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Read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Feminist Manifesto on How to Raise a Child

In a 9,000-word letter to a friend, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie lays out 15 suggestions for how to raise your child a feminist.

Do yourself a favor and go check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Facebook page right now. The prolific Nigerian novelist and writer has a new piece for the world. The entry, a whopping 9,221 words, is a letter to a friend, Ijeawele, who has just given birth to a daughter, Chizalum Adaora. She's asked the feminist icon and recent mother for advice on how to raise her daughter a feminist.


“Please know that I take your charge – how to raise her feminist – very seriously. And I understand what you mean by not always knowing what the feminist response to situations should be,” Adichie begins me stating. “For me, feminism is always contextual. I don’t have a set-in-stone rule; the closest I have to a formula are my two ‘Feminist Tools’ and I want to share them with you as a starting point.”

The first of Adichie’s ‘Feminist Tools’ is one’s premise.

“The solid unbending belief that you start off with. What is your premise? Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only.’ Not ‘as long as.’ I matter equally. Full stop.”

The second is a question: “can you reverse X and get the same results?”

“For example: many people believe that a woman’s feminist response to a husband’s infidelity should be to leave. But I think staying can also be a feminist choice, depending on the context. If Chudi sleeps with another woman and you forgive him, would the same be true if you slept with another man? If the answer is yes then your choosing to forgive him can be a feminist choice because it is not shaped by a gender inequality. Sadly, the reality in most marriages is that the answer to that question would often be no, and the reason would be gender-based – that absurd idea of ‘men will be men.’”

Adichie proceeds to lay out her fifteen suggestions for how her friend should raise her child. They are as follows:

  1. Be a full person
  2. Do it together
  3. Teach her that ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense
  4. Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite
  5. Teach Chizalum to read
  6. Teach her to question language
  7. Never speak of marriage as an achievement
  8. Teach her to reject likeability
  9. Give Chizalum a sense of identity
  10. Be deliberate about how you engage with her and her appearance
  11. Teach her to question our culture’s selective use of biology as ‘reasons’ for social norms
  12. Talk to her about sex and start early
  13. Romance will happen so be on board
  14. In teaching her about oppression, be careful not to turn the oppressed into saints
  15. Teach her about difference

Of course, we’re only just scratching the surface here. The piece is much more in depth and nuanced and very much worth a close read in its entirety. These aren’t just lessons for a mother raising a child. These rules are a good reminder for all of us.

Read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new piece: “DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS”

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Image via Wikimedia

Google Honors Nigerian Feminist Icon, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, With Doodle

Today would have been the Nigerian trailblazer's 119th birthday.

Pay your Google Doodle extra attention today. It is honoring Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, an activist, teacher and politician, on her birthday. She would have been 119 today. Ransome-Kuti became a prominent Nigerian icon as she fought for women's rights, including women's right to vote, and was constantly breaking barriers—including being the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car and ride a motorcycle. Her work earned her two beloved monikers: "The Lioness of Lisabi" and "The Mother of Africa." If that wasn't enough, she's also Fela Kuti's mom.

The doodle, illustrated by Nigerian-Italian artist Diana Ejaita, blends Ransome-Kuti's accomplishments into Google's logo and show her actions reflected in women who bear her likeness. The artist is known for using stark blacks and soft colors to show the "strength of femininity," perfect in a portrait of Ransome-Kuti. If you can't view the doodle automatically, that is because it will only show up for searches in Nigeria. But, don't worry, check it out via Google Doodle's twitter post below.

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Ugandan prominent human rights activist and feminist Stella Nyanzi (C) reacts to police officers during a protest against the amount and handling of police investigations into murders and kidnappings of women in Kampala on June 5, 2018. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Found Guilty of Cyber Harassment Against President Museveni

The activist has been sentenced to 18 months in prison over a poem she wrote about the president last year, referencing vaginas.

Stella Nyanzi, the outspoken Ugandan activist and former research fellow at Makerere University's Institute for Social Research, was found guilty of cyber harassment against President Yoweri Museveni on Friday, after sharing a controversial birthday poem for the president last September.

Nyanzi was arrested in November of last year after sharing the poem on her Facebook page, part of which read: "I wish the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

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Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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