she finds her way home in both countries. Wherever she is, she is connected to the other country as well.
In this special guest episode of the Hiraeth podcast, five master students from Leiden University with their own migration stories from around the world discuss Nigerian writer Chimananda Ngozi Adiche’s 2013 novel Americanah. It is a novel of migration, home, and return, giving voice to a multifaceted Nigerian diaspora experience.
The story is primarily narrated by Ifemelu, a young woman who moves to the United States to study, and ends up spending eight years living there. The shorter migration journey of her high school boyfriend Obinze, who overstays his visa in Great Britain and is eventually deported back to Nigeria, forms a compelling counterpoint.
Sarah, Jan, Rosanne, Cláudia and Amparo discuss how the novel treats racism, educational inequality, and the powerful role of memory in shaping identities and migration experiences, as well as Ifemelu’s hair, her blog, and her boyfriends.
For further reading:
Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adiche (2013)
‘The Danger of a Single Story’, Ted Talk by Chimananda Ngozi Adiche, November 20th 2009
‘The New Mobilities Paradigm’ by Mimi Sheller and John Urry
African Migration Narratives: Politics, Race, and Space, edited by Cajetan Iheka
This episode features: “Silk n Cashmere Riddim” by Konrad OldMoney
Photo credit: Namna Soukpanah