Friday, 9 October 2009

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.


3 Comments:

Blogger African Artists said...

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17 May 2010 at 01:41  
Blogger African Artists said...

That was worthy of great applause. You are quite extraordinary or should I say part of tomorrow's Nigerian ordinary. You have honoured so many people in your speech. I felt shivers around my neck and head when you spoke. As much as your words that you have already written your voice is so powerful. Your breath is so important for what you are saying. Breathe into the position you hold, you are worthy of that position as your words are magical and we as Ginger Beer drinking, Malta loving, fish and chips, fufu eating people on the earth are more than the sum of our parts. All aspects of our natural being regardless of colour are more powerful than we can humanly understand. Nigeria and Africa are listening to your every word, written of spoken. You have spoken beautifully. Well done indeed. Much respect and love from Joe in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The Garden of England.

17 May 2010 at 01:42  
Blogger eria said...

Chimamanda Adichie is a wonderful writer who delivers a powerful message on the problem of perception that has served to present Africans as vitims of themselves. Pathetic little "half devil,half children", in what she quoted as words by Rudyard Kipling.

She addresses the West in this discussion and calls upon them to look more to the many stories that 'complete' the message about Africa, and also touches on the good stories coming out of her native Nigeria like NOLLYWOOD, which incidentally is shared in practically all sub Saharan Africa. I am a Ugandan and in all my years have not watched half as many Ugandan movies as i have Nigrian movies in the last 5 to 7 years, never mind the quality. The point is that Nollywood is serving to tell part of the Nigerian story.
The problem with that for me , and she pointed it out, is that Nigeria large and influential as they are, can not serve to tell the whole African story because Africa is not a country BUT A CONTINENT, though in ethnic terms it should because MOST Africans are genetically related and share a common ancestry and physical origin. She also rightly points out that we should look not to how different we are but to how similar we are.

However, my problem with this whole debate is that it is addressed to a Western thought system which would not respond to perceived weak system in any other way than with a 'kind patronising' helping hand. I think as an African writer, she must become more interested in influencing more Africans about themselves. Let she follow Nollywood and publish Nigerian stories to the West, yes but more to African audiences and then seek feedback from Africa on these stories. Personally i find a huge gulf between the expertise of Nigerian Writing with man mountains like Wole Soyinka and Elechi Amadi, and Nollywood. The former gave stories on Nigeria with higherimplications for all Africa while the quality of Nollywood is rather, in my humble opinion becoming rather stereotypical and at times rather shallow. If our tools of Story delivery can be strengthened on the part not of Nigerian cinema but in African cinema as a whole, then a power to deliver 'a balance of stories' would be tremendous. Africa should in my opinion seek to educate herself more of Africa's stories from all the continent. Black, Arab, Coloured, White people whol ive on this continent are ALL Africans.

The West Africans must embrace the East Africans as brothers, North and South too. We share a common destiny as a continent, yet we are brethren so we are Continental Nation called Africa. The less spoken of parts of Africa should not be left behind in this process and most of all, we must seek to break the language and border divied left by European Imperialism. By ERIA NSUBUGA

17 May 2010 at 21:37  

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