Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria) has, in the past twenty years, involved herself not only in writing, editing, public speaking, and an increasing online presence, but has also attuned many readers and listeners to the urgency of resisting the colonial stereotypes that cling to representations of African lives. She has written and spoken out strongly against the negative stereotyping of Africans in public media and in popular conception.
Adichie’s first published works were fictional and set in Nigeria Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a Yellow Sun (2006). More recently The Thing Around Your Neck (2009, short fiction) and Americanah (2013) are either set in America or are transnational in their characters, settings and themes. Each of these novels portrays the complexity of gender identity, individuality, politics, and culture, with what the Macarthur Foundation identified as genius in the awarding of a 2008 grant. More recently, she has given talks and published ‘position’ texts that situate her own beliefs firmly in the public domain: We should all be Feminists (2014) and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (2017). The contemporary resonance and popularity of her ideas were demonstrated in 2013 when singer Beyoncé ‘sampled’ A Feminist Manifesto at the opening of her single “Flawless.” Chimamanda Adichie’s appeal to a large readership and audience puts her in the forefront of contemporary writers in Africa and worldwide. The growing importance of Adichie’s work in academic teaching and research is evident in the generous number of articles on her writings that are published internationally each year. She has hugely impacted African feminist scholarship and African literary studies.
It is in honour of her enormous literary impact, that the UJ Honorary Doctorate in Literature is conferred, recognising her contribution to the advancement of the Humanities and the alignment of her work to the values of the University of Johannesburg. The honorary doctorate will be conferred on Friday, 14 October 2022. Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie will accept the honorary doctorate virtually.
Issued by: Faculty of Humanities