Adichie’s Americanah is an enlightening, yet educational epic, based on the lives of Ifemelu and her childhood boyfriend, Obinze. The story spans three countries, America, Nigeria and the UK, while highlighting the issue of race and the oft-romanticized view of the West. It also shines a light on the nature of corruption in Nigeria and how it affects its citizens.
Ifemelu’s childhood in Nigeria is less about race and more about survival, as well as the limitations experienced by those who live there. Adichie highlights the rampant corruption found throughout Nigerian politics, the military and in the infamous 419 schemes. This corruption, particularly in government, results in the majority of Nigerians competing for honest work, money, electricity, and food, among other things. A few “lucky” Nigerian women are able to circumvent the limitations of their class by becoming a mistress to a high-ranking general or government official. This is the case for Aunty Uju, who, being supported by a man referred to as The General, is able to secure job as a physician and live a lavish lifestyle in Dolphin Estates.