I looked away- the universal signal of disinterest. The man still didn’t get the hint.

 

“She looks just like my daughter, with her wide smile on a naughty face. I lost her last month to meningitis,” he added sadly. I became febrile as a cold current ran down my spine. I tried to blot out the reality of his words but the statement had blindsided me. Meningitis! That was the same disease that the state health workers had come to my hostel to administer vaccines for. At first, I had snubbed the whole exercise writing it off as unhygienic because of the limited number of needles and syringes available. And there was a man who had lost his daughter to what could have been my killer.
“I’m so sorry sir,” as words managed to make their way out of my mouth. “She must have been an angel to you.” The man did not utter a word. He was looking in the opposite direction, fixing his deep-set eyes on the verdant hedges along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. His eyes were filled with tears that trickled down like raindrops from a roof in September. The atmosphere between us was thick with sorrow.
“God will rest her soul in His bosom,” I said breaking the silence. The man looked at me, the wealth of sadness in his eyes piercing me like a knife as he said to me, “I hope she will be safe there.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Akinsanya Damilola(Akindavies), a final year student of the Faculty of Law at the premier University of Ibadan. He discovered his writing aptitude after an encounter with Richard Wright’s Black Boy a couple of years ago and has ever since written a considerable number of poems works and short stories. He is the recipient of the Lagos State (Alimosho Local Government) Essay Contest 2009 and was among the ten finalists of the Unesco Goi Peace Essay, 2015, among others. Away from writing, he has a fondness for trees and wildlife conservation.

THE SECOND PASSENGER IN THE FRONT SEAT by Opeyemi Adebari

THE SECOND PASSENGER IN THE FRONT SEAT by Opeyemi Adebari

THE SECOND PASSENGER IN THE FRONT SEAT

by Opeyemi Adebari

6th August, 2017

Ibadan to Abeokuta is not much of a distance. With a sensible driver and a vehicle in excellent condition, one should make the trip in 90 minutes at most.

We had just crossed over to the other side from the car park. We had stopped about three cabs before getting one going our way. “150 ni onikolobo oooo” said this elderly driver authoritatively as we walked briskly to enter.

We quickly made ourselves comfortable before giving baba an idea of a reasonable price, jokingly though. Since I was born and bred in Egba, I am no novice to transport pricing. 150 naira was fair for our destination. Furthermore, I do not like bargaining much. It often leads to unnecessary exchange of words.  Forgot to add, if you are too much of a bargainer, you might be plastered with so much insult and would have to wait for someone whose hobby is carrying people for free to their destinations.

My sister and I were the two passengers at the back seat with a young man in the front seat. Just moving a little bit, a passenger waved calling, “moore junction!” She entered making the backseat filled up. On reaching Salawu Abiola Comprehensive High School, some women waved down the car. I can’t even remember where they said they were going because my mind was calculating the extra seat that would be manufactured as the driver stopped to pick them. Before the women got to the car, they had chorused “awa meji ni o”, meaning we are two! This elderly driver told them to come because moore junction was just one more zoom and that the lady in the backseat would alight soon. I was greatly angered as the driver told the three passengers to adjust to accommodate an illegal fourth passenger as well as a second passenger in the front seat. I was furious and became the spokesman for the all passengers in the bus, telling this Baba that it was not possible for us to adjust as the seat was made for three not four. I guess my words had no effects in him, as he replied, “ti o ba le sun ko bole. If you can’t adjust get down’’. Angrily, I told my younger sister that we should alight. The two illegal passengers started pleading that we should not be angry. Well I didn’t care much about the woman who was to seat in front but that fourth passenger at the back was enough to make me mad. Without fear, I told this Baba that he should not use his old age to cheat younger ones so that his respect would be intact. I am not sure if it had been men of his age sitting at the back, he would have taken such a selfish decision!

