Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta is one of the early African writers that have through their books, redefined the woman’s roles

Buchi Emecheta

Sociologist, Writer

July 21st, 1944

University of London

Yaba, Lagos State


A lot of post-independence African writers have argued for and against feminism as a Western ideology that has no place in Africa because African women had defined roles, responsibilities and positions in pre-colonial African societies. Buchi Emecheta is a one of those writers who has shown that the denigration and suppression of the woman has sociocultural appearances in Nigeria, and Africa at large. She is the most known female African feminist writer of her generation. Her literary works have extensively shown the plights of the female child and womanhood in both Nigeria and Great Britain.

Early Life

Buchi Emecheta was born Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta on July 21st 1944 to her mother, Alice Ogbanje Okwuekwu Emecheta, and her father, Jeremy Nwabudike Emecheta, who worked as a molder at the railways. Buchi didn’t start school at an early age given the gender bias against educating female children, so she stayed at home while her brother, who was considered more ‘worthy’ of an education attended school.

After pleading with her parents, Buchi was subsequently enrolled her in an all-girl’s missionary school and received a full scholarship to study at the Methodist Girls School.

At age eleven, Buchi was betrothed to Sylvester Onwordi whom she eventually married at sixteen (16). After giving birth to two children, Buchi and Slyvester moved to London in 1961 where Sylvester was a student. Unfortunately, her marriage did not last long and by 22 she had divorced her husband.


Her relocation and early life experiences undoubtedly influenced her career as an immigrant feminist writer. In 1972, while at the university of London (1970-1974), she published her first collection of articles called ‘In the Ditch’, which portrayed her life, struggles and experiences through the main character, Adah. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology all the while supporting her five children working for the Inner London Education Authority and being a contributor at various magazines including The New Statesman. By age 30, she published her autobiography titled ‘Second-Class Citizen’ which exposed unpleasant experiences in her marriage and an unsupportive husband who went to the extent of burning her manuscript.

Buchi reached academic heights earning a Ph.D. and worked as a visiting professor and lecturer across America from the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Pennsylvania State University to Rutgers University. She was also a Senior Resident Fellow and visiting professor of English at the University of Calabar in Nigeria while she lectured at the University of London and Yale University. Between 1982 and 1983, Buchi and her son Sylvester, founded a publishing house in London and Nigeria called Ogwugwu Afor.


In the Ditch (1972)

Second-Class Citizen (1974)

The Bride Price (1976)

The Slave Girl (1977)

The Joys of Motherhood (1979)

The Moonlight Bride (1976)

Our Own Freedom (1981)

Destination Biafra (1982)

Adah’s Story [In the Ditch/Second-Class Citizen] (1983)

The Rape of Shavi (1984)

A Kind of Marriage (1986)

Gwendolen (1989) Published in the US as The Family (1990)


New Statesman Jock Campbell Award for The Slave Girl, 1979.

British Home Secretary’s Advisory Council on Race, 1979.

Arts Council of Great Britain bursary, 1982-3.

One of Granta′s “Best of the Young British Novelists”, 1983.

PhD, University of London, 1991.

Order of the British Empire, 2005

Who’s Who in Anioma, 2011

Who’s Who in Ibusa, 2011


National Pride

Buchi Emecheta is one of the early African writers that have through their books, redefined the woman’s roles, positions, and interrogated her plights. Her works are a source of inspiration for writers about the female child and the adversities of African women both at home and abroad. Her strength, passion, intelligence and resilience is reflected in her books through her female leads.


  1. Horsley, Sarah. “Buchi Emecheta” Fembio. Web.
  2. “Buchi Emecheta” – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Modified June 2 2016. Web.