April 27,2013, Chimamanda was interviewed on Channels TV's Sunrise. I didn't get to watch the interview live, but I was able to watch it later on the internet. It was quite entertaining.
In one clip of the interview that I watched titled, "I have fallen in love with my hair" (there's another one titled "Buy books instead of recharge cards"), something that Chimamanda said stuck in my head.
When asked what it felt like to win the Orange Prize, she said, "...........I don't wake up in the morning and remember that I won the Orange prize; I wake up in the morning and I...I want to write a good sentence"
You can watch the interview below;
Now that statement touched me in a way I can't explain and to avoid sounding overly sentimental, I won't even attempt to. :)
But, really I think there's something we all can pick from that statement. Something that tells us a lot about Chimamanda herself (which if it wasn't obvious before, is now) and also something that we can apply to our own lives.
She has a strong passion for writing which is so evident when she talks about it. I must say that her passion must have been quite instrumental to her present success.
Passion is everything. When you are passionate about something you love to do, you don't care if you get acknowledged or not for it or even get paid for it. You just do it. And yes, you will find that with consistence and hard work you'll get to a point where you will get acknowledged and paid for that thing you are quite passionate about. Seems like a pretty easy arrangement...or not?
But really, it takes a lot of hard work and persistence to follow through with one's passion and for it to yield anything fruitful in the end.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how often I've put away getting to do some things I am quite passionate about, especially writing and I realise I'm not really helping myself, frankly.
I feel challenged to go all out and act towards achieving my dreams. One day at a time and I'll get there God-willing.
Chimamanda is such an inspiration and I always love to listen to her speak. The most recent of her videos I watched and which I think most people have, is her TEDx talk titled 'We should all be feminists'
I've watched the video over and over and I'm still awed by how well she was able to address the topic and talk about things I've often thought about somewhere at the back of my mind, pretty much most of my life, but have never really voiced out, maybe because I didn't know how to.
She addresses the issue of gender and how it affects how we expect people to behave.
When I was in the university, I never quite understood girls that expected their boyfriends, who were in the same level and within the same age group, to 'cater' for them. I would often hear things like ' Fola had better buy me Brazilian hair,' or oh ' Tunde did buy me Peruvian hair and is planning on buying a Blackberry for me, just because'. I'm usually an observer/eavesdropper in discussions such as these among girls and I silently feel some kind of fury at statements like this and sometimes I feel like holding the girls at their neck and forcing my opinion down their throat. Now, that's just my imagination at work. That would be too vile a thing to do and of course, I don't do it. I just keep silent and think.
These are girls that have brains, hands and legs etc. These are girls who are attending (or were attending) the university in the hope of making something of their life and earning their own money and taking care of themselves and still they expect someone to take care of them just because he's the man. To start with, the so called boyfriends are just as equally human beings with brains, hands and legs etc, Human beings that are most likely still collecting pocket money from mummy and daddy and are expected to impress and take care of their girlfriends just because they are the man.
I don't get.
You go on date with a guy and he's expected to pay just because he's male. .....Different things I think about, but I wouldn't want to bother going on about before I sound like a disgruntled weirdo.
Recently, at my family house, we had guests over. My parents offered the guests different choices of refreshment and summoned we the children to get what the guests had requested from the fridge in the kitchen. Myself, the only girl in my family, and one of my brothers and a cousin of mine happened to somehow all find our way to the kitchen at the same time. My cousin proceeds to get glass cups and then washes them before setting them on tray beside the water our guests had requested. In my mind, I'm glad he has taken it upon himself to do this. While I'm still standing there watching, he says to me, "why don't you carry the tray to the parlour and give our guests"
I'm curious, but I know what this is about.
"But you've already started to wash and prepare the glass cups and water, you might as well take them to the parlour yourself", I say.
"No, you have to be the one to take it there. Its only proper. It's tradition. You are the lady here"
Now, I respect my cousin and while we've had our fond times and I also appreciate the differences between us, at this point, I am infuriated by this statement of his and quite pointedly ask him if he doesn't have hands and eyes and then I leave the kitchen. In anger. I then go back, almost immediately, to the kitchen and carry the tray to the parlour, so it doesn't look like I'm disrespecting my cousin who is by the way 5 years older than me.
Looking back though, I didn't have to be that angry, as my best friend would later tell me when we discussed about the incident. My anger only showed an acceptance of what my cousin said in a way, he thinks, and didn't quite bring to my cousin's attention what the real issue was. A better approach would have been to stay calm and quite gently relay my point of view clearly.
We are having a discussion after that incident, my cousin and I, and he looks at me and says, " I noticed something about you. You believe in equality among men and women". I smile and my mind goes back to Chimamanda's talk.
I think however what he wanted to say was "Ay, you are a feminist. He didnt just know the word to use".
I'm Ay, and I'm a feminist.. :)