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Chimamanda Adichie Warns: Don't Call Me Mrs!

Award winning author Chimamanda Adichie in a new interview blasted a journalist for addressing her as Mrs Chimamanda. The author and feminist insisted that her name is Miss Chimamanda Adichie and not Mrs Chimamanda Esega-her husband's surname. 

Mrs Chimamanda Adichie, welcome back to Nigeria…

Before we start, please, I just want to say that my name is Chimamanda Adichie. That’s how I want it; that’s how I’m addressed, and it is not Mrs but Miss.  Ms: that’s how I want it. I am saying this, because I just got a mail from my manager this morning. It seems that there are people who attended the church service, and they wrote about it, addressing me as Mrs. Chimamanda (Esega). I didn’t like that at all. So my name is Chimamanda Adichie, full stop!

You mean?

This is because it is also responsible that people be called what they want to be called.

In one of your interview published in the some newspapers, (including an interview in 
Sunday Sun with Akubuiro in 2007), you said you’re a feminist. Can you throw more light on that?

Oooh! Is that when I said that, because that quote has followed me everywhere in the world. That’s why I don’t like granting interviews, because whatever you say, in 20 years, you’ll still be quoted.
Oh I said I’m a feminist? You know, what I meant was that: you know when people hear feminism, many things come into their head. What I wanted him to understand is that feminism doesn’t mean that you want to be a man. I’m a feminist, I’m a female; a feminist meaning that I want to look like a woman, but I want the equal respect that a man has. I think that human being should be respected based on their achievements and not based on whether you’re a man or woman.
But, since I said that, everywhere I go, people are asking about that. I went to Australia, and they had read that; they knew about that. I was on stage in a hall full of people. They said they had a special present for me, and they brought in purse. I just started laughing. It was hilarious. But this is why you should be careful what you say. It was so funny. All the way in Australia!

You started by telling me that you’re not “Mrs.”…
(cuts in) My name is Chimamada Adichie. If you want to put label for me, put Ms.

But people know that you’re married. As an Igbo girl, you know our culture…

(Cuts in again) What does our culture do? Let me tell you about our culture. This thing that you are calling our culture –that when you marry somebody, you’ll start call-ing her Mrs. Somebody –is not our culture; it is Western culture.
If you want to talk about our culture, you need to go to people in real Igbo land. But it is true. My grandfather’s name is David. His name is also Nwoye. They call him Nwoye Omeni. Omeni was his mother. You know why? It is to help distinguish him, because there are often many wives. So, it was his mother that they used to identify him. They know that all of these people came from the same compound, but whose child is this one. You may go and ask people who is Nwoye Omeni, and they’ll tell you it is my grandfather. So, conversation about culture is a long one. I don’t even want to have it.

But, at what point would you change your name?

Yes; because it’s all fused. You cannot then come and impose something on somebody. Nobody should come and impose something on somebody, because, if you come and tell me it is our culture, I’ll tell you it is not our culture. Where do you want to start counting? Do you want to start counting in 1920, or do you want us to start counting from 1870?

But culture is dynamic…
Exactly my point, which is why this is new. If culture is dynamic, you cannot use it as conservative tool. We can not then say it has to be this because it is our culture.  My point is that it is a new thing. Things are changing. We live in a world now where women have a right to bear the name they want.
So, we cannot say this is how we do it. If some women want to do it that way, that’s fine! God bless them. Some women won’t do it. I am one of those women, and nobody will come to use culture to tell me that I should do what I don’t want to do.


I have great respect for Chimamanda Adichie, yet, I can't say her views and mine align. 


  1. I love Chimamanda and I am a feminist but you see this one, na lie. I always say my fadas name will be a compound name for me but I will bear my husbands name too. She's just being too..........dunno if difficult is the word.

    1. Whoever started dis surname bullshit its too selfish. For me i prefer we ve just one name.

  2. hmmm if i became popular before marriage, then i won't change it..its a brand name now. so that is what Il like to be addressed. Either way, I could care less. but if popularity happened post marriage then it's gonna be my hubby's name. I don't see the issue with this self. IT's just a name, besides it's a brand name now so calling her by her hubby's name may be confusing. just like the kardashians or beyonce knowles.. i dont think so many people address her by beyonce carter.

  3. Chimamanda is a crazy woman and dats y she stands out, thr is a thin line btwn madness and intelligence, very thin line!!

  4. At first, I felt she was trying to assert her independence...but going further, her assertion started to border on hysteria, Like "call me Miss Chimamanda or I pop a blood vessel", whats that? Chi baby, kindly take several seats please....cant deal *rme*

    1. LMAO. Tiwa please don't let me choke on my breakfast.

    2. hehehehe, Thel hapu'm biko....This issue has been the highlight of office gossip today, Chai!!!

    3. Biko o! Tiwa please don't kill me o! Some of us are very visual n our imaginations run riot on us sometimes ( i just saw that popped vessel and it wasn't pretty! Can't explain why i started snorting in the middle of a lecture tho)Ziggy.

    4. seriously Tiwa i also imagned the pooped vessel, Chi is being too much of a feminist and a little rude. we all know u dont want to be addressed as MRS. just say i got popular before marriag. like simply bellz said. Ms Chi we hear u BIKO..

  5. I tot I was the only one who had this same I wld always say,A real man/woman chooses his/her name and it's only respectful to respect their wish.
    So Mrs isn't even Where are all our traditional fundamentalists? I wld always say,there's a thin line btwn culture and personal choice and as an adult,one shld know what and when to apply either

  6. I don't think her reason for not wanting to change her name is because of fame. I think it has more to with Chimamanda wanting to be Chimamanda, her own brand of unique. Ironically that is a tiny part of why she's famous. She's a special person but I think she was a bit harsh/impolite/pissed in this interview. She achieved what she set out to though, she made her point.
    I've noticed one thing, igbos that didn't grow up in Naija know a lot more about our history than those that did. I wonder why?

    1. I think its cause most Igbos in diaspora especially in the US need to find a sense of identity to somewhere and create a distinction between being African-American and being an African period. Because in 9ja every1 is like you i.e Nigerian,we don't often have the need to analyze the whys, wheres and whats or the political correctness or lack-of of being black the way they have to. Where they stand out, esp when u don't "recognize the struggle the black man" went thru in American history cos its not yours and u can't relate. So they dig into their own histories so they can have what and where to point to and be able to say "Hey! This is how it is where I'm from". And btw MS. Adiche grew up in 9ja. Ziggy.

  7. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nsukka, present day Enugu state. It has nothing to with growing up abroad cos she didnt. She is just being herself-making a strong point of being different. It's okay!. Miss/Ms/ Not Mrs, No need skinning the poor journalist. A little politeness would not have hurt. You've achieved too much to marr it with this "harsh" interview.


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