(7TH August, 2017)

We had reached the tail end of Challenge to begin our journey to Iwo Road when, suddenly, this young driver who had been a good boy since we left the Panseke Garage in Abeokuta blew the remaining passengers in the car a kiss of surprise, as he parked and asked us to board another vehicle to Iwo Road, which on agreement, was supposed to be our last bus stop from Abeokuta. I said, to myself, as he parked, “hope he is the one paying the fare down to Iwo Road?”. I stylishly voiced it out as I got down and my seat mate responded, “of course, awon lo ma san wo, he will pay!”

To my surprise, and displeasure, there were already two passengers at the back seat, and we were three that alighted from the space bus, and our driver had paid this Micra driver. The Micra man said “o ti pe be yen, sister e wole si waju pelu mummy, enter and seat in front with her’’. I told him I didn’t want to seat in front with another passenger; besides, this mummy was two times my size (I said this last part in my mind ooo and of course it was obvious). By this time, my smart, lepa co-passenger had made herself comfortable as the third passenger in the back seat. Eventually, she was called upon to come and seat in front with me. My heart agreed that I could manage with her, but my head disagreed. I remember this lady telling the driver to watch her leg and avoid the gear from violently romancing her thigh at intervals. To compensate my heart, I decided to start a conversation with this driver on our way. I asked him, in Yoruba, why they always carried two passengers in the front seat, and whether they are not aware that the white man made the seat for just one. He responded, “Nigeria lawa, this is Nigeria’’. What an amazing response! I was not surprised, after all this is Nigeria where standards are disregarded. I told him that it is wickedness and greed that make them carry two “incompatible” people in front. He responded, in Yoruba, that drivers can’t force people to share the front seat, if they don’t want to. He added jokingly that if people were also to seat in the boot or on any part of the car they will still pay. For me, the conversation ended there, because if I did not stop the questions, my heart could explode. Soon a passenger alighted from the back seat and I relocated. My heart smiled again. Before I forget, he also said if the opportunity existed, they would carry four people at the back and if we want them to start carrying just one person in front, the road transport officials in “white and green” should stop collecting levy at every bus stop.

I used to be the second passenger in the front seat for many years, and this was more pronounced during my five-year study at the University of Ibadan (UI). The only time I was freed from being the second passenger in the front seat was whenever I boarded a cab at the university car park. In UI, it is an offence for both the driver and the drivee (lol). Okada riders in the University do not take more than one passenger on any trip. Thumbs up for the transport Administrators for this because I’m sure if stringent rules were not laid down, there would be no sanity in the university transport system.

In March 2017, I decided that I was going to stop being the second passenger in the front seat. I had taken a cab to visit a brother of mine and his wife for the weekend. I must say the journey from UI to Total garden was an inconvenient one, talking about the forceful romance of the gear with my left thigh at various intervals. Of course, the driver was less concerned. He felt I should be the one adjusting to give way to “Mr. Gear”. The pain I felt in my left thigh, the following morning, reminded me of several discomforts I felt in times past in my left thigh which I didn’t trace to being the second passenger in the front seat. That was the end for me! Of course, my convictions were tested several times, but I always refused to exhale my conviction because change truly begins with me. I must be the New Nigeria I want to see by refusing to be exploited in the front seat.

Wait a minute! It seems to you that my reason for retreating was a selfish one, right? Far from it. When you refuse to do what is right, you will learn your lesson the hard way. Whatever is not right will eventually bring pain and regret, it just a matter of time. I decided to take an inventory and I realized that I didn’t learn my lessons early enough by buying into such unhealthy norm.  It is only in Nigeria that unhealthy norms are stronger than written laws.

In March 2015, the University had just resumed for a new session.  On this fateful morning of March 24, I had gone to Guaranty Trust bank, Mokola, to collect a new ATM card due to the expiration of the old one. Upon collection, I used the ATM, withdrew the amount I needed for my school fees. Transaction successful. I crossed to the other side of the road to take a cab back home. It was an unfortunate afternoon. There were four passengers in the supposed cab; three (all men) at the back and one in front (female). I was the second passenger in the front seat they were waiting for. I entered the front seat and tried to close the door but it was difficult. I tried it several times. The lady tried offering me some help. She held my bag while I kept trying to close the door. Suddenly, a forgotten past of when I was much younger came to mind. My mother sent me to deposit some money in the bank. After the transaction, I took a cab straight home. I remember that at the point of dropping at the junction of my house that there were just three of us in the cab; myself in the front seat, the driver and a supposed passenger at the back seat. I tried opening the door forcefully when the man wasn’t stopping at my destination. Alas, the locks were released and I made my way out of the car. I was scared. They thought I had money on me or probably saw me as a potential ritual sacrifice. (GOD ALWAYS SAVES HIS OWN!).

