Zikora is a bunch of familiar stories told anew, and with so many dimensions. Each one; each theme as strong and important, demanding attention, as the other, but not climbing over one another because their individuality is respected and each one is given it’s time. It almost doesn’t make any sense how they were all fit in 30 pages. I say ‘they were all fit’ as opposed to ‘they were able to fit’ because I do not believe it was something that just happened, that came to being. There had to have been intention behind such masterful subtlety. Zikora reminds me of a tiny clown-car that fits dozens of people; abortion, single parenthood, respect, the intricacies of polygamy, etc; with everybody sitting comfortably and waving at the audience.
Zikora is a teaching, a folklore, deliberate and does not instruct. I learnt from my mother not to blurt out commands to my youngest sister. She said, “Explain to her why this should not be. She would get it better and she would not feel the need to rebel against what you have said”. Why are men excused of the responsibility of birth control? And Chimamanda answers by telling the story of Kwame, a well-read lawyer who went in on Zikora without wearing a rubber. He knew she wasn’t using birth control pills but somehow found the nerve to get upset when a baby resulted from his negligence. At first Chimamanda entertains the popular excuse that tries to absolve men of their negligence, “what if he is ignorant?” But does ignorance excuse his getting angry too? What entitlement! And what is he ignorant of? Did he assume women have sperm-killing enzymes that they could unleash when they do not want to get pregnant? Is ignorance even a valid excuse? No, Chimamanda says it is not.
Zikora is a short story that I hope is rewritten into a novel, but no pressure Ms. Adichie.
REVIEWED by CHI’AZIE (Ghost Writer)