Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on September 15, 1977, in Nigeria. She is a precocious reader: she reads books with different protagonists, in particular with Western physical characteristics: for this reason, her first texts, written when she was still a child, tell about white characters with blue eyes who live a daily reality completely different from hers. Only with the discovery of African writers, such as Chinua Achebe, does she realize that not all stories have to have foreign characters as protagonists, who mostly have to deal with situations in which it is difficult for her to identify with, if only because of a different geographical affiliation.

It is the characters in which she herself can recognise herself that save her from the vision of the "unique story", as far as books are concerned. At a TedGlobal in 2009, Chimamanda talks about the dangers of contemplating a single vision of people, places and cultures: on that occasion she explains how this gives rise to stereotypes and how the problem with stereotypes is not so much their truthfulness or absenceof it, but the fact that they are incomplete and therefore lead to transform one story among many into a single possible story. She realises at the age of nineteen, when she moves to the United States to study at university, that the stereotype of the African woman does not reflect the reality of all African women, or rather represents only a part of it. Here, for example, she notes how her roommate has a thought about her linked to a media image that does not actually reflect Chimamanda and that, on the contrary, limits many people's ability to relate to people of her own nationality: the belief is based on a single possible view of the lifestyle of her continent of origin and generates an inadequate feeling of pity towards her.

Chimamanda then tells, during a TedTalk called "We Should All be Feminists", how gender stereotypes define inequality between men and women. In this context, in fact, she explains how, since childhood, boys are caged behind the armour of masculinity, with the inherent duty of never being able to be weak or vulnerable and how, on the other hand, girls are educated to please the ego of men always looking for a compromise, thus limiting their dreams and ambitions. During the speech, the emphasis is placed on how, on several occasions, your being a woman has automatically triggered in the head of your interlocutor ideas based on a strongly patriarchal culture, which in fact limits equality between the two sexes: one of these beliefs concerned how you have to dress to be taken seriously.
Chimamanda is a feminist and believes that anyone who recognises, be it this man or woman, that the situation today with regard to gender issues is problematic and needs to be improved.

Developing her interest in writing, Chimamanda published her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, which won numerous awards including the Orange Prize for Best Novel published in the UK and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. She continues his career in this field with her second book, Half of a Yellow Sun, with which she wins the Nonino Prize, as well as her third, Americanah, published in 2013 and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award 2013. Among her works there is also the collection of short stories The Thing Around Your Neck. In 2008 he received the MacArthur Genius Grant, as well as an honorary degree from three universities: Johns Hopkins, Haverford College and the University of Edinburgh.

Translated by Noemi Monaco

Photo by Carlos Figueroa

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  • L'Autore

    Francesca Oggiano

    Mi chiamo Francesca Oggiano e sono una studentessa iscritta al corso di “Scienze Internazionali ed Istituzioni Europee” presso l’Università degli Studi di Milano.

    Da sempre la scrittura mi permette di rendere reale ciò che nasce come pensiero astratto, ed in particolare lo studio di materie giuridiche, economiche e sociali, improntate verso una visione internazionale, ha consolidato in me la necessità di voler raccontare ciò che accade nel mondo attraverso la ricerca di usi e tradizioni appartenenti a luoghi diversi e lontani dal nostro quotidiano.

    Sono venuta a conoscenza della realtà “Mondo Internazionale” e da subito mi ha incuriosita il fatto che si trattasse di ragazzi giovani impegnati a creare uno spazio che permettesse loro di credere in qualcosa di grande ed ho così deciso di voler fare anche io la mia parte.

    Insieme al meraviglioso Team che si occupa del progetto “TrattaMi Bene”, ho la possibilità di esprimermi riguardo a temi che da sempre mi appassionano e mi stanno a cuore, come i diritti umani e la violenza di genere, e che mai più di ora penso debbano essere divulgati fra le generazioni. Credo profondamente nel valore dello scambio comunicativo e sono convinta che con la forza della conoscenza e dell’informazione si possa crescere e migliorare, sia come individui che come Comunità.

    My name is Francesca Oggiano and I am currently a student of International Studies and European Institutions at the University of Milan.

    Writing has always allowed me to translate abstract thoughts into concrete realities and studying subjects like law, economics and social sciences, especially when marked by an international directory, has strengthen in me the need to tell what happens in the world through specific research of traditions belonging to places that are diverse and far from our daily life.

    I came across “Mondo Internazionale” and the fact that it involved young people engaged in creating a space that would let them believe in something greater made me curious from the very beginning; hence, I decided that I also wanted to give my contribution to this project.

    Together with the wonderful team of the “TrattaMi Bene”, I have the chance to express my ideas on themes that have always been close to my heart and that deeply interest me, such as human rights and gendered violence, and that I am certain now more than ever need to be discussed through generations. I strongly believe in the importance of communicative exchanges and I am committed to the idea that, thanks to the power of knowledge and information, one can grow and get better both as an individual and as a community.



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