CELEBRATING WOLE SOYINKA


Wole Soyinka
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  • Written by:

    Dan Mwangi

    dan@mtkenyatimes.co.ke
    Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka was born on 13th July 1934, in a town called Ijebu Isara, close to Abeokuta in Western Nigeria . He was the second born of six children, his father’s name was Samuel Ayodele Soyinka while his mother was called Grace Eniola Soyinka. His Father was the headmaster of St. Peters School in Abeokuta. His mother was a local shopkeeper and a respected political activist for her community.
    His mom was a Christian, although his environment growing up also included many followers of the Yoruba religious tradition. This allowed Soyinka to have contact with both the traditional Yoruba beliefs and Christianity as well, and this atmosphere of religious syncretism had a great influence on his worldview. In 1939 a young Wole listened with curiosity to the news of the break out of the second world war. At that time European continent, at that time almost completely dominated by the person of Adolf Hitler. Hitler very soon became for Wole an embodiment of all evil force and incarnation of the devil himself.
    About year 1940, after attending St. Peters Primary School, Soyinka went to Abeokuta Grammar School, where he won several prizes for composition. In 1946 he was accepted by the Government College in Ibadan, one of Nigeria’s most elite secondary school. Upon completion of his studies at college he moved to Lagos, were he found a job as a clerk. During this period of time he wrote some radio plays and short stories that were broadcasted by Nigerian radio.
    After finishing his course in 1952, Soyinka studied English literature, Greek, and Western history at University of Ibadan. He then moves to Leeds in England where he works as an editor for “The Eagle”, a non frequent periodical that majors on humorous articles. On the second page of this journal, he writes commentaries about academic life, often criticizing stingingly his collegues students, and many times courteously defends affronted and insulted female colleagues. Then he writes his first publication, a short radio broadcast for Nigerian Broadcasting Service National Programme called “Keffi’s Birthday Threat”, which is being broadcasted in July 1954 by Nigerian Radio Times.
    In 1954 then began his studies in English literature, under the…. Readmore…

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