The grey-haired Nobel prize winner- Wole Soyinka adds one year today 13th July 2020.
Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka was born 13 July 1934), he is a Nigerian playwright, poet, and essayist. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first sub-Saharan African to be honored in that category.
He was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. 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 the 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.
In Nigeria, Soyinka was a Professor of Comparative Literature (1975 to 1999) at 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 to 1991 and then at Emory University, wherein 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. Soyinka was also a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Duke University in 2008.
In December 2017, he was awarded 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”.
The Icon’s university degree grade has been used for citing encouragement for persons who did not make good grades at school. Unconfirmed reports postulated that he made a third class in his first degree, however, the Nobel Laureate disclosed that contrary to insinuations, he graduated with a Second Class Upper and not Third Class as widely believed.
As his career progressed, his love life did not seem to go so smoothly. Soyinka has been married three times. He married British writer Barbara Dixon in 1958; Olaide Idowu, a Nigerian librarian, in 1963; and Folake Doherty, his current wife, in 1989. He is a father of seven from all three wives.
At a time when young persons do not believe in hard work and making an impact, where it is assumed that literary writers do not make progress, it is worthy to note that Wole Soyinka is currently one of the richest and most influential personality and public figure in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $1 million.
_Wole Soyinka will be one of our guest speakers in Anaedoonline 2nd Year Anniversary, holding on the 29th of August, 2020. Theme: The Place Of Youth In Politics and Economy, This will be an online/virtual program._