Letter to Chimamanda

Dear Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

Aunty, I think I write on behalf of African women feminists everywhere when I say please, use your connections to have your husband be the first human being successfully cloned. This is an odd request I know but I have my reasons so let me explain.

You are a woman well on her way towards full self actualization. You speak your mind and you do so bravely, without much care to naysayers. You excel at your chosen career and do so with grace and power, neither overbearing nor full of that fake meekness that successful African women are expected to have. You take definite positions of controversial issues and your desire to preserve the dignity of all humans and not just some, comes through when you discuss your reasons for choosing the not so popular side.

You are a visionary. You see a better future for us Africans and you apply yourself to making this vision a reality, giving your time and resources. You are also honest about your shortcomings. Willing to lay them out so those of us who aspire to the path of empowerment have no illusions on the price we’ll have to pay.

You are formidable and intimidating and most African men will not survive the force of your personality.

And somehow, he does.

He is not bothered as far as we know by your prowess. He is content, it seems, to leave you to be the best you can be. The fact that you can be who you are and he still seems comfortable being married to you is a testament to the caliber of man he is and that caliber amongst our African brethren is rare indeed.

Some of us African women wish dearly to marry and build secure families with spouses who respect the road we’ve walked to become who we are. The paucity of that caliber of spouse leaves us frustrated.

The possibility of having him cloned gives us hope. We have dreams, that one day the fertile hills and grasslands, coasts and forests of the continent, will ring the happy sound of couples and families full of love and joy and mutual respect.

You are our brave sister, forging ahead on this path carrying the pennant of the kind of feminism that heals the wounds that patriarchy and tradition have left on our continent, so I hope you will see this request for what it is: a desperate cry for help.


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