In late 2019, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie announced she was moving the Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop from Lagos to Awka in Anambra, it marked the beginning of a new era for Adichie’s extremely influential writing workshop and another assertion of her identity and pride in being a Nigerian contributing to the cultural renaissance we have experienced in the last decade. The Purple Hibiscus workshop has become a good sieve for finding and amplifying the work of the country’s brightest literary stars, with writers like Eloghosa Osunde and Akweke Emezi as alumni. This is one of the many ways Adichie’s outsize presence has been a beacon of pride in a difficult year.
As a writer and public commentator, Chimamanda has always been influential but never has she leaned into her influence and channelled the ensuing attention to causes personal to her. Chimamanda is renowned around the world for her contributions to feminist discourse, her tireless championing of women and her support for Hillary Clinton during her run for the US presidency. Her thoughts on feminism is a lodestone for many Gen-Z feminists.
Now in its 3rd year, Chimamanda funnelled growing interest in her personal style into her #WearNigerian project which highlights the work of Nigerian designers. Her #WearNigerian project has become so influential, she was able to invite Italian-born head of global fashion powerhouse Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri to a cultural exchange visit that saw the designer meet many of the industry’s brightest stars. Adichie has been vocal about her support of the Nigerian fashion industry, a position she has explained is inspired by her own hesitation to embrace fashion early in her career because of the stereotypes of frivolity that trail women in professional careers who also embrace clothes as a medium of self-expression.
Chimamanda is also renowned for the deft way in which she uses her platforms to amplify causes she holds dear and advocate for a system that recognizes the rights of all. She has received international recognition from Toronto to Beijing for her contributions to feminism, literature, and education. Her novel Americanah, considered one of the great contemporary novels of the decade is about to be adapted into a Hollywood mini-series by Oscar winner Lupita N’yongo and Emmy-nominated Danai Guririra.
We need more women like Chimamanda, women who assert their cultural heritage and introduce it to global audiences in ways that are not patronizing or reductive. Chimamanda for President!