Globally celebrated Nigerian Writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, says she doesn’t think herself an ambassador of her country.
The 42-year-old novelist was speaking to TheAfricaReport on her convictions about colonialism, politics, and pop culture when she was asked if her global brand stands in as an ambassador for Nigeria.
She said that there are certain things she detests about Nigeria and for that she doesn’t represent the country.
“No. I am an ambassador for myself. I don’t represent Nigeria; there are things about Nigeria I don’t like. But, at the same time, I am very very proud of my Nigerian identity,” Adichie said.
“I was born and raised in Nigeria, which I didn’t leave until I was 19. I’m proud to be Nigerian, I’m proud to be African, I’m proud to be Igbo. I won’t be who I am today if I wasn’t all of those things.”
The award-winning author, who divides her time between Nigeria and the United States, while traveling the globe, also opened up on why she initially refused an American passport.
“For a long time, I didn’t want to become a US citizen because I believed that part of the experience of being Nigerian is experiencing the humiliations of traveling on a Nigerian passport,” she said.
“But I changed my mind about US citizenship after my father was kidnapped in 2015 and it was the American embassy in Lagos and not the Nigerian government who helped my family.
“They even sent a therapist to my father after he was released. I now plan to become an American citizen at some point, but I guess I’m still delaying it.”
Adichie also insists that she think of herself first as a writer despite people constantly talking about her feminism because of her opinions on gender equality.
“I sometimes feel that people who know me only as a feminist don’t really know me fully. I think of myself first as a writer, that’s really what I am,” she said.
“I’ve been a feminist since even before I knew what the word meant: as a little girl I was always asking questions: “Why can’t I do that?” “Because you’re a girl.” But I started talking about it because my literature gave me a platform.
“After my TED talk I was surprised to get a standing ovation and then to hear that so many people had started to watch it.
“I wanted to start a conversation and it became much bigger than I thought it would be; which made me very happy because it’s important to talk about what women and girls go through everywhere in the world.
“But now people think I have all the answers to gender problems. I haven’t – but I want to try to make a change.”
Chimamanda Adichie has earned huge recognition for her works, which have been translated into several languages, receiving the United Nations Foundation’s Global Leadership Award in 2019 and being named the most famous African woman alive today.