Akínwándé Olúwọlé Babátúndé Ṣóyíinká; born 13 July 1934, known as Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist in the English language. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, for “in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashioning the drama of existence” the first sub-Saharan African to be honoured in that category.
1. He attended the University College, Ibadan before moving to the University of Leeds, where he completed his first degree. He later got his doctorate degree from the same university.
2. He worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London as a playwright, from 1958-1959.
3. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986. He is the first Black African to win the prize.
4. He once served as president of the International Parliament of Writers, an organisation established in 1993 to provide support for persecuted writers.
5. He has at different times been a visiting professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale.
6. He was a professor of Comparative Literature and taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife.
7. He has constantly used his work to promote good governance and speak truth to power.
8. He was detained by the government for 22 months from 1967 to 1969 for calling for a ceasefire during the civil war.
9. In 2014, he revealed his battle with prostate cancer, while calling on government to intervene in the area of diagnosis and treatment
10. Soyinka trended on social media in 2021, when a young man asked him to stand up from his allotted seat on a flight.
Soyinka has been a strong critic of successive Nigerian (and African at large) governments, especially the country’s many military dictators, as well as other political tyrannies, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Much of his writing has been concerned with “the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it”. During the regime of General Sani Abacha (1993–98),Soyinka escaped from Nigeria on a motorcycle via the “NADECO Route.” Abacha later proclaimed a death sentence against him “in absentia.With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, Soyinka returned to his nation.