Monday, 21 July 2014


It was a dreamlike scene approaching the route to the Ijegba Forest with the sight of aged women clad in white, greeting guests as they stepped on to the forest path leading to the performance venue. 
“E kaabo, e ku idide. Eyin naa maa dagba,” meaning “welcome, thanks for coming. You will also grow old,” were the words of the old women.
Everybody present that night had one or two tales to share. But it was only the beginning as the magical night was just setting up. The stage set was another tale to share. 
Here are some of the pictures from the 'A Dance of a Forests': 

Ijegba Forest

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Friday, 18 July 2014


We celebrate our own and one of Africa's greatest leader 'Nelson Mandela' and a Global Icon.

Nelson Mandela
Photo Credit: 
Nelson Mandela and Wole Soyinka
Photo Credit:

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Thursday, 17 July 2014


"Awesome, breathtaking, and magical: Wole Soyinka's "A Dance of the Forests" play production was directed by Dr. Tunde Awosanmi" 

Awesome, breathtaking, and magical: Wole Soyinka's "A Dance of the Forests" play production was directed by Dr. Tunde Awosanmi. 

The magical set was designed and constructed by the prolific Zmirage Multimedia, the masters of set and light design.
The play was staged in the Ijegba Forest... 

Click on the link below, Watch and drop your comment!

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014


"the Nigerian government forbid the play from being staged because of its thematic focus, which incidentally, foresaw what is currently happening in the country"

Fifty-four (54) years after being denied official performance during Nigeria’s independence celebrations, ‘The forest of Ijegba’ in Abeokuta, Ogun State finally played host to theatre lovers.
The play was directed by Dr. Tunde Awosanmi of the University of Ibadan and produced by the Teju Kareem-Executive Producer of the Project WS@80 with the support of the Ogun State government.
Although, the play was written and entered for a dramatic writing contest established in commemoration of Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the Nigerian government forbid the play from being staged because of its thematic focus, which incidentally, foresaw what is currently happening in the country.
According to the director,  Awosanmi “A Dance of the Forests occupies a Big Brother position in the pantheon of Wole Soyinka’s creative works, especially those of the dramatic genre, for this is just the right time to establish the fact- with all emphasis and authority- that each of the creative works in Soyinka’s oeuvre has attained the iconic status, over the years, of an oracle through which seekers of truth could divine the reality of our humanity for ages and ages to come.”

He emphasised that apart from also being an exercise in amateur psychoanalysis to explore Soyinka’s thinking patterns, perception of humanity, understanding of society, projection of crisis and conflict as well as conceptualization of resolution at age 26 when he wrote the play,  it is very relevant to Nigeria’s current situation.
Awosanmi noted that Soyinka, in the play, laid the foundational structure “for what has been understood today as the phenomenon of ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ through the ‘Court of Aroni’. So, futuristically, Soyinka had, as far back as 1960 when he was barely 26, foresaw a time when the oceans of iniquity of humanity will overflow their banks to the extent that mankind will seek resolution of their self-inflicted crisis in the strategy of ‘commissioning truth and reconciliation panels’”
(Culled from, Nigerian Tribune)
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Sunday, 13 July 2014


We wish the literary giant and first African Nobel Laureate in Literature Professor Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka an amazing more years as he turns 20 for the fourth time today. He is often referred to as the Moral and Democratic conscience of Nigeria. Today, we salute his landmark achievement and for being a voice in this generation.


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"Essays have followed upon essays with effortless ease, poems rolled out upon poems, plays upon plays upon memoirs and countless other documents–and in all of them you found the same reflective earnestness, the same challenge for profundity, the same daring provocation for the exploration of new frontiers"
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate
Eminent scholar, social critic and literary icon, Prof Femi Osofisan, in this interview with IYABO LAWAL of The Guardian, bares his mind on the life and times of Prof. Wole Soyinka, as he attains 80 years...

Wole Soyinka and the literary community 
With such a personality, as you must know, it is impossible to answer the question in one word, one sentence. Still, the primary significance of any writer lies in his works. And with Soyinka, we are dealing with an extraordinary creative output that is more or less a deluge— an outpouring of works in different genres that has gone on almost ceaselessly now for more than six decades!
Essays have followed upon essays with effortless ease, poems rolled out upon poems, plays upon plays upon memoirs and countless other documents–and in all of them you found the same reflective earnestness, the same challenge for profundity, the same daring provocation for the exploration of new frontiers.
How else, but with breathless awe, does one acknowledge such an achievement? The pain I feel is that few people have really read the man; that a vast majority know the name and the legend, but have no knowledge of his books or of the ideas in them. Now, it is indisputable that ideas are what fertilise a society. But unfortunately, we don’t care for ideas here, and we writers are like orphans in the community. Unless we sponsor or partake in some political scandal, or take to footballing, we will not be noticed or heard.
Fortunately, Soyinka is that increasingly rare combination of a man of ideas and a man of action. Thus the same society that is willfully ignorant of his books always looks forward—with eagerness or with trepidation—to his fearless interventions in our political life. There is no greater tribute to offer to an exemplary career.
Qualities that have defined Soyinka as a literary giant
A literary giant, so-called, can only be defined either by the quantity or the quality of his or her works. In both aspects, as I have pointed out above, Soyinka’s achievement equals, or even surpasses, that of the best writers anywhere in the world, and indeed of any generation.
Soyinka as a critic, theatre person, human rights activist 
I would rate him among the top five in the world in all these areas. Particularly since he was awarded the Nobel Prize, he has employed the prestige of that prize not as an excuse to retire into luxurious living, or indulgent unconcern, but astonishingly as a leverage to further push the universal struggle for human rights, even in circumstances in which he was personally endangered. It is a rare instance of valour.
Age will not slow him down or diminish some of his fiery dispositions
Age is bound to slow him down of course, as we are already noticing. He is not Superman. But it will not muffle or silence his voice.
Lessons derivable from Soyinka’s life 
There are always a lot of positive lessons to be learnt from an exemplary life of courage, creativity and commitment. But I’m not sure that our young ones are being positioned or encouraged to learn them. Not any more. The recent results of the Ekiti governorship elections are a big eye-opener to the future we are creating for our youths. But I just hope those who are still concerned about honour, and true heroism, will know that there is no other road towards these than selflessness, sacrifice, diligence, and of course, compassion. Soyinka’s life, as shown in his memoirs, is an eloquent illustration of these virtues.
(Iyabo Lawal, The Guardian)
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Saturday, 12 July 2014


