Most of us know her through her notable works such as Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah and more.Many know her via her viral TED and TEDx talks; The Danger of a Single Story and We Should All Be Feminists. Some of us know her as feminist and fashion icon. Nigerians know her as all these things and a native of Anambra State who is a global game-changer. Yet even with all these, one would be shocked to know that there are still things to learn about one of the most influential writers of the 21st century, the first Nigerian to win the National Critics Circle Award and Orange Prize – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
In a recent interview with Punch Newspaper, the creator of the Wear Nigerian Project; Chimamanda lets us in on some information we did not know about her and her interests.
Here are 10 things we learned
Her Taste in Nigerian Music will shock you
Of course, she loves music! She has an impeccable taste too! “Falana is multi-talented and original. Yemi Alade, Waje and Omawumi all have fantastic vocal power and a beautiful artistic aura that is hard to imitate. Teni is so refreshing and gifted. Asa is a goddess. I think Phyno is extremely talented, and there is a unique and edgy quality in his ability to bridge modern high life and rap. Flavour’s music has a lovely nostalgic quality that is contemporary but has its roots in the past. There are songs by D’Banj, 2baba, P-Square and 9ice that I consider modern classics. Burna Boy is interesting because he seems keen to create an unorthodox body of work. Umu Obiligbo is my most recent discovery and I love their song, Culture. But as far as eternal favourites go, I always return to the queen, Onyeka Onwenu; the inimitable Fela Anikulapo-Kuti; and Celestine Ukwu, who I consider a philosopher-musician”.
She Doesn’t Have a Muse
Creatives are usually hit with the “Who inspires you question?”, For Chimamanda she turned the tables around when asked – “I don’t have a muse and don’t believe in the idea of a muse, that single person or thing from which inspiration springs. Instead, I am very lucky and grateful to have a wonderful support system of family and close friends”.
Her interest in Politics comes with a catch…
Adichie speaks greatly about politics especially on the issues of underrepresentation of women and bad leadership, with this, one would thing she might run for a position in the future, but she thinks otherwise. “I have been interested in politics all my life but participation in politics requires a kind of compromise that I’m not sure I can make” she said. “I could however be one of the advisors to a competent, dedicated person with a sense of empathy for ordinary Nigerians”. We’d take it!
Chimamanda believes the past Nigerian era was better than the present
In reference to this, she gives some concrete and very conspicuous reasons. “I would say that yes, the Nigeria of the 1980s was better in some ways than today’s Nigeria. The naked worship of money that we have today was not widespread then. People still cared about where your money came from. Now, they don’t”. “Now even churches put known fraudsters in the front pews. The education system was marginally better than it is today. Universities had not yet become handout-hawking enclaves. The civil service was marginally better organized. SARS did not exist and so was not murdering innocent people. Even corruption, which of course existed then, had not become a way of life. People were not as jaded about corruption, there was a still a genuine sense of outrage among people.” She added.
There’s a greater problem than corruption in Nigeria
Corruption. Corruption. Corruption. Almost every Nigerian has made complaints, protests and arguments about this singular problem mostly because we believe it to be the cankerworm in the Nigerian fabric. Well once again, Chimamanda the game-changer believes otherwise “…Our biggest problem is the incompetence of those in power. We have people in positions of power who have no business being there. The prevailing materialism and ethos of self-absorption in our culture is another major problem” she said and we cannot but agree
Certain Labels Do Not Appeal to Her
One of such is the term Diaspora Writer. “I am also not interested in those labels that are attached to writers because I find them to be political rather than literary. Are they based on where one lives? Or on what one writes about? Or where one was born? I have homes in the US and in Nigeria. I spend time in both places. I feel comfortable in both places”. She said
In Case You Missed It Before, She Lives in Nigeria and the US
Many people believe that Chimamanda lives fully in the US but comes to Nigeria to visit. That is not the case as she has confirmed that she actively spends her time living between the two countries. “I have homes in the US and in Nigeria. I spend time in both places. I feel comfortable in both places”. In fact, Chimamanda revealed that she’s had a house in Lagos for the past 10 years and that she spends a lot of time in Lagos. Interesting right? You’re welcome!
The Danger of a Single Story is still at large
At this point, if you are yet to watch The Danger of a Single Story, you have been living under the rock beneath Olumo rock. When asked if she believes all the issues related with a Single Story have been eradicated, the global renowned writer said, “No, but I think some progress has been made. I am amazed at how that talk is studied all over the world and I think it’s because it struck a chord for many people”.
Guess Another Area that Interests her…
We know writing is the love of her life but guess what also catches her fancy? Another breathtaking creative area; Visual Arts! “I’m also very interested in the visual arts scene, and have in fact, bought quite a few works of art by a number of young artists” she says.
Her Favourite Food
Over the years, Chimamanda has proven that she is a proud Igbo woman who will never forget her roots despite her exposure to cultures and places around the world. Her love for her origin, of course, also includes the food. On what her favourite food is, she says: “Okpa. For those who are unfamiliar with the exquisite wonder of this dish, let me explain, it is like moimoi but better”.
Bonus Point – The three things that are most important to her? “My family, my friends and my writing” but this is not a surprising fact is it? It’s however very sweet.
The interview with Chimamanda Adichie was originally published by the Punch.