"Africa in the European imagination is a problem to be solved" / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks



What are the stories that Europe tells itself about its colonial history? asks Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie's Purple Hibiscus (2003) won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book in 2005. Her most recent book, The Thing Around Your Neck (2009) is a collection of short stories detailing the lives and livelihoods of Nigerian immigrants to the United States. In the video below, she turns her focus to Europe, despite the misleading claim in her introduction that she knows nothing about the continent. What follows this confession is a critique of dominant European narratives about Africa, grounded in Adichie's take on the infamous speech delivered by French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, at Senegal's University of Dakar on July 26, 2007. According to Adichie, the European story about Africa "is a story that basically says, 'yes, colonialism happened, but...' and whatever comes after the 'but' is the focus of the story. The 'but' is crucial. The second part of the story is much more emphasized than the first." Adichie touches on European perceptions on "the link between the affluence of Europe and the poverty of Africa," in her fascinating contribution to the series "Narratives for Europe: Stories that Matter," organized by Spui25, a cultural resource center in Amsterdam.



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