It is no news that the relationship between Chimamanda and Akaeze hit the south pole some years ago. Most people don’t seem to understand the reason for the sour taste of the “once-so-beautiful” mentor-to-mentee relationship.
Chimamanda is well known for writing “Half of a Yellow Sun” and “Purple Hibiscus” while Akweaze is popularly known for writing “Freshwater” published 2018.
Apparently Akwaeke Emezi attended Chimamanda Adiche’s workshop some four years ago, being a young promising writer and feminist Chimamanda went all out to create a space for Akwaeke in her personal life. On a normal day, Chimamanda rarely lets people into her personal life and space, this is probably due to earlier experiences she faced from people she called “friends”. Chimamanda however made Akwaeke’s case an exception, she helped her grow and they both positively influenced each other before things went south.
Akwaeke being a trans woman does everything in her power to defend her kind. She refuses to be addressed by “her or him”, she prefers to be called “They or them”. She removed her breast at some point to further stand with her kind. The duel between herself and Chimamada started “officially” after Chimamanda answered a question about trans women. Chimamanda clearly stated her opinion on the matter
“My feeling is, trans women are trans women. I think the whole problem of gender is about our experiences and how the world treats us. It’s not about how we wear our hair, whether we have a vagina or penis.”
“If you lived in the world as a man with the privileges the world accords to men. Then you switched gender. It’s difficult for me to accept that we can then equate your experience with that of a woman who has lived from the beginning in the world as a woman; who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.”
Chimamada clearly stated her opinion without castigating trans women. She simply explained that trans women cannot be compared to women who have remained women their whole lives. Women who have not tasted how “living the life of a man” can be. Akwaeze, however, totally misunderstood her and went further to bit the hand (Chimamanda) that once fed her, dragging her all over Twitter.
Akwaeze could have spoken privately to Chimamanda given the one on one relationship they had. However, that didn’t happen. Who knows, Chimamanda might have apologized to her and other trans women too.
The feud move from frying pan to fire when Akwaeze published Chimamanda’s name in her work without taking permission from Chimamanda. Chimamnda contacted her publishers and asked them to take her name out of the publication. She wondered why someone who called her a murderer would want her name on her publication. Chimamada addressed this in the second part of a 3-part publication where she wrote to vindicate herself. She said:
“You publicly called me a murderer and still feel entitled to benefit from my name”.
She dated back to the days when she saw flashlights of what Akwaeke could actually do but she waved it off. She said in her publication that Akwaeke posted a picture of her personal space and publicized something she told her about another student at the workshop. She (Chimamanda) also spoke on how Akwaeke used her name to apply for an American Visa.
Do you really think Chimamanda Adiche was wrong for stating her opinions. Or do you think Akwaeze was wrong for supporting trans women and lashing out at Chimamanda? I really think that Chimamanda had the right to say whatever she want. Not everyone would accept your sexuality as a transgender or homosexual. The world hasn’t wholly agreed to the notion of gender change. Akwaeze should have let go of Chimamanda’s speech rather than call her derogatory names and try to tarnish her image. Gender bias or not, you should never bite the hand that fed you.