Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is One of the Most Relevant Writers of Our Time

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is One of the Most Relevant Writers of Our Time

Words Sophie Henderson

The Nigerian writer, activist and public speaker is provoking necessary conversations.

Last season, Dior showcased a graphic T-shirt with a righteous statement on its centre — ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. It was the most talked about design in Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first collection for the house and those honest and progressive words originate from an essay and TEDx talk of the same name. The author behind it, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a Nigerian icon and is well on her way to becoming one of the most relevant journalists of our time, and rightly so.

A writer and public speaker, her attitude towards social issues—gender, racism, feminism, politics, culture, love—is honest and transfixing. In a critical essay she wrote: “My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”

Adichie’s work not only attracts a new generation of readers to African literature, but it also delves into this pressing subject matter, transgressing stereotypes in a relevant way. Adichie makes a great addition to the century’s wider conversation and holds a unique position – she is, admirably, both a role model in modern popular culture and the intellectual, literary world.

“My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. Two of her acclaimed essays have been published in book format and in 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant for her creative prose. She has since written Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), The Thing Around Your Neck (2009) and her most celebrated novel, Americanah (2013). An ostensible story of childhood lovers, it delves into a post 9/11 America and its immigration system—a must-read soon to be adapted by Brad Pitt.

However, Adichie’s writers’ flair surpasses the written word. She has much to say on the ethicality of the fashion industry and has recently taken to social media to promote her “Wear Nigerian” campaign, active on Instagram under the hashtag #MadeInNigeria. Hardly a stranger to the high-fashion front row, she now chooses to strictly engage local designers and has pledged to wear only Nigerian brands for her public appearances. In a comment on Facebook, she said: “The Nigerian government’s disastrous economic policies have led to a reduction in the value of the Naira and therefore in disposable income…If we are to grasp for a silver lining, then the ‘Buy Nigerian to Grow The Naira’ rhetoric is one.”
Generally speaking, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a forward-thinking role model. A powerful creative, her words inspire and provoke necessary conversation in today’s globalised world.