Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Babatunde Soyinka was born on July 13, 1934, in Abeokuta, western Nigeria. He is a poet, playwright and a human right activist.
Ten (10) interesting facts about the kongi that you should know:
- He was the second of the six children of Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, an Anglican minister and headmaster of St. Peters School in Abeokuta; and Grace Eniola Soyinka, a trader and a political activist within the women’s movement in the local community.
- He is the cousin of the late revolutionary musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
- He had his early education at Peter’s Primary School in Abeokuta, from there he proceeded to Abeokuta Grammar School. He had his bachelor’s degree in English literature, Greek and Western history at the University College Ibadan and University of Leeds.
- He was among the founders of the first Confraternity (Pyrate Confraternity) in Nigeria.
- He resigned from his University position as a lecturer at the University of Ibadan in 1964 to protest the anti-people policy introduced by the government of the day.
- He was arrested a couple of times including during the Nigerian civil war where he was imprisoned for 22 months. His experiences in prison are recounted in his 1972 book “The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka”.
- He was named Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1986 by General Ibrahim Babangida.
- He was the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, a feat he achieved in 1986.
- He dedicated his speech at the Nobel Laureate award to South African icon, Nelson Mandela.
- He is referred to as “the conscience of the nation”. He is ever ready to fight against injustice in the country.