Renowned Nigerian writer, Buchi Emecheta born in 1944 in Lagos moved to Britain in 1960 and began writing. She separated from her husband after a difficult marriage and struggled to support her children but continued writing. Premised on her experiences as an immigrant, single parent and black woman, Emecheta’s work focused on race and sexual politics.
Emecheta wrote extensively on gender issues in African society, race and sexual politics in the diaspora. She published a number of novels, plays, children’s stories, articles, and an autobiography. Her published works include: In the Ditch, Second-Class Citizen, The Bride Price, The Joys of Motherhood, and Gwendolyn (novels).
Emecheta indeed left an indelible mark and a great legacy, which continues to inspire many writers.
Here are ten of her most memorable quotes, and excerpts from her books.
1. “The first book I wrote was The Bride Price which was a romantic book, but my husband burnt the book when he saw it. I was the typical African woman, I’d done this privately, I wanted him to look at it, approve it and he said he wouldn’t read it”.
2. “Black women all over the world should re-unite and re-examine the way history has portrayed us”.
3. “She, who only a few months previously would have accepted nothing but the best, had by now been conditioned to expect inferior things. She was now learning to suspect anything beautiful and pure. Those things were for the whites, not the blacks.” Second Class Citizen.
4. “I work toward the liberation of women, but I’m not feminist. I’m just a woman”.
5. “In all my novels, I deal with the many problems and prejudices which exist for Black people in Britain today”.
6. “In Ibuza sons help their father more than they help their mother. A mother’s joy is only in the name. She worries over them, looks after them when they are small; but in the actual help on the farm, the upholding of the family name, all belong to the father.” The Joys of Motherhood
7. Being a woman writer, I would be deceiving myself if I said I write completely through the eye of a man. There’s nothing bad in it, but that does not make me a feminist writer. I hate that name. The tag is from the Western world – like we are called the Third World.
8. “Adah could not stop thinking about her discovery that the whites were just as fallible as everyone else. There were bad whites and good whites, just as there were bad blacks and good blacks! Why then did they claim to be superior?” Second Class Citizen.
9. “A man is never ugly”. The joys of motherhood
10. “As soon as I finish a book, I sell the paperback rights to different publishers and that’s where I recoup my money”.