Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Harvard Speech Was Seriously Inspiring

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a literary legend The award-winning Nigerian writer not only has a number of acclaimed books under her belt, she is also a strong advocate for women's rights. Maybe you've heard some of her 'We Should All Be Feminists' speech in Beyoncé's 'Flawless'?

When she's not writing best-selling fiction inspired by her ancestry and experiences - one of which is being made into a film starring Lupita Nyong'o - Adichie takes time to speak on her views and help inspire the next generation.

Students of Harvard University asked her to speak at their 2018 Class Day ceremony, to mark this year's graduating class. On Wednesday, the one-time Harvard fellow became the first African to address graduating students at Harvard's Class Day. She captivated the crowds at the prestigious Massachusetts school, urging them to value truth and change the world for the better.

 Speaking to the spectators and graduating students, she started with some personal stories. She told the crowd a story about how a woman had mispronounced her name, using the tale to stress how important intent is behind a person's actions.

"My name is Chimamanda. In Igbo it means 'my personal spirit will never be broken'," she began.  

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's speech focused on questions about truth and lies in the political system. "Today, the political discourse in America includes questions that are straight from the land of the absurd. Questions such as 'Should we call a lie, a lie?' 'When is a lie, a lie?' ", she said "And so Class of 2018, at no time has it felt as urgent as now that we must protect and value the truth."

She talked about the example that students had set by protesting and advocating for many social issues. "We do not need first to be perfect before we can do what is right and just. And you are not unfamiliar with speaking the truth.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Harvard (Courtesy: The Crimson)

"When you stood alongside dining hall workers at the strike, when you protested the end of DACA, when you supported the Black Lives Matter movement, you were speaking the truth about the dignity every single human being deserves. I applaud you, I urge you to continue," she said.

Rounding off her talk, Adichie delivered an inspiring final thought to the Harvard graduating class.

"Your story does not have to have a traditional arc. There is an Igbo saying [which] translates literally to 'whenever you wake up, that is your morning. What matters is that you wake up," she said.

"The world is calling you. America is calling you. There is work to be done. There are tarnished things that need to shine again. There are broken things that need to be made whole again. You are in a position to do this, you can do it. Be courageous, tell the truth. I wish you courage and I wish you well."

Powerful stuff!

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WATCH: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's inspiring Harvard Class Day speech

 

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