10 Untold Secrets About Wole Soyinka, Number 4 Is Shocking!
Wole Soyinka is one of Nigeria’s most respected poet and noble literature writer and winner. In this article, we will take a look at 10 Untold Secrets about Wole Soyinka.
- Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria. His birth name was Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka.
- Soyinka is the cousin of the late revolutionary African musician Fela Kuti, about whom a vibrant and critically acclaimed show (Fela!) opened on Broadway early 2010.
- In 1965, Soyinka seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and made a national broadcast demanding the cancellation of the rigged Western Nigeria Regional Elections. He was arrested and arraigned but later freed. Two years later, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was again arrested and placed in solitary confinement for his attempts at brokering a peace between warring factions. He was released almost two years later after international attention was drawn to his imprisonment.
- While behind bars Soyinka wrote poetry on tissue paper, which was published in a collection titled Poems from Prison. His experiences in prison are recounted in his 1972 book The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka.
- Soyinka’s relentless activism often exposed him to great personal risk, most notable during the government of General Sani Abacha (1993–1998), which pronounced a death sentence on him ‘in absentia.’ However, during Abacha’s regime, Soyinka escaped from Nigeria via the ‘Nadeco Route’ on motorcycle.
- In October 1994, he was designated United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication.
- Soyinka became the first African laureate in 1986 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, as one “who in a wide cultural perspective, and with poetic overtones, fashions the drama of existence.” His Nobel acceptance speech was devoted to South African freedom-fighter Nelson Mandela, and was declared a humane and characteristically outspoken criticism of apartheid and the politics of racial segregation in South Africa at the time.
- The Nobel Prize was not the only honour bestowed on Soyinka in 1986. He received another major award – the Agip Prize for Literature – that same year.
- The laureate has also received several honorary degrees, from such prestigious universities as Harvard (1993), Princeton (2005) and the Franklin Humanities Institute of Duke University, where he was appointed Distinguished Scholar in Residence in 2008.
- He is regarded as the most celebrated African literary Icon.
The above listed items suggests how celebrated Wole Soyinka should be in current time even until after his death. Let us do well to share to us what you think of Wole Soyinka and his poems below.