Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s reason for long refusing American citizenship is both hilarious and so real.
The author, speaking to The Africa Report about colonialism, feminism and pop culture, shared exactly why she’s been taking her time:
For a long time I didn’t want to become a US citizen because I believed that part of the experience of being Nigerian is experiencing the humiliations of travelling on a Nigerian passport.
However, Chimamanda has had a change of heart. And why? It goes back to when her dad was kidnapped. She shared that it was the American embassy, not the Nigerian government, that helped her family.
I changed my mind about US citizenship after my father was kidnapped in 2015 and it was the American embassy in Lagos and not the Nigerian government who helped my family, and even sent a therapist to my father after he was released. I now plan to become an American citizen at some point, but I guess I’m still delaying it.
The writer also shared her thoughts on (not) being a Nigerian ambassador. She’s proud to be Nigerian (and Igbo, and African), she said, but she’s only an ambassador for herself.
I am an ambassador for myself. I don’t represent Nigeria; there are things about Nigeria I don’t like, but at the same time I am very very proud of my Nigerian identity. I was born and raised in Nigeria, which I didn’t leave until I was 19. I’m proud to be Nigerian, I’m proud to be African, I’m proud to be Igbo. I would not be who I am today if I wasn’t all of those things. So, it’s very important to me.
Read more about Chimamanda, including how she’s a proud “village girl,” on The Africa Report.