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Chimamanda and ISo I attended the Americanah book launch at Terra in May. I was excited because I love Chimamanda and her works. Until she made those comments about human hair (Brazilian hair weaves et co for those unfamiliar with the term). Those comments that didn’t respect that some in the audience had human hair on. Those condescending comments that made it seem anyone without natural hair was invisible. Suffice to say, I left that gathering without buying the book and I haven’t gotten around to even reading a borrowed copy.

That was in April, fast forward to July, Chimamanda gives a Boston Review interview calling ElNathan John ‘her boy’. I read the interview and my jaw literally dropped, she didn’t just say that! I was disappointed at best and shocked at worst. If she had stopped at that, it might have been excused as a slip but she went on to express her dislike for the Caine prize. Juxtapose that with her comments about not being interested in the stories to read them and asserting that the best fiction was in her mailbox, you get the idea of a conceited Chimamanda.

Some may argue that Chimamanda was just trying to deemphasise the ubiquitous notion that to be an African writer of note, you must have won some foreign prize. Maybe, but did she have to diss other writers in the process?? Though that notion is so wrong, truth is, that’s the reality on ground and even Chimamanda is a product of that stereotype; she won the British Orange Prize, and became an internationally known literary figure. So how about being happy for a fellow writer and a fine one at that, and not make such unfair comments?!

Of course, ElNathan’s response on his blog  was very sarcastic. I can identify with him when someone you respect and admire deeply becomes a source of hurt and pain.  Anyways, he got free publicity, even if in the most unlikely of ways.

I like Chimamanda and her smart retorts to questions, I still do but this path she has chosen; a destructive one won’t lead her anywhere. So easy Chimamanda, lest this gift of yours becomes your Achilles’ heel. Enough said!

2 thoughts on “Easy…Chimamanda

    James said:
    July 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Nicely written. If I might add to what you have just said, I think Chimamanda lacks social skills – something she needs to work on improving or it will be her Achilles heels. She has a complex that her opinion counts the most in every subject she speaks on and everyone should acknowledge it. She might be a good writer and her opinion does carry weight in the literary world but not in other spheres of life. She has long natural hair that every woman wishes they had but don’t. However, she shouldn’t belittle those who don’t. I would like to see her limit her conversations to her writing and nothing else. The more she deviates from that to areas she is less competent in, the more she puts her foot in her mouth. She should also articulate her thoughts before she speaks, whether in public or in private. Any interaction she has with people outside of her family and close friends are closely watched.


      pholthar responded:
      July 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks for your comment.


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