Thursday 25 April 2013

Introduction to my single story project (MSSP)

single story, single story of africans, chimamanda adichie
Photo by: David Goldstein

I grew up with some beliefs and ethics. These beliefs and ethics had become a huge part of me. These beliefs and ethics were as a result of stories i was told. Stories told to me by people whose influence on me can’t be in anyway measured.

During those moments i wouldn’t doubt them because i believed the sources of those stories were credible. (Friends, family e.t.c).
We grow up with beliefs passed on to us by people who we had so much confidence in and likewise had trust in them.

As we continue in our human race, the stories becomes embedded in us and it  becomes a lifestyle. Most times we never question the existence or validity of these stories.

Few weeks back in my dormitory, my friend +joseph jide  Showed me a video. It was a video of Chimamanda Adichie telling a story she titled “The dangers of a single story” on She believes in the power of stories and that stories have a way of defining a group of people.

Though it's an old video dated back in 2009 but it's still fresh and relevant till now.

Watching her speak with my eyes on her lips and my ears absorbing every word. See the video below. To save data you can read the transcript.

The story was inspiring and i couldn’t imagine how much I've been involved in “single stories” all along and i had no idea.
I realized how vulnerable we are in the face of a story, how much majority live their lives based on a single side of a story.
Sincerely, prior to the time of the video clip I had a different picture of the Mexicans.

I had always seen their society as being dysfunctional. I believed that they were too corrupt.
If one carefully examine one’s self, one can be identified with so many “single stories”
As a Nigerian, native of Abeokuta, a typical Yoruba man. 

I’ve been guilty of stereotyping the Igbos and Hausas. Anytime I think of the Igbo man, I used to see a man with evil business ambitions and experts in production of fake products.
When i see a beggar on the street and he’s an Hausa man, i just assume he’s pretending and i say to my self  “bloody liar. With all the cows you have back home.”
Whether these stories are true or not, it’s incomplete. In Nigeria, tribalism is endemic. A tribe feels superior to the other. These traits can be seen in her political affairs.
Surely, it’s not everyone that is involved in tribalism, but it’s something worth mentioning.

Tribalism can be linked with “single stories.” The main reason why i had those orientation about the tribes was because i failed to see them in their totality.

I only took a single part of the whole story and continually tell myself the same story over and over again.
One cannot talk about single stories without stereotypes.

dangers of a single story


looked up the meaning in the dictionary. “A belief or idea of what a particular type of person or thing is like. stereotypes are unfair or untrue”
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. “- Chimamanda Adichie
Homeless people are stereotyped as alcoholics and addicts. Road side hawkers often stereotyped as thieves, e.t.c


Alongside stereotypes, prejudice comes to play; preconceived, most times unfavorable judgements towards the people being stereotyped.

If negatively prejudiced, it can be a major factor contributing to depression.

Anybody can be prejudiced because of gender, social class, age, disability, religion, nationality, race ,ethnicity and sometimes because of personal  characteristics.


Whether positively or negatively prejudiced, one can begin to experience isolation from people. This also has a way of causing strong depression.

MY single story project

Looking at the two elements of “single stories”; Those telling the stories and the character of the stories.  

I’ve stereotyped and I've been stereotyped. Growing up,I suffered depression most times because of stereotypes and i experienced isolation. It later transformed into inferiority complex. I was a victim. 

I’ve stereotyped and segregated without knowing. A perfect analogy would be the one I  cited earlier.

After that speech i got inspired to gather stories of people who are victims of the “Single story”. Those who stereotyped, Those who were experienced being stereotyped. This will based on personal experience.

Purpose of this project

The sole purpose of this is to help make a change. I got a mental shift just by a single encounter.

I can contribute my own quota by sharing the news, Extending the chain.
Someone else can  be influenced by his and the chain continues. 

I believe in small changes, little differences. I believe “little differences can make a big difference.” That’s why my watch word remains “if you want to change the world, start from your immediate environment.”

changing the world

I’ve started these in my neighbourhood though.

Power and Influence

“It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power…………. How they are told, who tells them, when they're told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.” – Chimamanda Adichie

My default position to any story i read on +Linda Ikeji  blog would be that it’s true because of her personality and influence on the entertainment blogosphere in Nigeria. likewise i would always trust anything i read on +Jide Ogunsanya  blog. 

That’s how power and influence can affect a story. Any story being told on the American TV as we know it always have a lasting impact.

Last Saturday +Cynthia Ese posted a story on her blog. She posted about an Honorable in Edo State house of assembly that held a pump action to a LG electoral center that was held on Saturday in Edo state.  Read story. 

No one believed at first because her blog is not so popular, she wasn't "influential".

How To Send Your stories

I’ll be really glad to feature stories (Single stories) right here on this blog. Your story can change someone. If you think you’ve been a victim, I would love to get a story from you. I would appreciate a true story.
I’ve got an entry already that will be published two days from now. You can send yours to my mail (ologunduduabraham [at] Gmail dot com). I’ll review and publish it.

Don’t judge  a book by it’s cover. There are two sides to  coin. Whether negative or positive, true or untrue, a story must be told in its totality.

It is harmful to tell a story from  a single perspective.

Late Chinua Achebe the prolific Nigerian writer called it “Balance of stories”.

I crave for a balance of stories. Do you?
Don’t forget you experience can just be the perfect story to make a change. Please do send me a story to ologunduduabraham [at] Gmail dot com. I’ll be waiting.

You have reached the end of the rainbow. Please make a contribution using the comment form below and get your pot of gold,


Cengage brain texts said...

I admire your efforts. It is true that society benefits overall when all sides of a story are told. When a lie is perpetuated, it teaches future generations the wrong thing about what really happened.

As someone said, sometimes, history is a lie. We hear what the most powerful or influential person wants us to hear. This is why sometimes it is easy to spread lies by just perpetuating them through a media outlet that is trusted.

Abraham Ologundudu said...

The statement "history is a lie" is very much applicable here. so many incomplete stories have been passed down through time. Thanks for your comment.

Rene said...

Politician often use media propaganda to distort facts and paint a picture which people aren't able to see through. Very well written article.