“Jumping Monkey Hill” seemed to be an illustration of what most African studies students fear most- being Edward. Not only does he lust after Ujunwa for no reason other than the fact she is African, but he thinks he knows more about African society than those who are actually living in it. He tells them their stories aren’t “African” enough, after flying down from London with his wife and their friends.
We have talked a lot about which stories are directed to an outside, Western audience and which are written for Nigerians. “Jumping Monkey Hill” most definitely seemed to be a warning to Westerners. Edward is proven ridiculous in the end when Ujunwa’s story actually ends up being true. The final scene seems to be saying, “see how stupid Westerners look when they think they know more about Africa than an actual African?” It is the same warning my class received from my Contemporary Africa professor, who is from Togo, and was reiterated by my Swahili professor from Tanzania. I think for most people who are passionate about a different place, we fear both being an outsider and forgetting that we are one. Adichie definitely captured the consequences of the latter beautifully in “Jumping Monkey Hill.”