Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a celebrated Nigerian novelist has joined voices to denounce government “carnage” against Anglophone minorities in Cameroon, describing the current crisis in the South west and North west regions as a “story about an African nation’s fatal disregard of its minority population…and the muddled sludge of colonial history”.
Chimamanda is a Nigerian novelist and an activist famous for her ground-breaking works such as Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), Americanah (2013), and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists (2014).
In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant. She was described in The Times Literary Supplement as “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [who] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”. Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017.
Writing for the US based, New York Times, Chimamanda narrates the story of an Anglophone Cameroonian, Theo, who grew in Cameroon, a country where French language was imposed on Theo, and millions other Anglophones, from the confines of class room through bureaucratic structures that denied Theo’s father his pension—his finally father died without receiving his pension.
She argues that Theo like many other Anglophones, live in a state where the right of every citizen is constitutionally guaranteed, but in practice, Anglophones are treated like “second-class” citizens. “For Theo…to be born an Anglophone was to grow up acutely aware of your marginal identity. It was to joke about minor government ministries being “Anglophone ministries”.
Chimamanda is an avowed feminist who has used her novels, stories, opinion writing to reveal asymmetries of power between men and women, arguing western as well as non-western societies are structured to subjugate women while providing men with accolades and privileges. In this light, to Chimamanda what is happening in Cameroon is another form of subjugation, although this time not along gender lines but on institutions, “reality” and “stories” created by colonialism, and re-appropriated by corrupt and inefficient government systems.
Read her article here.