On 28 July, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie delivered the second virtual UCT Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture for 2021 under the title “The Idolatry of Theory: a defense of storytelling”.
Adichie was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2015. In 2017, Fortune Magazine named her one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. During the lecture Adichie argued why, in her view, theory is considered a kind of idolatry. She explained how during a conversation on sexism several a years ago, a woman shared a theory based on her own lived experience. The woman said: “Sometimes, some women are their own worst enemies.” But instead of engaging her on the topic and discussing it in detail, Adichie said the rest of the group simply silenced her.
She also attempts to explain the rhetoric that has had her labelled transphobic.