Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Fiction Friday: “Olikoye”, A New Short Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Olikoye<br />
A new short story by the author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

AmericanahHalf of a Yellow Sun Purple Hibiscus

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has penned a new short story as part of The Art of Saving a Life Project, which aims to increase awareness around the value of vaccines for children.

More than 30 world-renowned photographers, painters, sculptors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians took part in the project, which was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The result is a collection of stories about how vaccines can change the course of history.

Adichie’s story focuses on Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a former paediatrician, activist, and Nigerian health minister who passed away in 2003. Ransome-Kuti’s brother was the famous musician Fela Kuti.

“I hope the story humanises the importance of healthcare, in addition to paying tribute to a great Nigerian,” Adichie says. “I was happy to be involved because I admire the work being done, and because I believe that access to basic healthcare is a human right.”

Read this week’s Fiction Friday:

Olikoye

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

How softly the rain fell that Monday morning when my water broke. Because I was used to the raging downpours of Lagos, this quiet patter calmed me, filled me with peace. My husband Omoregie was at work and so our neighbor took me to the hospital, my dress slightly damp, my heart full of expectation. My firstborn child. The nurse on duty was Sister Chioma, a woman with an unsmiling face who liked to crack sharp-tongued jokes. During my last check up, when I complained about the backache brought on by my pregnancy, her retort was, “Did you think about backache when you were enjoying it?”

She checked my cervix and told me it was early. She encouraged me to walk up and down the ward.

“You must be happy that your first is a boy,” she said.

I shrugged. “As long as the baby is healthy.”

“I know you are supposed to wait until he is born to decide on a name but I’m sure you already have something in mind,” she said.

“I will name him Olikoye.”

“Oh.” She paused. “I didn’t know your husband was Yoruba.”

“He’s not. We’re both Bini.”

“But Olikoye is a Yoruba name.”

“Yes it is.”

“Why?” she asked.

My contractions were slow. I told Sister Chioma to sit down and I would tell her the story.

Book details

Image courtesy of Medium

 

Please register or log in to comment