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Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literatures award winner, the first African to be honored in that category.
Soyinka was born into the family of Isara-Remo in the city of Abeokuta in Ogun state, Nigeria.
He was raised in a religious family, attending church services and singing in the choir from an early age.
Soyinka became an atheist later in life.
He went to St. Peters primary school in Abeokuta and Abeokuta Grammar school.
Government College in Ibadan accepted him into their secondary school for his brilliancy in literary composition.
He studied English Literature, Greek and Western history at the University College Ibadan.
While at the university, Soyinka and six others founded the Pyrates Confraternity, an anti-corruption and justice seeking student organization, the first confraternity in Nigeria.
In 1954, he relocated to England to continue his studies at the University of Leeds.
His play “The Invention” was the first of his work to be produced at the Royal Court Theatre in 1957.
Soyinka received a Rockefeller Research Fellowship from University College in Ibadan, his alma mater for research on African theatre.
His work “A Dance of the Forest” 1960, a biting criticism of Nigeria political elites wins a contest as the official play for Nigerian.
Soyinka established the “Nineteen-Sixty Masks”, in 1960 an amateur acting ensemble which he devote lots of his time.
He wrote the first full length play produced on Nigeria television, title “My Father’s Burden” directed by Segun Olusola.
In 1964, he founded the Drama Association of Nigeria.
Soyinka was imprisoned for 22 months as civil war ensued between the Nigeria federal government and the Igbo people of Biafrans.
While imprisoned in 1967, his play “The Lion and The Jewel” was produced in Accra, Ghana.
Still imprisoned, he translated from Yoruba Language a fantastical novel by his compatriot D.O. Fagunwa, entitled “The Forest of a Thousand Demons”; A Hunters Saga.
By 1969 when the civil war came to an end, Soyinka and other political prisoners were granted amnesty and freed from prison.
Concerned about the political situations in Nigeria (1971), he resigned from his duties at the University of Ibadan and began years of voluntary exile.
Soyinka was awarded an Honoris Causa Doctorate by the University of Leeds in 1972.
In 1981, he published his autobiography work “Ake: The Years of Childhood,” which won a 1983 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.
In 1993, Soyinka was awarded an honorary doctorate from Harvard University.
By 1994, he was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication.
He was honored with the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic on Niger in 1986 and many more.
Wole Soyinka has been married three times and divorce twice, he has children from his marriages.
Part of Wole Soyinka works includes: Keffi Birthday Treat (1954), Kongi’s Harvest (1964), The Beatification of Area Boys (1996) and more.
Much of his writings has been concerned with “the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the color of the foot that wears it.”


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