THE MAKING OF GENIUSES SERIES
CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE – THE LITERARY GIANT & HER ‘’BUY NIGERIAN TO GROW THE NAIRA’’ CAMPAIGN — A Shining Example for Nigerian Youths
- ‘’Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar. Israel has created a new image of the Jew in the world – the image of a working and an intellectual people, of a people that can fight with heroism.’’ – Nnamdi Azikiwe.
- “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it’’ – Nelson Mandela
- I think that feeling that if one believed absolutely in any cause, then one must have the confidence, the self-certainty, to go through with that particular course of action. – Wole Soyinka
HARD WORK, DETERMINATION, PRAYERS & A BIT OF LUCK: Only in rare cases would you encounter cheap sources of making money in the United States where Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose reputation as a novelist and public speaker is fast spreading globally makes a living. She resides in the United States where spends the better part of the year, with occasional visits to her native country – Nigeria. Chimamanda is married to a Nigeria medical practitioner – Ivara Esege and both live in Baltimore, Maryland. From her literary works and speaking engagements, Chimamanda has an estimated net worth of US$5 million as of 2019. Actually, Adichie comes under one of the richest and influential authors today. Since she is a rising public personality, her net worth will definitely increase. I just write. I have to write. I like to say that I didn’t choose writing, writing chose me. ‘’This may sound slightly mythical, but I sometimes feel as if my writing is something bigger than I am’’. The prime reason for writing on Chimamanda is to promote the feelings of empathy in Nigerian youths so they know that they could also develop their faculties and endowments to be huge successes in life. It is also to prove to them that hard work and creativity pays in any part of the world. They could still reside in Nigeria and dream big. If all of us run away through legal and illegal routes, then who develops Nigeria?
WHY WE CELEBRATE OUR PEOPLE — TERRIFIC HEADLINES has written a few times about the importance of developing faculties and endowments. How many youths read today? Many parents no longer pay adequate attention to the development of their children. Development and encouragement are joint tasks among stakeholders – principally parents who are fast abandoning their responsibilities. Other stakeholders are: Government, organizations with parental responsibilities, civil society organizations and the civil society itself. One way of creating awareness is through special recognitions. We must correct the issue of poor reading culture. Whoever wishes to accomplish his/her goals in life must broaden his/her horizon. We must continue to examine how our heroes of the past worked tirelessly for the growth of Nigeria. And we must celebrate successes because it influences others which is why young people with remarkable attainments are ushered before the Queen of England for recognition; and Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji was in June 2011 invited to the White House by Michelle Obama, then First Lady of the United States, as one of her personal inspirations in a televised address to America as a prelude to her arrival in Africa for the Young African Women Leaders Forum of which Akerele-Ogunsiji remains the only Nigerian member to date. And when she was to launch her book in the United Kingdom, Mitchele Obama looked in the direction of Chimamanda Adichie and requested her to moderate the event in a global community of 3.8 billion females. That is a great recognition for Nigeria.
Those societies harbour our brothers and sisters with patents and brains worth several billions of dollars and pounds sterling. It is possible that the United States would soon make overtures to Ofure Mary Ebhomielen, the lady who emerged the best all-round students at the University of Ibadan, assist her to develop her potentials to the fullest by relocating to the U.S and end up contributing to the development of that country as a Computer Scientist. It is also possible that the story that was published to encourage and invite attention was not even read by young ones who prefer soft stories like making love, divorce, and dancing wildly to music with lyrics they might not even understand.
SOME ARE BORN GREAT: It was that famous dramatist, poet, writer, and author, William Shakespeare who asserted that: ‘’Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’’. Out of curiosity and learning, particularly with regard to how greatness could be thrust upon an individual, I probed further and discovered that the quote is contained in the work of that great playwright:, in one of his works titled: ‘’Twelfth Night’’ which was written around the year 1602. According to records, the play under reference is a comedy about two twins who got caught in a storm that caused their ship to wreck. ‘’This shipwreck caused the twins to become separated. One of the characters in the play, Malvolio, utters this quote as he reads a letter: ‘’In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’’: The letter says that the writer of the letter was born into greatness, due to having noble or high ranking parents. The letter urges the addressee to accept his fate, and therefore accept his greatness’’
Given this interpretation of the words of Williams Shakespeare, it could be declared that burgeoning Nigerian relatively young author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had greatness thrust on her be reason of birth. Ngozi is a scion of the family of Prof. James Adichie, the first Nigerian professor of Statistics and Mrs. Ifeoma Adichie. Both parents worked at the University of Nigeria Nsukka where Ifeoma Adichie emerged the first female Registrar of the University. One remarkable factor however, is that it is possible for greatness to be thrust upon a personality, who could also end up a failure. Without any doubt, greatness could turn to failure is the blessed fails to move further to advance the cause of the inheritance. The success story of Ngozi Adichie is indeed one that should thrill young Nigerians and African youths that accomplishments are not by race or colour. Some determinants include hard work, resilience and a bit of luck.
