Nigerian award winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has taken a more participatory role on social media. Adichie is currently personally managing her Facebook account, which was previously normally managed by her publishers. The Nigerian writer who is arguably the most read African writer after iconic novelist Chinua Achebe, has always been careful of protecting her privacy. From the news of her wedding, pregnancy and delivery, Chimamanda’s life has been one that’s been carefully wrapped away from the public. The Guardian published her essay on depression without her approval or permission, and the writer was not happy. But this snippet information of her life led many others to be courageous about talking of depression.
The picture of Chimamanda as larger than life, as portrayed by the media, and her speeches on feminism has created a cult following. Her Facebook page is a testimony to her ever increasing popularity, currently standing at 834,672 likes. If this isn’t evidence enough of how much influence she yields among her fans, the recent PEN America talk she had with Trevor Noah sold out. For those that couldn’t get tickets, they had to resort to live-streaming. The event, sponsored by Random Penguin House was a full house and cheers erupted when Adichie was introduced.
While her personal engagements on social media have recently increased, Chimamanda still doesn’t participate so much on social media as compared to her counterparts such as Teju Cole, whose Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts are all quite active. Cole uses social media platforms to engage with his audience. Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions first came off as a post on Facebook before it became a book. But she’s still not on platforms such as Twitter, and she only recently joined Instagram. When Trevor Noah tagged her in a picture, her followers increased to 46,100 followers.
Chimamanda is one of the few writers to have penetrated the fashion world. She has been featured in GQ, and also have her quote, “We should all be feminists” printed by Dior.
Adichie has been showing so much love and support for Nigerian fashion designers through her Instagram account. In a Facebook post she said, “In the past few weeks, I’ve bought more Nigerian brands than I ever have in the past. I’ve discovered new names. I’ve been filled with admiration for the women and men running their businesses despite the many challenges they face. I’m particularly interested in ‘inward-looking’ brands, those for whom dressing Nigerian women is as important as other goals.”
The Nigerian writer’s Instagram page is managed by her nieces Chisom and Amaka. Adichie stated on her Facebook page, “At the suggestion of my very au fait nieces Chisom and Amaka – who think Aunty is a hilarious luddite dinosaur (and they have a point, sadly) – I am now on Instagram at chimamanda_adichie documenting my ‘Wear Nigerian’ project.”