Wole Soyinka quotes
Birthdate: 13. July 1934
Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Babatunde Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright and poet. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be honoured in that category.
Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. 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 struggle for independence from Great Britain. 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.
Soyinka has been a strong critic of successive Nigerian governments, especially the country's many military dictators, as well as other political tyrannies, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Much of his writing has been concerned with "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it". During the regime of General Sani Abacha , Soyinka escaped from Nigeria on a motorcycle via the "NADECO Route." Abacha later proclaimed a death sentence against him "in absentia." With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, Soyinka returned to his nation.
In Nigeria, Soyinka was a Professor of Comparative Literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University, then called the University of Ife. With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, he was made professor emeritus. While in the United States, he first taught at Cornell University as Goldwin Smith professor for African Studies and Theatre Arts from 1988-1991 and then at Emory University where in 1996 he was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts. Soyinka has been a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and has served as scholar-in-residence at NYU’s Institute of African American Affairs and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US. He has also taught at the universities of Oxford, Harvard and Yale.
Quotes Wole Soyinka
Janheinz Jahn (trans. Oliver Coburn and Ursula Lehrburger) A History of Neo-African Literature (London: Faber, 1968) pp. 265-6.
Explaining, in Berlin in 1964, a criticism of the concept of négritude he had made at a conference in Kampala in 1962.
Context: I said: "A tiger does not proclaim his tigritude, he pounces". In other words: a tiger does not stand in the forest and say: "I am a tiger". When you pass where the tiger has walked before, you see the skeleton of the duiker, you know that some tigritude has been emanated there.
Source: The Lion and the Jewel
The Man Died (New York: Harper & Row, 1972) p. 13.
„England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims. Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence. And yet England allows it. Remember, that country was the breeding ground for communism, too. Karl Marx did all his work in libraries there…. We should assemble all those who are pure and cannot abide other faiths, put them all in rockets, and fire them into space….. A virus has attacked the world of sense and sensibility, and it has spread to Nigeria…. The assumption of power over life and death then passed to every single inconsequential Muslim in the world-as if someone had given them a new stature…Al Qaeda is the descendent of this phenomenon. The proselytization of Islam became vigorous after this. People went to Saudi Arabia. Madrassas were established everywhere.“
Wole Soyinka: Duncan Gardham - Mutallab: Again Soyinka Blames UK For Breeding Terrorists http://thewillnigeria.com/world/3592-Mutallab-Again-Soyinka-Blames-For-Breeding-Terrorists.html - TheWill, February 2, 2010</ref><ref>James Meikle - England is 'cesspit' breeding Islamists, says Soyinka http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/02/soyinka-england-cesspit-islamists - The Guardian, February 2, 2010
„There is only one home to the life of a river-mussel; there is only one home to the life of a tortoise; there is only one shell to the soul of man: there is only one world to the spirit of our race. If that world leaves its course and smashes on boulders of the great void, whose world will give us shelter?“
Death and the King's Horseman (1975); cited from Six Plays (London: Methuen, 1984) p. 189.
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„[T]he PDP, on whose platform he stands, represents the most harrowing of this nation’s nightmares over and beyond even the horrors of the Abacha regime. If he wishes to be considered on his own merit, now is time for him, as well as others similarly enmeshed, to exercise the moral courage that goes with his repudiation of that party, a dissociation from its past, and a pledge to reverse its menacing future. We shall find him an alternative platform on which to stand, and then have him present his credentials along those of other candidates engaged in forging a credible opposition alliance.“
Sahara Reporters http://www.saharareporters.com/news-page/crimes-buhari-wole-soyinka