Everyone knows that Queens are born in September, right? One lady whose crown always sits firmly on her head is Chimamanda Adichie, writer, feminist and flag flyer for Nigerian fashion designers.
Through her writings, talks and books, Chimamanda Adichie always drops knowledge and truth and in celebration of her 40th birthday today, 15 September 2017, we’ve pulled together 15 of the best quotes that she has spoken or written.
- “I think you travel to search and you come back ‘home’ to find yourself there.”
- “You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said. “Your life belongs to you and you alone.” (Half of a Yellow Sun)
- “Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.” (Americanah)
- “Of course, I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”
- “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”
- “Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can, and must make it our culture.”
- “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.”
- “The manifestation of racism has changed but the language has not.”
- “If I were not African, I wonder whether it would be clear to me that Africa is a place where the people do not need limp gifts of fish but sturdy fishing rods and fair access to the pond. I wonder whether I would realize that while African nations have a failure of leadership, they also have dynamic people with agency and voices.”
- “I recently spoke at a university where a student told me it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had recently read a novel called American Psycho, and that it was a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.”
- “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanise. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
- “I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change, but in addition to being angry, I’m also hopeful because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better.”
- “Please love by giving and by taking. Give and be given. If you are only giving and not taking, you’ll know. You’ll know from that small and true voice inside you that we females are so often socialized to silence. Don’t silence that voice. Dare to take.”
- “The real tragedy of our postcolonial world is not that the majority of people had no say in whether or not they wanted this new world; rather, it is that the majority have not been given the tools to negotiate this new world.”
- “Never ever accept ‘Because You Are A Woman’ as a reason for doing or not doing anything.”
Here’s more content on Chimamanda Adichie here.