We became good friends, Kambili and I, when I realized we have a lot in common. I have learnt a lot from her and her experiences.
We met on the first page of Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I immediately decided to get closer to Kambili by reading the book quickly because I was preparing for my exams and had no intention of leaving the book for later. Most importantly, I felt a connection, the type people feel when they first meet the sibling they never knew they had. Or something like that.
The great Achebe had always been my most admired author but too distant to be my literary role model. Adichie was perfect; young, Igbo, female and Achebe-like. The character Kambili felt to me, like she was adapted from the real life character of me.
Before then, I hardly spoke out and had felt intimidated by others. Like Kambili, when someone said something intelligent, I would wish I said it first but now, all that has changed. As a writer, I got inspired to improve on my writing skills; to create believable characters and stay close to my culture as much as possible. I started to read more and developed a special interest in flowers especially their names. I have also decided to help change the plight of the African girl-child and to give her a voice, through my writing. I have become a better person.
Chimamanda is now like a sister to me and Kambili, a friend.
ADAEZE MBEGBU from LAGOS, NIGERIA.