THE EARLY YEARS: Chimamanda, described by Wikipedia as a novelist, short story writer, and non-fiction writer was born in Enugu, Enugu State of Nigeria in September, 1977. She is the fifth out of the six children of her parents. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie started her writing vocation this way: At the age of 10 years, she read ‘’Things Fall Apart’’ authored by that great Nigerian writer and novelist, Prof. Chinua Achebe. A publication by Ikechukwu Anya titled: ‘’In the Footsteps of Achebe — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigeria’s Newest Literary Voice’, Adichie is quoted as stating that: ‘’My writing comes from melancholy, from rage, from curiousity, from hope’’ Those words form the pivot around which her writings revolve. From that small beginning in the literary world, Chimamanda has transformed into a globally acclaimed author and public speaker, appearing at several ‘’A Class’’ events to inspire and promote learning.
THE INFLUENCER: Prof. Chinua Achebe (16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013) was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart (1958), is considered his best work and is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Achebe’s love for literary works made him abadon a course in Medicine for which he was admitted as a foundation student in 1948 to embrace literature. He abandoned the study of medicine and changed to English, History, and Theology. Achebe’s contemporaries in the Nigerian literary circles include Wole Soyinka, John Pepper Clark, Cyprian Ekwensi, Things Fall Apart is reported to have sold over 20 million copies and has been translated into several Nigerian languages. Adichie said of his mentor in an interview published by The National Post: “Chinua Achebe mattered very much to Nigerians in a real way. ‘’People read his books. People talked about his characters as if they were real. People invested a certain kind of moral authority in the man. ‘’ He’s immortal. The man has died but the spirit lives. I think he’ll be read for a very long time. I think he’s going to mean a lot to Nigerians — to Africans, really — for a very long time.” Chinua Achebe also wrote several other notable books including: No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987).
.LITERARY WORKS & SCIENCE BACKGROUND: The experiences stated here shows that anybody in any discipline could emerge a successful fiction writer. Ngozi Adichie’s experience is slightly similar to that of her influencer. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria then moved to the US to study communications and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. She gained a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States. She also studied at Drexel in Philadelphia and Eastern Connecticut State University. Adichie earned master’s degrees from both Johns Hopkins and Yale. A preparation in the sciences does not preclude gifts in literary works from being executed. A very good example is the exploits of late Timothy Mofolusho Aluko, an Engineer, and native of Ilesha in Osun State, Nigeria, who qualified as early as 1948, worked in the Civil Service of Western Nigeria and went on to be a great writer and author. Aluko’s One Man, One Wife (1959), a satirical novel about the conflict of Christian and Yoruba ethics, relates the disillusionment of a village community with the tenets of missionary Christianity.
Encyclopedia Britannica states that: A second novel, One Man, One Matchet (1964), humorously presents the clash of an inexperienced district officer with an unscrupulous politician. Kinsman and Foreman (1966) incorporates Aluko’s professional experiences into a penetrating study of an idealistic young engineer’s battle against the corrupt practices of his highly respected public works foreman, who is also his uncle. Chief the Honourable Minister (1970) satirizes the calamity resulting from a schoolmaster’s appointment as minister of works in a newly independent country. His subsequent novels include His Worshipful Majesty (1973), Wrong Ones in the Dock (1982), and A State of Our Own (1986). The economy of style, graceful prose, and gentle irony of Aluko’s novels brought him critical acclaim. He also published My Years of Service (1994) and The Story of My Life (2006), both volumes of autobiography.
