Born July 13, 1934, Wole Soyinka is famous in literary and political spheres in Nigeria and Africa at large.
He’s most famous for being the only Nigerian to ever win a Nobel Prize for Literature which he won in 1986. Currently, he’s the leading candidate for the position of Oxford Professor of Poetry.
Here are a few things you didn’t know about ‘Kongi’:
1. Wole Soyinka is cousins with the Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Besides his music and shrine, Fela is also famous for his activism.
2. In 1965, Soyinka seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and made a
national broadcast demanding the cancellation of the rigged Western Nigeria Regional Elections.
He was arrested and arraigned but
later freed. Two years later, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was again arrested and placed in
solitary confinement for his attempts at brokering a peace between warring factions.
He was released almost two years later after international attention was drawn to his imprisonment.
3. Soyinka wrote an entire book of poetry on tissue paper. The book titled, Poems from Prisons, was written secretly while he was in
4. He was one of The Original Seven , the founding members of the National Association of Seadogs, also known as Pyrates
5. . Soyinka’s relentless activism often exposed him to great personal risk, most notable during
the government of General Sani Abacha (1993–1998), which pronounced a death sentence on
him ‘in absentia.’ However, during Abacha’s regime, Soyinka escaped from Nigeria via the ‘Nadeco Route’ on motorcycle.