Born on this day in 1934, Wole Soyinka, the brilliant Nigerian writer and political activist, was the first African to win the Nobel Prize for literature.
With over 50 pieces of work, his writings include novels, poems, memoirs and essays that capture his cultural traditions and use of rich language. The political activist has been very critical about happenings within Nigerian politics and Africa in general.
His stint in prison in 1967 after being labelled a spy during the civil strife between the Nigerian government and Biafra made his writing even louder.
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In prison, despite the lack of writing materials, he was able to produce a significant body of poems and notes criticising the Nigerian government. Some of his works, including The Lion and The Jewel, The Trials of Brother Jero and The Strong Breed were produced in Ghana and New York.
His writings and drama truly reflect the goings-on in the cultural and political life of Africans. His philosophical plays include The Road (1965) and Death and the King’s Horseman (performed 1976, published 1975).
The Nigerian playwright and poet continues to engage in political activism, highlighting the different situation people of Nigeria and other black people are going through in the world. He recently came to the limelight for tearing up his green card days after American President Donald Trump was elected.
To celebrate Soyinka’s birthday, Face2Face Africa shares with you 10 of his greatest quotes: