Wole Soyinka Quotes

About Author
Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde "Wole" Soyinka ( WOH-lay s(h)oy-(Y)ING-kə; Yoruba: Akínwándé Olúwọlé Babátúndé "Wọlé" Ṣóyíinká, pronounced [wɔlé ʃójĩnká]; born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist in the English language. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature for his "wide cultural perspective and... poetic overtones fashioning the drama of existence", the first sub-Saharan African to be honoured in that category.
Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta, Nigeria. In 1954, he attended Government College in Ibadan, and subsequently University College Ibadan and the University of Leeds in England. After studying in Nigeria and the UK, he worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London. He went on to write plays that were produced in both countries, in theatres and on radio. He took an active role in Nigeria's political history and its campaign for independence from British colonial rule. In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Regional Elections. In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years, for volunteering to be a non-government mediating actor.
Soyinka has been a strong critic of successive Nigerian (and African at large) governments, especially the country's many military dictators, as well as other political tyrannies, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Much of Soyinka's writing is concerned with "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it". During the regime of General Sani Abacha (1993–98), Soyinka escaped from Nigeria on a motorcycle via the Benin border. Abacha later proclaimed a death sentence against him "in absentia". With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, Soyinka returned there.
From 1975 to 1999, Soyinka had been Professor of Comparative literature (1975–1999) at Obafemi Awolowo University, then called the University of Ifẹ̀, and in 1999, he was made professor emeritus. While in the United States, he taught at Cornell University as Goldwin Smith professor for African Studies and Theatre Arts from 1988 to 1991 and then at Emory University, where in 1996 he was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts. He has been a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has served as scholar-in-residence at New York University's Institute of African American Affairs and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. He has also taught at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Yale, and was a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Duke University in 2008.
In December 2017, Soyinka received the Europe Theatre Prize in the "Special Prize" category, awarded to someone who has "contributed to the realization of cultural events that promote understanding and the exchange of knowledge between peoples".