Growing up in Nigeria, author Chimamanda Adichie only read stories about blue-eyed British children, playing in the snow and eating apples. She loved these stories, but she could not connect to these stories. Growing up in an English-speaking former colony, Adichie nevertheless embraces Nigerian history and tradition to write critically acclaimed diasporan literature. Watch her discuss her own youth and the perceptions about Africa she had to overcome.


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  • Nishani Ford

    I loved the power of being able to change and restore the broken dignity of a person.

  • Rose

    I've always fought against the idea of labeling people and putting them in a box. People are more complex, more richly hued, more interesting than a label. The idea that Adichie poses about The Danger of the Single Story resonates strongly with me. Let's remove the labels and open our hearts and minds to engage in more interest in one another and better understanding.


    Stories shape our perceptions. Chimamanda has a valid point. The rainbow has seven colours. Why should we paint the rainbow with only one colour or two or three colours?Let us enjoy thye beauty of all the colours. In listening to the story or telling it again and again, I become aware of how authentic I am in expressing myself. I also become aware how healthy or unhealthy I am as a human person, family, tribe, culture, society.Storis can purify us.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Beautiful. So important! To view a Single story of Africa; of catastrophe, no possibility of feelings more complex than pity or being Equals, is to miss out on so much. Indeed. This is why, when I did my volunteer literacy project in Belize, I searched and searched for stories in which the children could see themselves. And started to learn Belizean legends to share with the students and teachers. To give back the culture that had been taken. Their stories are so powerful. the single story creates stereotypes, they are incomplete. Equal humanity, is what I strive for in the Storytelling I share. Stories can repair the broken dignity!! TRUTH! Thank you for this powerful TED. May we all learn to see the many facets of a culture and country, that create a beautiful powerful tapestry. HUG!

  • Tamilyn

    i have no idea where to begin with how many ways this inpsires .. as i type thru tear laden eyes ..tears you are blessed to recieve when a life truth is so beatuifully acknowledged. i myself too have been guitly of "single storyism". i just did it the other day i was at the laundry mat i had went to do my sons laundry and a bunch of blankets as althou i am blessed enough to have a washing machine it is old and i was afraid all the extra work might be the end of it ..Anyways it was a pretty uneventful visit ..made polite conversation with another lady and left while the clothes dried ..upon my return a group of kids ages i'd say between 13-16 came bustling thru the door being late fall it is cold here in the evenings.. so my intial thought was they had come into warm up some before continuing on their way .. well i was there for another 15 mins and they showed no intention of leaving and was ready to head home however the other lady was still waiting for the dryer .. one kid took out a pack of cigarettes and they all went outside and around the corner .. Here's were i was guilty .. i asked the woman if she would like me to stay till her clothes were dry ? as although im sure it would be fine but you never know nowadays with kids ... she looked at me and smiled a beautiful smile and said i come here all the time at night its fine ... Misjudgement #2 on my behalf ... First i had let my perception of those youths be fearbased/negative based one what i hear see and read through media .. even full well knowing that they are "Single Stories" in that moment my fear induced by my impressions formed thru the info i have gleaned over my fear/ignorance appeared ..almost a second nature if you wish ...but obviously ,reflecting ..maybe they were all there for different reason ..they all have individual stories ..maybe homelife isnt so great maybe they were just cold ? Second... was my assumption that woman was in fear with me and i had to offer assistance perpetuating a feeling that had not even occured yet based on my fearful/mislead preconception.. and when she smiled her serene smile as a left ... i was brought sharply back to focus and said ... of course it will be im being silly, have a great night ... i walked to me car and those kids looked at me ...i smiled .. and guess what they all smiled back ..the one lil lady even waved ... I thank you Chimamanda for so eloquently addressing and identifying this with your amazing words ... thank you beautiful lady :)

  • lalitha

    I a south Indian was recently in Uganda for three months . So what Chimamanda Adichie says makes a lot of sense and I wish to write that i went with an open mind to see Ugandans...and also saw multiple stories of that land...for I lived in Arua where the Lugbaras had their own stories to tell.Sad that even now people talk of Africa and not of countries in it, at least. Thank you for posting this on Karma tube.

  • Mary

    It was inspiring to listen to her develop the 'Danger of the Single Story' to such depth that I realized how in my own life, and just for being a woman, black(but not quite black), born with an unknown father, being the only female in our Company's Executive management, divorced at 30 and never re-married, pieces of my life, or aspects of my life have been the object of many single stories. And how, I have created stereotypes about people, simply because all I had to go with was, the Single Story.

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  • Read more about Adichie and her books here. Also read the various stories of Baifra here.
  • Adichie warns against following the "simple story," of a people. Read literature by various authors of a region to get a better picture of the life there.
  • Close your eyes and spend some time thinking about some of the sterotypical concusions you may have made about someone you know and then set out to learn more about them.

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