Wole Soyinka

Posted: May 12, 2013 in Nigeria

 

Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian writer that is mainly known for his playwrite and poetry.

He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is the first person in Africa to be so honored. He gave a speech entitled  The Past Must Address Its Present in which he dedicated his award to Nelson Mandela

He has been a major activist in Nigerian history especially when trying to gain independence from Great Britain. During the Nigerian Civil war he was arrested by the federal government and put into solitary confinement for two years. During those two years he wrote Poems from Prison. He is known for strongly criticizing many Nigerian military dictators as well as politicians in his plays and poems. During 1993-98 rule of General Sani Abacha Sokina fled abroad, mainly the United States. During this time he taught at Cornell and Emory University. Soyinka had to live abroad because Abacha had a death sentence against him. One of his plays King Baabu, premiered in Lagos in 2001. It was a political satire on the theme of African dictatorship.  He now lives and teaches in California.

His speech can be found here. Be warned it is 42 minutes long but still very interesting.

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