Chimamanda Adichie is foremost a novelist, public speaker and non-fiction writer. Adichie is famous for her award winning novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, a story about the Nigerian civil war. She uses her work to advance the causes of women, Africa and her ethnic Igbo people. American pop singer, Beyoncé Knowles, in her track, Flawless, sampled a part of Adichie’s talk: “We Should All be Feminists,” given at the TEDx event in 2013.
Back in 2007, Adichie presented what is arguably her more famous TED delivery: “The Danger of a Single Story.” In it, Adichie decried the singular characterization or reporting of Africans in the western media as helpless, vulnerable people unable to speak for themselves, fighting senseless wars, starving and dying from poverty.
Adichie did not deny that Africa is a continent full of catastrophes, but she contended that there are other stories that are not about catastrophes and it is very important to talk about them, too. After all, controlling the narrative about a people is often the ultimate power to have over them.
In her words:
“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can empower and humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that dignity.”