Soyinka at eighty
WOLE Soyinka, the courageous, acerbic critic and winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature turns eighty on July 13, 2014. An accomplished playwright, poet, novelist and orator, Soyinka was the first African to be so honoured.
This renowned professor of Theatre Arts is a political activist deeply committed to the sanctity of the human person. He was in the vanguard of protecting human lives as a special marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission.
Soyinka’s exemplary life as a polemist is a permanent source of inspiration to all lovers of a united and equitable Nigerian federation. We Thespians should not hesitate to complement his legacy of unwavering creativity and idealism.
The high sense of justice and Soyinka’s hatred of tyranny is encapsulated in his aphorism: ‘‘The man dies in him who keeps mute in the face of tyranny.”
Soyinka’s moral authority is founded on his sincerity and godliness as against the prevalent religious hypocrisy. His non-comformist vision, charisma and lack of political ambition makes him the conscience of the nation. We wish him many more years of service to our fatherland.
From Shamsudeen Amali, Professor of Theatre Arts, University of Jos; formerly, Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin (2002/2007) Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University (2010/2013).