Back to the Guaranty Trust bank, Mokola, I shouted, “leave me, I am not going again!”. I snatched my bag from the lady holding it for me, as the driver shouted at me, “be going!”. I quickly checked the smaller zip in front of the bag to confirm that my money was intact. It was.  I made up my mind not to take a cab again, but bike. I walked some distance away and hopped on a bike after proper scrutiny. I didn’t know my heavy cute bag was empty. As the bike was almost approaching Elewure, I felt the urge to check the main compartment of my bag, only to confirm my fear, my Samsung galaxy tab was gone! My spirit was at rage as I removed the heavy papers and books used to stuck the pouch of the tab. My very being cursed those wicked souls. It was one experience I didn’t get over in good time because my mother gave me the tab after much pestering. It was a big one for me. Above all I thank God that I am alive to share my experience. The lesson I took away from this experience was that you should never take transport directly in front of the bank, and one should watch carefully the cab to ensure that it is a registered cab having the NURTW sticker at the top right of the front screen with the correct cab painting. These bad guys are everywhere, so know your God and walk closely with Him.

For personal security, no one should agree to seat with another person in the front seat. It seems to me that money is more important to Micra drivers than the security and convenience of passengers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Opeyemi Adebari is a law graduate from Nigeria’s premier University, the University of Ibadan. She is a passionate writer and poet. She believes in equity, justice, and value. Her works focus on correcting ills, Revealing injustice and promoting value on every possible plane. She is equally passionate about entrepreneurship.

MY DAUGHTER IN AN IRON PANTY by Olusegun Ogunmola

MY DAUGHTER IN AN IRON PANTY by Olusegun Ogunmola

MY DAUGHTER IN AN IRON PANTY

by Olusegun Ogunmola

Amina spoils the holy streets of Sokoto
With the stench from her fistulated tract,
As grandpa struggles to tame his libido
That keeps begging for more of the act
 
Ada is silently driven madly insane:
The horror won’t cease to replay in her mind,
But kin ties must unclipped remain,
So she must learn to feign mute and blind.
Eight rotten minds with altered senses
(End of substance use and pornography)—
Rob the poor teenagers of their innocencies,
Alas, one errand turns out too many!
 
He cooks himself another exorcism session
(Who’s delivering who— I really can’t tell):
Wooli  and inchoate Aanu in a hot horny session,
Ah, church on a par with a stinking brothel!
What’s left to be heard in this millennium:
A nine-month old smeared with seminal pap;
Doctor says she has a traumatised perineum
(But she had only sat on big uncle’s lap)?
One more body infected—
HIV, gonorrhoea— maybe;
One more issue unwanted,
Another “baby” bears a baby
(Sighs)
 
Daughter, shall I weld you an iron panty
Secure and safe as Fort-Knox?
Shall I put your “under” under lock and key
To save you from unbridled cocks?
 
Daughter, should I weld you an iron panty
Secure and safe as Fort-Knox,
Mum would not let even me have the key,
For daughters now taste daddies’ cocks!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

‘Segun ‘Mola (Olusegun Ogunmola) is a budding poet, singer, songwriter, and musician. He chooses to see his works as media for baring his mind on various subjects, from the perspective of his faith and convictions. He places much value on “little things”, as he believes that great things more often than not emerge from the seemingly small and insignificant ones. He is inspired primarily by personal vicissitudes, society, and relationships (with God and man). He is a graduate of university of Ilorin, Nigeria, where he studied Health Education.

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