To honour the memory and inspirational life of her mother, the late Professor Dora Akunyili, whose life and legacy inspired millions when she confronted misogyny and battled corruption in Nigeria to a standstill, Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr has authored an intimate memoir titled: I Am Because We Are: An African Mother’s Fight for the Soul of a Nation.
The book which was released January 2022 hit bookstores across Nigeria on Friday, February 4, 2022 under the title: I Am Because We Are: The Story of Dora Akunyili. Told in her voice, from the personal lens of her daughter, the book is the story of what shaped her into the type of woman she became.
Inspired by the African philosophy of Ubuntu – the importance of community over the individual – the book gives an indepth view of how Dora Akunyili took on fraudulent drug manufacturers whose products killed millions, including her sister.
It explores how Dora, a woman in a man’s world, became a cabinet minister and had to deal with political maneuverings, death threats, and an assassination attempt for defending the voiceless.
The book also explores the fullness behind the woman known as the Amazon. Describing the book, the author said: “While the world saw Dora Akunyili at the peak of her strength – a warrior with a gap-toothed smile whose light-skinned oval face was crowned with a colourful head-tie that doubled as armour against incessant attacks against her values and also her life – I saw the complexity that was hidden from sight. This is the story of her multiplicity: the story of my mother.
“I have spent much of the last four years dedicated to bringing her story to life in this memoir – each step in researching and writing her story has allowed an unwrapping of her – the girl, the daughter, the dreamer, the wife, mother, warrior – her motivations, her struggles and celebrations. The result is this book I have spent much of the last four years dedicated to bringing her story to life in this memoir. This is the coming together of her parts. I am happy to share this story that it might inspire the whole. I believe stories matter, our stories matter, and this is one of such stories.
“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,” she said.
The Nigerian edition of the book will be published by Safari Books Ltd, and is available for purchase on major physical and online platforms across Nigeria from February 4, at the price of N6,000 for the paperback and N7,500 for the hardcover edition.
Oby Ezekwesili, Nigeria’s former minister of education praised the book, saying: “It’s truly uncanny to pull the feat that Chidiogo did with this book. She successfully entered into the full character of her mother and convinces the reader that Dora is the one speaking. This emotional tour de force her daughter, Chidiogo wrote has secured the eternal legacy of Dora like no other book can.”Get this book. No. Get two of this book so someone else gets the blessing of reading the story of a family that Nigeria and the world can never forget.”
CHIDIOGO AKUNYILI-PARR is a Nigerian-Canadian author, speaker, and consultant with a passion for human development and connection.
She is the founder of “She ROARs”, an organisation committed to coaching women of colour around the world to connect to their intuition and purpose.
Chidiogo’s work is focused on harnessing the power of our interdependence with a foundation in the humanist African philosophy of Ubuntu, which celebrates our shared humanity.
She has lived and worked across four continents and speaks seven languages, including Mandarin, German, Spanish and French, allowing for an even deeper connection with people. She led the growth and impact of the Global Shapers Community across Africa and the Middle East.