HARD WORK: Only in rare cases would you encounter cheap sources for making money in the United States where Chimamanda spends the better part of the year. Chimamanda is married to a Nigeria medical practitioner – Ivara Esege and both reside in Baltimore, Maryland. From her literary works and speaking engagements, Chimamanda has an estimated net worth of US$5 million as of 2019. Actually, Adichie comes under one of the richest and influential authors today. Since she is a rising public personality, her net worth will definitely increase. I just write. I have to write. I like to say that I didn’t choose writing, writing chose me. This may sound slightly mythical, but I sometimes feel as if my writing is something bigger than I am’’
THE BREAKTHROUGH: It first came through the publication by Adichie of a collection of poems in 1997 (Decisions) and a play (For Love of Biafra) in 1998. She was shortlisted in 2002 for the Caine Prize] for her short story “You in America”, The Caine Prize for African Writing is an annual literary award for the best original short story by an African writer, whether in Africa or elsewhere, published in the English language. The £10,000 prize was founded in the United Kingdom in 2000, and was named in memory of Sir Michael Harris Caine, former Chairman of Booker Group plc. Since that memorable feat was recorded at the prime age of 20 years, Adichie has literally swam in awards and honours. Among several others, she was awarded the 2018 PEN Pinter prize. She was commended as a writer who embodies “those qualities of courage and outspokenness. The PEN Pinter prize honours a writer of “outstanding literary merit” who – in the words of Pinter’s speech on winning the Nobel prize in 2005 – casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world and shows a “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies”. (The Guardian of London)
A WONDERFUL PATRIOT: Chimamanda Adichie runs a project named: BUY NIGERIAN; TO GROW THE NAIRA that she commenced in 2017. She champions buying Nigerian-made products’ to help the economy following the downturn in the economy. She has not relented. In a statement made via her Facebook account, she said: “If we are to grasp for a silver lining, then the “Buy Nigerian to GrowThe Naira” rhetoric is one. In that spirit, I recently decided to wear mostly Nigerian brands for my public appearances.”She decided that she would attend every event in outfits made by Nigerians and she hasn’t faltered. Take a trip to her Instagram page (managed by her nieces Chisom and Amaka) and enjoy the beautiful display of Nigerian and African fashion. Chimamanda says she chose to wear Nigerian-made pieces because she wants to do her own quota by supporting our super talented designers and also make a case for how fashion can tell a story.
AS A FEMINIST: She had personal encounters with Hillary Clinton. As published in The Atlantic, Chimamanda said about Clinton: Hillary Clinton was guilty immediately when she stepped into the view of the American public as the first lady of Arkansas. She was a lawyer full of dreams. She had made sacrifices for the man she loved, waived her plans, and moved to his state. But she also dared to think herself her husband’s equal, to assume herself competent enough to take on expanding access to healthcare and reforming the Arkansas public education system. She was guilty of not being a traditional first lady. She offended the old patriarchal order. The conservative media loathed her.
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS & THE LOVE FOR NIGERIA: Her You tube posts reveal that Adichie is a beautiful orator. And she is a wonderful patriot, always appearing at public functions in colourul Nigerian dresses. Within ten days, she received the three awards in highly-rated American Universities. These are: American University (Washing to receive an honorary degree and also deliver a commencement speech for the university’s College of Arts and Science; Georgetown University to deliver a commencement speech for Georgetown College, and Yale’s University in New Haven, Connecticut, at the 318th commencement ceremony, where she received her third honorary degree. During her Yale class day address, Ngozi reportedly got a resounding standing ovation. Adichie spoke about the state of affairs in the United States, figuratively using Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” in her description of the current US sociopolitical climate.
- 2010 Listed among The New Yorker′s “20 Under
- 2013 Listed among The New York Times′ “Ten Best Books of 2013”, for Americanah
- 2013 Listed among BBC’s “Top Ten Books of 2013”, for Americanah
- 2013 Foreign Policymagazine “Top Global Thinkers of 2013
- 2013 Listed among the New African′s “100 Most Influential Africans 2013”
- 2014 Listed among Africa39project of 39 writers aged under 40
- 2015 Listed among Time Magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People
- 2015 Commencement Speaker at Wellesley College
- 2017 Commencement Speaker at Williams College
- 2018 Class Day Speaker for Harvard University.
- 2019 Class Day Speaker for Yale University.