She tells the story of Africa as it should be told! Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie the author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah was invited by Gothenburg International Film Festival as a guest speaker in a seminar. Kenneth Fagbe and Gloria Matuka interviewed her to know what she feels about Scandinavia audience, African in diaspora, feminism…history
Skandik Afrik - How best do you think that Africans will have a fair share of history?
Chimamanda N. Adichie - We as africans have to tell our stories. We already have the fair share of history but the stories have not been told because other people told the stories first. So at the end, it will be the history we remember and not that we agreed, that something happened because some people have said that it happened. We need to tell the stories ourselves, from Africa by Africans. It is going to take a critical mass of people telling the stories, researching about their home towns, writing about it and if they cannot write it, tell someone else to write it. The way that largely the history we learnt in secondary school in Nigeria is still very much the kind of history from the British perspective and the sad part is that Africans, especially Nigerians do not have sufficient interest in their own history. Though this observation will fit mostly for Africans living in Africa
Skandik Afrik- When writing your books, where do you get inspiration from? (Is it from personal experience)
Chimamanda N. Adichie - It depends. I write more about other people and not about myself. There is nothing much to write about myself. I write about many things. I do observe a lot and do character sketches to make up my stories.
Skandik Afrik- How would you describe Scandinavian people and the Africans you met in Sweden?
Chimamanda N. Adichie - The Africans l met in Sweden, Oh! l love them. I love my readers a lot. There is a kind of a joy being alive. I effortlessly felt like part of Scandinavia.
Skandik Afrik- You categorized yourself as a feminist yesterday at the seminar when you said "it would take at least 50 years to build a balanced gender society!" How do you think the world can achieve this?
Chimamanda N. Adichie - By raising boys and girls the same. We need to pretend there are no such things as gender. We need to change it so that our differences are only physical, so that at the end, women and men can have the same choices. We should raise kids irrespective of their gender that they can become CEOs or whatever they desire to achieve in life. There are lots of women out there that ended up not doing what they really loved because they have been told they couldn't
Skandik Afrik- Half of a Yellow Sun Film ticket was sold within a considerably short time in Sweden. The people came out en mass to see you, how do you feel?
Chimamanda N. Adichie - Everywhere l go, there are Nigerians and Africans. I identify very strongly with Africans and it is a very beautiful feeling. Am very grateful that my work is recorgnised all over the world, and that its being appreciated by my own people, it's a very beautiful thing. I was really happy to see everyone there at International Film festival Seminar.
Skandik Afrik-What advice would you give to Africans in diaspora?
Chimamanda N. Adichie - Stop apologizing for being who you are
Skandik Afrik-You will be in Denmark, Copenhagen on 19th of May 2014, what should the Danish people be looking forward to?
Chimamanda N. Adichie - I am going to promote the Danish edition of my novels.
Skandik Afrik- Apart from the book you wrote like Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, Americana, which other book will you recommend for African descendants or Scandinavians that want to dig further into African values and histories
Chimamanda N. Adichie -I will recommend Lola Soleye(Nigerian) "the secret lives of Baba Segi's wives", Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenyan), "One day l will write about this place" is a very beautiful memo, Chika Unigwe (Nigerian) ,She wrote about Nigerians in Europe " On black sisters Streets" and many more. These are few of the more contemporary ones instead of the older ones like Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka which everyone knows about.
Sharing with you some of the memorable pictures we took during the interview
Chimamanda N. Adichie with Kenneth during the interview
Chimamanda looking through Skandik Afrik magazine
Interview conducted by: Kenneth Fagbe & Gloria Matuka
Photograph by :Nissor Addourazakov
Skandik Afrik ( firstname.lastname@example.org )