Friday, March 25, 2016

Meeting Chimamanda Adichie...

I was having trouble sleeping, so I thought I would write about meeting Chimamanda, world famous author and feminist, at Yellow Chilli two days ago.

We had just sauntered into Yellow Chilli for an easy evening and were heading for our table when Ehis spotted her. We could not quickly decide whether to engage her, particularly because it meant interrupting her conversation with her companion, but she seemed to notice our conundrum and waved us over.
A woman once got nasty when she asked to take a picture with me and I said no, because I was exhausted and I looked terrible. Another person once said to me – “you must always smile no matter what.” I thought: “how absurd. Do YOU always smile?” I’m actually quite the smiler but I certainly will not smile if I am upset about something. Everyone has good days and bad days and I treasure my human right to have good days and bad days.
I think the idea of celebrity is that you are supposed always to be ‘on,’ always in performance mode. And I certainly can’t and won’t do that. - Interview with
After reading that last year, I was certainly relieved that she waved us over and seemed to be having a good day.

I was in full star-struck mode. I struggled to decide whether to introduce myself as “Koye” or “Mogbekeloluwa” when she asked for our names, eventually introducing myself as “Koyejo” for the first time ever. My father would be proud; my acquisition of his first name is now complete! She wanted to know if we had read her books, and we had read all four between us; all five if you count the print version of We Should All Be Feminists.

I blurted out that I mostly identified as feminist when she asked, a question occasioned by my previous admission that I had seen We Should All Be Feminists three or four times. I usually answer a straight “yes” to this question as I deeply believe in equal rights for people regardless of gender and other differences, but in front of the woman who first got me thinking about the subject - I was not sure my ‘feminism’ was enough to qualify for a “yes”.

She accepted to take pictures with us, making funny faces and smiling graciously as we took turns for selfies. I happened to be wearing the same shirt I wore the day I took selfies with Tiwa Savage seven weeks ago - but I can’t resist sharing the picture!

All in, it went much better than I imagined when I first thought in 2004 or 2005 about ‘meeting’ Chimamanda someday, and I look forward to meeting again on different terms and maybe having a longer conversation about gender equality and other topics.

Now, I will try to count sheep again.


  1. Truth is that we can never have a world of equality (in every sense of what it means). :)

    1. :)

      By equality, I mean equal rights and equal opportunity. Maybe a woman is not well suited to the agbero life in Lagos, but when the one in a million comes along who wants to be an agbero, she should have the opportunity to choose her own path.

      That is how I interpret gender equality. More in terms of equal rights and opportunities for both sexes. A woman who is worthy of a job should not be paid less than a man in a similar role simply because she is a woman. etc, etc.

      Maybe I'll write a full post about my perspective one day.

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  3. Beautiful! This is one of those high-energy meetings you'll always cherish. Now, I'm confused whether you're Mogbekeloluwa or Koye or Koyejo.. Until you conclude on what works, I'll ask Google.. Had a great time reading this, as usual with your posts.

    1. Loooooool at the confusion :)
      Me sef I'm confused.
      Thanks man!

  4. Hi, just read some of your posts for the first time having tried to look for you on the web for some other official matter. I must confess that I like the way you write. I have a habit of not finishing a lot of blogposts especially because of the flow. I have read through a few that i clicked and really don't regret it at all. Nice work.

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