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“Incompetence dressed up as ‘strategy’ is still incompetence” – Watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Commencement Speech at Williams College



On Sunday, June 4, 2017, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received an honorary degree from Williams College and was also the College’s commencement speaker for the 2017 ceremony.

The President of the college Adam F. Falk conferred bachelor’s degrees on 525 seniors. Master of Arts degrees was awarded to 13 students in the Program in the History of Art, and 30 fellows from the Center for Development Economics received M.A. degrees in Policy Economics.

The author gave an inspiring speech for about 20 minutes talking about post-grad life, injustice, incompetence and complacency, finding favour and more.


Photo Credit: GettyImages | Donna Ward


  1. Anonymous

    June 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    am just amazed at this woman’s level of intelligence,thumps up.

  2. Sparkle

    June 6, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Beautiful speech, very inspiring.

  3. Ezinne O.

    June 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    I took out 20 minutes to watch this video. It’s just amazing how sound this woman is. Especially where she said “In the face of sustained mediocrity, we continuously lower our standards.” This is the major problem with my country Nigeria. People who complain as seen as trouble makers, those who try to change things are seen to be disturbing the sleeping dog. It is not okay to be complacent, we have to start demanding for better. Better customer service, better quality of goods and services, better leadership, better educational standards. We have a long way to go. I refuse to accept the mediocrity in our society, I hope a lot of people learn to do same.

    • andtherewasone

      June 6, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Ezinne thanks for the brief for those of us that can’t afford 20mins bandwidth.

  4. Comment

    June 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    She’s simply awesome. Gifted with immense wisdom. God bless her. I’m glad she’s representing Nigeria proudly

  5. chi

    June 6, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Totally love Chimamanda, beautiful speech.

  6. Josy

    June 6, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    What more can I say…you guys have said it all….she’s such a outstanding personal….She motivates me in every way….Keep making us proud Miss Adichie

  7. Ego

    June 6, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Remarkable woman!

  8. Bad gang

    June 6, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    If we suggest this woman holds a position of leadership in nigeria now e go be like say you tell some nigerian men make den cut their scrotum throway…lol
    She is 100% correct though, continous acceptance of mediocrity worsens standards and in my opinion reduces the quality of the human person…adichie I admire you jare…majority of nigerian brains no fit carry your message, na prolonged starvation and suppression of don rub us of our sense of logical reasoning….na how we wan take chop tomorrow dey our mind

  9. mexx

    June 6, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Good one

  10. Kay

    June 6, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    This woman is simply amazing. Her manuscripts were rejected several times but she kept at it. Today, she is one of Africa’s biggest writers. Everybody has a story to tell.

    • dora the explorer

      June 7, 2017 at 1:48 am

      not just Africa the entire world!

  11. Maria

    June 7, 2017 at 1:00 am

    brilliantly done! proud of this sister

  12. chichi

    June 7, 2017 at 2:26 am

    Chimamanda, you have spoken truly well. I agree with you that luck alone is not sufficient for anyone that wants to make progress I life. When luck knocks at someone’s door if he is not prepared he would not even notice it. In essence, she is saying that you need to be prepared and equip yourself with skills/abilities in other to seize the moment when luck does appear. Thank you, great author, for sharing that you did not wait on luck alone, but you added hard work, resilience and tenacity to achieve this remarkable height.

  13. Diamond

    June 7, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    I love her smile.. so genuine

  14. nnenne

    June 7, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Amazing as usual!

  15. Okeke, Francis Chukwuma

    June 17, 2017 at 6:23 am

    I never expected less. You always thrill me with you wisdom. Wisdom and beauty have found an abode in you.

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