Among the many Nigerian writers who were also activists, Ken Saro-Wiwa is most remembered for his non-violent campaigns against the government and his influential works of fiction which mocked Nigerian society.
Despite his legacy and impact, however, his story is less spoken about today in modern literature, politics and history.
Born October 10, 1941, Saro-Wiwa, as a young boy, displayed interest in writing and was very smart in school, sweeping various awards in History and English all the way to the University. At the time, he was the only student from Ogoniland to attain such height in education and attend the prestigious Government College Umuahia.
After the Nigerian Civil War, Saro-Wiwa became more involved in politics after noticing the harsh treatment and living conditions of lower-income earners and his people in Ogoniland. He also worked as a journalist and TV producer and published his novel, Sozaboy, in 1985 dwelling on the Biafran Civil War.
By 1990, Saro-Wiwa had become well known as an environmental and human rights activist and minority spokesperson. He was imprisoned in 1992 by the military for being actively involved with the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and the Unrepresented Nations and People Organization (UNPO), groups with which he organized peaceful marches and demonstrations.
On November 10, 1995, Saro-Wiwa – who predicted his death – and eight other people known as the minority rights activists, were executed by hanging leaving the whole of Nigeria and the world in total shock. The execution was done by the orders of the then President and dictator, Sani Abacha, and went down as the fastest executions in the history of Nigeria.
To remember his legacy, Face2Face Africa shares with you 10 of his most powerful quotes: