“THE MARKET WOMAN IN NSUKKA”

Ako Oku
Posted June 1, 2018 from Nigeria

Chimmamanda Ngozi Adichie is a world-recognized novelist who hails from Eastern Nigeria. She grew up in a town called Nsukka, where the famous University of Nigeria is located, but later migrated to the United States of America for her university education and has since lived there. She first came to limelight after the release of her first novel "Purple Hibiscus" in 2003 which gained several likes and has since risen into stardom with many more publications and performances.

Chimamanda is one lady I admire. I read her novels and follow up her interviews as well as social media. Her ‘The Dangers of A Single Story’ and ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ are also among my favourite TED Talks. The renowned and award-wining writer who holds her African heritage dearly also admits she is a feminist. Chimamanda is one courageous woman with an ingenious mind. But surprisingly is one place- among others- where she draws her inspiration from- “The market woman in Nsukka”! A discovery which amazed me, however, I have grown to share her thoughts. 

“Recently a feminist organization kindly nominated me for an important prize in a country that will remain unnamed. I was very pleased. I’ve been fortunate to have received a few prizes so far and I quite like them especially when they come with shiny presents. To get this prize, I was required to talk about how important a particular European feminist woman writer had been to me. Now the truth was that I had never managed to finish this feminist writer’s book. It did not speak to me. It would have been a lie to claim that she had any major influence on my thinking. The truth is that I learned so much more about feminism from watching the women traders in the market in Nsukka where I grew up, than from reading any seminal feminist text. I could have said that this woman was important to me, and I could have talked the talk, and I could have been given the prize and a shiny present…” 

Whenever Chimamanda describes this market woman, she is not the illiterate, hopeless woman who stays in the sun, wallowing and gossiping, praying for a passing potential buyer to look in her direction; rather, Chimamanda portrays her as a strong character, one whose presumed actions guides her decisions.

“…Does the market woman in Nsukka have depression? When I cannot get out of bed in the morning, would she be able to, since she earns her living day by day?…”

The market woman at Nsukka is a woman who in spite of her poor privileges strives to put food on the table of her family. She wakes up early and sets out in time to display her goods, and from the proceeds of her little sales, retains her children in school and saves for the future. This woman is a hustler. Growing up in Nsukka, Chimamanda recalls how the market woman sails through everyday hardships to keep her home.

“The real heroes are nameless women in the market who are holding their families together. They are traders and their husbands are out drinking somewhere… it is those women I admire. I am full of admiration for them”

It’s amazing how we always look up to get insights and inspiration- nothing bad about having super stars and heroes and role models, but sometimes the people we look up to look down to get motivated. Have you ever taken time to study the ants? You would definitely develop the mindset of “No impossibility!” and yes, taking time to observe “inconsequential” people who in their state, struggle to get going can teach us great lessons in life.

When next you look for reasons to be diligent and hopeful, remember the market woman in Nsukka.

 

Sources of reported speeches:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Please Make Feminism a Big, Raucous, Inclusive Party

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICIE, a pride to Africa, a treasure to the world

Comments 10

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Jill Langhus
Jun 01, 2018
Jun 01, 2018

Hi Ako. Welcome to World Pulse:-) Thanks for sharing your thoughtful and inspiring story about Chimamanda, and for signing up to be an Encourager. Is she your main role model? I look forward to hearing about you, what your mission and work is, as well as seeing encouraging feedback from you in the forum:-) Thanks again and have a great day!

Ako Oku
Jun 01, 2018
Jun 01, 2018

Thank you Jlanghus! I'm happy to be a World Pulse Encourager. I encourage women in my community but I realized that as a global citizen, I need to reach out to other women around the world and that's why am here.

Yes, Chimamanda is one of my role models. I have learnt a lot of things from her and I continue to. She is unique and full of passion.

Concerning myself, I will be sharing some articles about I and my work soon. I believe we still have ample time. You all will get to know me soon. (Smiles)

Thanks for your friendliness and thanks for welcoming me.

Jill Langhus
Jun 02, 2018
Jun 02, 2018

You're very welcome:) Great to have you and your expertise here on the forum:-)

Looking forward to it...

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 01, 2018
Jun 01, 2018

Hello, Ako,

I saw Chimmamanda's We Should All Be Feminist TED Talks. And oh boy, she is a delightful speaker with sense of humor. I fell in love with her that day. It's nice to know you look up to her.

And it is also nice to know that a woman of her status looks up to a market woman in Nsukka. She drives a point as you articulated yours as well.

I love your diligence in quoting Chimmamanda's words in your article. Hey, you can also achieve what she has achieved. Just believe and do the hardwork.

Welcome to World Pulse!

Ako Oku
Jun 01, 2018
Jun 01, 2018

Thank you for your kind words Karen!

I know I can also achieve as much as Chimamanda has. Life they say is in stages and men are in sizes. I'm diligently working towards my colourful future. It may interest you to know that there are people who look up to me as well; and as we see from Chimamanda, what makes people good role models is their ability to handle situations, pull through challenges and use their limited resources to do great deeds. Lessons from 'The market Woman in Nsukka' are what I will not forget in a long while.

Thanks again Karen! I look forward to more encouragements from you.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 01, 2018
Jun 01, 2018

Oh, great! You are heading the right direction then. Keep it up. One day, I'll not be surprised to watch you in TED Talk, too.

As for now, I'll be cheering for you.

Ngala Nadege
Feb 06
Feb 06

Waow , one of my favourite novelist. I love her and her works. Thank you

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Hi Ako Oku,
Thank you for lovely article about Chimamanda. The name does ring a bell, I must have read about her somewhere sometime. Anyway thanks for sharing some of her publications. You are most welcome to World pulse and I am looking forward to reading more of your stories and interacting with you more.
Have a lovely day

Feka
Mar 13
Mar 13

Thanks for sharing about your role model.

Nana Amponsah
Apr 28
Apr 28

Thanks for sharing Ako. I love Chimamanda.