Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie advocates for more African stories to preserve the continent’s rich heritage, history, and development, citing their positive impact on psychology, education, and politics at the CANEX Book Factory launch, on Thursday.
She said: “We need more stories on this continent because we need to reclaim our histories. We need stories because stories are very much part of development.
“Our continent has so often been sidelined and maligned, and while there has been some change, there is still altogether too much patronising and too much pity directed at this continent.
“And it must be said that there are also a few Africans who by their actions, enable the state of affairs.
“If we reclaim our histories, it will give us the confidence that comes from knowing who we are, we need more stories so that we can turn our myths into memory.”
According to her, today, African children are currently attending elite boarding schools worldwide, where they learn about Greek mythology.
“But what is the difference between Persephone, the Greek goddess of planting seeds, and Ala, the Igbo Goddess of land?” she asked.
“It is only that one story has been told well, and the other story has not,” she said.
Adichie emphasized that telling more African stories would boost confidence and dignity in the continent’s heritage, thereby influencing politics and perception.
“There is a clear psychological component to development, a nation without a strong sense of itself, a strong psychological sense of itself, cannot thrive.Stories can take away dignity and stories can also restore dignity.Stories shape politics and perception.
“I cannot tell you how many times I have been told by people in different parts of the world, that after reading my novels, they started to see Nigeria differently,” she said.
Adichie suggested that children should be exposed to storybooks to enhance their cognitive abilities and communication skills.
She believesAfrican literature is crucial for children’s creative thinking and communication skills. Consistent reading of storybooks improves vocabulary, communication, and thinking abilities. It is important to share stories that Africans have been living in for generations, such as the discovery of Victoria Falls and River Niger. Africans should not be influenced by others’ aspirations, as stories can give them confidence and help them own their own aspirations.
She suggested that Africans should adopt a proactive approach to storytelling, rather than defensiveness, to reclaim Africa’s unique and rich histories.
Adichie noted that a nation is not just geography, but also psychology, emphasizing the importance of stories in understanding oneself.