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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • There are people who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not crawl, once.

  • 'Being defiant can be a good thing sometimes,' Aunty Ifeoma said. 'Defiance is like marijuana — it is not a bad thing when it is used right.

  • Death would be a complete knowingness, but what frightened him was this: not knowing beforehand what it was he would know.

  • This was love: a string of coincidences that gathered significance and became miracles.

  • '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.'

  • The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.

    • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
    • TED Talks ()
  • Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.

    • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
    • TED Talks ()
  • How easy it was to lie to strangers, to create with strangers the versions of our lives that we have imagined.

  • ...'oppression olympics' is what smart liberal Americans say, to make you feel stupid and to make you shut up. But there is an oppression olympics going on. American racial minorities — blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Jews — all get shit from white folks, different kinds of shit, but shit still. Each secretly believes that it gets the worst shit. ... However, all the others think they're better than blacks because, well, they're not black.

  • Why did people ask 'What is it about?' as if a novel had to be about only one thing.

  • Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I'm Jamaican or I'm Ghanaian. America doesn't care.

  • Racism should never have happened and so you don't get a cookie for reducing it.

  • Love was a kind of grief.

  • She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him: a self-affection. He made her like herself.

  • They never said 'I don’t know.' They said, instead, 'I'm not sure,' which did not give any information but still suggested the possibility of knowledge.

  • You could have just said Ngozi is your tribal name and Ifemelu is your jungle name and throw in one more as your spiritual name. They'll believe all kinds of shit about Africa.

  • I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.

    • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Some people ask, 'Why the word "feminist"? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?' Because that would be dishonest. Feminism, is, of course, part of human rights, in general — but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded ... That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human.

  • Culture does not make people. People make culture.

  • Never, ever accept 'because you are a woman' as a reason for doing or not doing anything.

    • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
    • commencement address, Wellesley College ()

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer

(1977)