Nigeria: Why I Stopped Attending Catholic Churches in Nigeria - Chimamanda Adichie

Adichie also reveals her concerns with Nollywood movies.

Celebrated Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, has revealed why she stopped attending Catholic churches in Nigeria.

She spoke in a recent BounceRadio interview with media personality, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu.

During the interview, the 43-year-old writer explained that she does not attend Catholic churches in Nigeria because activities became "way too much" about money, fundraising, and thanksgiving.

"Nigerian Catholicism is way too much about money, fundraising, and thanksgiving. Some in the east even look at who's wearing gold. I think the focus of religion should be things Nigerian Catholicism doesn't focus on," she said.

The 43-year-old writer, who said she still considers herself a Catholic nominally, said she only attends Catholic masses outside the country whenever she finds a "progressive" Catholic community that upholds humanity.

"I grew up Catholic. Catholicism was very important to me. It's almost like a culture, not just a religion. So even if you leave the Catholic Church, it's in you. Today, I don't like to talk about religion because I don't know," she said.

"I think of myself as agnostic and questioning. Catholicism holds you tight. There are many other protestant denominations that are not so. It's all-inclusive. 'You cannot eat before mass. You have to go to confession.'

"There are so many rules. It teaches you guilt in a way that I don't think so many protestant denominations do. I'm Catholic, nominally. I still feel protective of some things about the Catholic Church. But I don't attend it in Nigeria."


Away from the Catholic Church, she also shared her thoughts on Nollywood and why she hardly ever watches Nigerian movies.

She said, "I would be like there are problems with the dialogue, the continuity. There were problems with basic things but I think it's changing a bit. But I did watch something that I quite liked, the new 'Living In Bondage'. I quite liked it.

"Nollywood is something I'm grateful exists. If I'm outside Nigeria, you dare not talk bad about it. I will fight you. But I hardly ever watch Nollywood. Years ago, I would start something and it was just hard to finish," she said.

Although she said she had a few reservations about the themes of most Nollywood movies, she recently found a new favourite, which, according to her, ticked all the boxes.

"I watched 'Living in Bondage' because a friend of mine had suggested it and because I feel very emotionally attached to the original 'Living In Bondage'. It's charmingly innocent. Jazz in Nollywood has always been a thing that I liked to mock.

"People turning in chickens and that kind of thing. But the way jazz was done in this remake was really good.

"It's a testament to what Nollywood has become and what it can do. But I'm must say that I'm much more willing to give Nollywood a chance than I'm to give mainstream American TV shows a chance."

Star Wars

She also revealed that her husband, Ivara Esege, was cast as an extra in a 'Star Wars' movie and how his scene was eventually cut off when the film was eventually released.

Adichie began, "My husband loves 'Star Wars'. He's been a fan. One day we were at an Oscars party and we were seated with J.J. Abrams, the director. So he says to me, 'My wife loves your work, my kids love your work'," the writer narrated.

"I agreed to take a picture with him but told him, 'My husband really liked Star Wars. So what can we do about that?' I was joking, but my husband starts talking about it, and J.J. is getting really excited.

"He asked me if he'd like to be an extra in a text later on since he was to shoot in London a few months from that time. A few weeks later, he goes to the set. He was supposed to be one of those people who wear this metal thing.

"They measured him; he wore it. His role was to come on set and look surprised. I asked J.J. how he did later and he said, the first time they told my husband to look surprised, the man ran out and was like 'Hei!' (hands on the head).

"The Nigerian in him came out. I'm sure JJ was like, 'we'd like you to be a bit less African'. They did a few takes before he got a ride. We weren't supposed to tell anyone until the film comes out. But the scene was later cut.

"He was fine with it. For him, it was nice to see the behind-scenes. We went and saw one scene with John Boyega."

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