The daughter of Nigerian social justice warrior Dora Akunyili writes an intimate memoir of her mother’s life as an activist. The book is titled I Am Because We Are: An African Mother’s Fight for the Soul of a Nation. It will be published on January 4, 2022 by Canada-based House of Anansi Press.
The story of Akunyili revolutionizing the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry is well-known. A pan-African figure of change, she is held up as a hero throughout the continent. What is less-known is the cost of her activist life: how it strained her relationship with her family and exposed her to grave danger. This is the story that Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr seeks to tell in the new memoir.
The memoir also explores the philosophies about community and ethical actions that informed Akunyili’s work and inspired her to do so much for her society in spite of the toll it took on her personal life.
Read the publisher’s note below:
In this innovative and intimate memoir, a daughter tells the story of her mother, a pan-African hero who faced down misogyny and battled corruption in Nigeria. Inspired by the African philosophy of Ubuntu — the importance of community over the individual — and outraged by injustice, Dora Akunyili took on fraudulent drug manufacturers whose products killed millions, including her sister. A woman in a man’s world, she was elected and became a cabinet minister, but she had to deal with political maneuverings, death threats, and an assassination attempt for defending the voiceless. She suffered for it, as did her marriage and six children. I Am Because We Are illuminates the role of kinship, family, and the individual’s place in society, while revealing a life of courage, how community shaped it, and the web of humanity that binds us all.
I Am Because We Are is the first book by Nigerian Canadian writer Akunyili-Parr. Her writing and community organizing centers on “impacting global narrative with the power of stories founded on the humanist African philosophy of Ubuntu, which celebrates our shared humanity.”
Pre-order I Am Because We Are: Amazon