Nigeria: Chimamanda Makes History as First African to Speak at Yale’s Class Day

Must Read

African Tribe: The Daasanach People of Eastern Africa

The Daasanach are a semi-nomadic tribe numbering approximately 50,000 whose clans stretch across Sudan, Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. The Daasanach...

Mali Swears In Bah Ndaw As New Civilian Leader

Mali's new president Bah Ndaw has been sworn into office, five weeks after the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Former...

Troublesome South African Baboon Evicted For Organizing Gang To Raid Homes

Kataza is an urban baboon who was captured and put in a local prison for organizing a band of baboons to join him in raiding 15 homes in Kommetjie, on Cape Town's southern peninsula in South Africa.



Celebrated writer and speaker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has become the first African to deliver the Class Day Speech of the Yale College at New Haven, Connecticut. The event which held Sunday, May 19, on the eve of Yale’s 318th Commencement, was a celebration of the graduating Yale College class.

Nigeria: Chimamanda Makes History as First African to speak at Yale’s Class Day

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie delivers Class Day address at Yale University A tradition that dates as far back as the 19th century, Class Day includes student reflections on their four years at Yale, the awarding of undergraduate prizes for academic, artistic, athletic, and community accomplishments, and an address delivered by a prominent figure chosen by the students. In 2018, the Class Day speech was delivered by former US First Lady, Hillary Clinton.

Chimamanda joins an exclusive list of Yale Class Day speakers which include former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden; Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair; Renowned Television Journalist, Barbara Walters, Oscar winning actor, Tom Hanks; and many more.

In announcing her selection as speaker, the Class Day 2019 Planning Committee described Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as “an inspiring global citizen whose words, teaching, and social activism have had an indelible impact on the diaspora and broader contemporary culture.” An alumna of Yale herself, Adichie received her master of arts in African studies from the school in 2008. “I remember the many clever undergrads I met while at Yale and it’s an honor to know that a class of similarly clever students chose me to speak to them.” Adichie said in an earlier statement.

Related:   Two African Writers Shortlisted For The 2020 Booker Prize

In her insightful speech which was filled with humour and interesting stories, the writer shared some career and life advice, touching on beliefs, journalism, leadership and more. She encouraged the graduates to be open to experiencing the world in a way that is different from their idealised belief and find a way to marry idealism and pragmatism because there are complicated shades of grey everywhere. “Be open to changing your mind. It is often a sign of growth. Be open to the possibility that you might be wrong.

Ideology is a good thing but if you find that you yield unquestioningly to every orthodoxy of the ideology you subscribe to, then maybe it is time for some agility in your thinking.” In speaking about corporate leadership, she also encouraged the 2019 class to transform corporate traditions, “If you’re one day enrobed in corporate power, please hire women as executives and not just in human relations.

Related:   Mali Swears In Bah Ndaw As New Civilian Leader

Change corporate culture. Have an on-site day-care. Make paid family leave standard and ordinary.” She tells the students. In usual Adichie-fashion, the Americanah writer did not hold back on speaking truth to power. She spoke courageously on the increase in gun violence in America, touched on America’s controversial new law on abortion and racism.



Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to receive email updates

With a subscription profile, you automatically receive updates without having to return to the website and check for changes

Just In

African Tribe: The Daasanach People of Eastern Africa

The Daasanach are a semi-nomadic tribe numbering approximately 50,000 whose clans stretch across Sudan, Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. The Daasanach...

Mali Swears In Bah Ndaw As New Civilian Leader

Mali's new president Bah Ndaw has been sworn into office, five weeks after the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Former Defence Minister Bah Ndaw, 70,...

Troublesome South African Baboon Evicted For Organizing Gang To Raid Homes

Kataza is an urban baboon who was captured and put in a local prison for organizing a band of baboons to join him in raiding 15 homes in Kommetjie, on Cape Town's southern peninsula in South Africa.

A Leading University In China Now Teaches Ethiopia’s Amharic Language As A Full Course

A leading university in China — Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) — has started to offer Ethiopia's widely spoken Amharic language as a full...

TIME 100: Tony Elumelu, Three Other Nigerians Makes Time’s list of 100 Most Influential People Of 2020

Tony Elumelu, is among four Nigerians named by the Time Magazine International in their 2020 list of 100 most influential people in the world...

More Articles Like This