84! Contemporary African Writers Choose Wole Soyinka over Chimamanda

Today we say a huge happy birthday to Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, known as Wole Soyinka. A Nigerian playwright, poet and essayist. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be honoured in that category.

In a Trivia hosted on the cfwriterz Facebook page, readers and writers to choose between a date with Wole Soyinka or Chimamanda.

 

The responses were varied from interesting to quite hilarious.

Adetayo Omotoyosi Adeolu  said, “I will kill for a date with Wole Soyinka.” Abraham Adejare Adekunle added that he’ll change his stance when ChimaMANda changes her name to ChimaWOMANda. All in the obvious jolly banter, responses like these could sometimes reveal some of the sentiments a lot of people have towards the persons.
Some like Precious Osikha would not miss on either of the icons. “Sorry I am greedy 😊,” Precious said. 
Today Wole Soyinka is 84 and we are celebrating this literary Icon and everyone who loves his writings. Happy birthday to him. Prof. Wole Soyinka has not only inspired us in literature but he has alays been a political activist. His life has been devoted towards pushing Nigerian to a much desired democracy and for this we celebrate him. We’ve found this writing about Wole Soyinka and we hope you find these refreshingly new and informative.
Excerpt from Stanford Presidential Lectures for the Humanities and Arts:
Wole Soyinka is among contemporary Africa’s greatest writers. He is also one of the continent’s most imaginative advocates of native culture and of the humane social order it embodies. Born in Western Nigeria in 1934, Soyinka grew up in an Anglican mission compound in Aké. A precocious student, he first attended the parsonage’s primary school, where his father was headmaster, and then a nearby grammar school in Abeokuta, where an uncle was principal. Though raised in a colonial, English-speaking environment, Soyinka’s ethnic heritage was Yoruba, and his parents balanced Christian training with regular visits to the father’s ancestral home in `Isarà, a small Yoruba community secure in its traditions.

Soyinka recalls his father’s world in `Isarà, A Voyage Around “Essay” (1989) and recounts his own early life in Aké: The Years of Childhood (1981), two of his several autobiographical books. Akéends in 1945 when Soyinka is eleven, with his induction into the protest movement that during the next decade won Nigeria’s freedom from British rule. The political turbulence of these years framed Soyinka’s adolescence and early adulthood, which he chronicles in his most recent autobiographical work, Ibadan, The Penkelemes Years, A Memoir: 1946-1965 (1994).At twelve Soyinka left Aké for Ibadan to attend that city’s elite Government College and at 18 entered its new university. But in 1954, his ambition focused on a career in theater, Soyinka traveled to England to complete a degree in drama at Leeds, under the well-known Shakespearean critic, G. Wilson Knight. After graduation in 1957, Soyinka extended his European apprenticeship by working several years as a script-reader, actor, and director at the Royal Court Theatre in London. This period also saw the composition of Soyinka’s first mature plays, The Swamp Dwellers and The Lion and the Jewel, and their successful staging in both London and Ibadan. In 1960 a Rockefeller research grant enabled Soyinka, now 26, to return to Nigeria. There he assembled his own acting company, produced a new play, A Dance of the Forests, and timed its opening to coincide with the country’s official celebration of independence in October.

Though Soyinka’s return from England had been widely welcomed, A Dance of the Forests at once placed him at odds with Nigeria’s newly installed leaders as well as with many of his fellow intellectuals. Thematically, the play presents a pageant of black Africa’s “recurrent cycle of stupidities,” a spectacle designed to remind citizens of the chronic dishonesty and abuse of power which colonialism had bred in generations of native politicians.

Happy birthday Wole Soyinka

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