 "Soyinka’s activism and anti-establishment posture found solid expression during his days at University College, Ibadan, when he founded the Pyrates Confraternity along with some of his colleagues. The brotherhood was aimed at abolishing convention, reviving the age of chivalry, ending elitism and tribalism"

Wole Soyinka
"THE artist has always functioned in African society, as the record of mores and experiences of his society and as the voice of his own time. It’s time for the artist to respond to this essence of himself”. These were the words of Nobel Laureate in Literature, Prof. Wole Soyinka, also known as Kongi, to many of his admirers, as far back as the 1960s. For those writers who are still hesitant on what the role of the artist should be in society, this credo laid out by this inimitable African cultural icon is invitation at self-examination.

  Soyinka’s life has borne out this credo in all its manifestations. Even the manner of protesting the limit placed on when a child should start school in his days is instructive of a child who would rebel against every known and established norm that runs contrary to logic. At three, he announced his intention to start school; this was when school age was six! He was to have his say and way, and today the world is better for that rebel spirit.
  Soyinka’s activism and anti-establishment posture found solid expression during his days at University College, Ibadan, when he founded the Pyrates Confraternity along with some of his colleagues. The brotherhood was aimed at abolishing convention, reviving the age of chivalry, ending elitism and tribalism. After reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island Soyinka and his mates were struck by the lives of the pirates as narrated by young Jim Hawkins. The original seven founders of Pyrates Confraternity are Wole Soyinka, Muyiwa Awe, Ralph Opara, Pius Oleghe, Ikpehare Aig-Imoukhuede, Ifoghale Amata (patriarch of the Amata acting family) and Nat Oyelola.
  In 1960, prior to independence, Soyinka was commissioned to produce a play to enact the dawn of a new nation. But like the visionary-prophet artist that he was and has been ever since, he saw beyond the mere euphoria that the period engendered. Nigeria was in celebratory mood for nationhood. The festivities were what held the most promise for a majority of the people, especially government officials who saw a chance to occupy vacant seats the departing British had held. They did not want anything to rock the boat of their utopia. But Soyinka saw otherwise. He saw beyond the banalities the independence festivities offered and rose in warning, like an elder who would not allow a goat to suffer birth pains in tethers!
  But the messenger and the message were rejected. His play for the commemorative occasion A dance of the Forests did not see the light of the day. Its message, which the new nation was to swallow in bitter lumps barely seven years into nationhood in a bitter civil war, cast a gloomy aspect over the celebration. In panic, the officials rejected it. They could not connect independence conviviality with the theme of gloom the play projected.
  The ‘Gathering of the Tribes’ referred to in the play is, therefore, the new Nigerian polity. The Tribes’ celebration is, however, dented by the fact that the commissioned totem, which was supposed to represent the spirit of the gathering, turns out to be a sacrilegious epitome of evil and the representatives of the ‘proud’ ancestral past turn out to be victims of past despotism and violence crying for justice. The work ends in a spate of negative prophetic utterances and a climactic failure to lead a half-child (abiku) to safety. The play, therefore, aims at countering the (now) unfounded euphoria of the independence days. Why celebrate the birth of an abiku? But, like the officials in the play, the Nigerian officials in charge of the independence celebrations rejected the play.
  But the play’s prophetic import has abided, as Nigeria has floundered from one extreme of suffering from being unable to fulfill its potential as land of promise to yet another, now insurgency. It is this perennial failing in a country that should celebrate in abundance that Soyinka’s rebellious spirit cannot admit. And so he holds up those responsible for it to give account. And since they cannot give account, they become object of his scorn and venom.
  For Soyinka, literature should carry the burden of morality in social relations. And like the ancient griot, he applied literature for the service of humanity, especially in a continent known for repressive regimes and their attendant poor economic foundations.
THAT was Soyinka’s first encounter with Nigeria’s barefaced official distaste to any form of critical and even contrary views. It was to continue through his midlife till now when he attains 80, as he navigated from one form of ugly encounter to yet another. But his stated credo, which is also his guiding political philosophy, regards the artist as the voice of vision, which he was to become at considerable cost.
  In October of 1965, Soyinka was arrested for allegedly seizing the Western Region radio station and making a political broadcast disputing the published results of the elections of that year. The elections set the region ablaze, as they led to the most ugly outcomes, as they denied and thwarted the people’s will Soyinka, as a crucial part of his activist intervention in the politics of the day, moved into the Ibadan radio studio to switch the tape of Premier Ladoke Akintola’s broadcast. The aghast public, instead of hearing the Premier’s voice, heard another voice hectoring the Premier to ‘Get out!’
  Soyinka was immediately identified as the ‘mystery gunman’ who did the damage. He was declared wanted. He went into hiding, traveling to the Eastern region to be with Sam Aluko, who had taken appointment at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, after he had been hounded out of the University of Ife by Akintola’s goons. In December of that same year, he was acquitted for want of evidence.
  He wrote “Emergency Sketches” in 1962, and pressed lampoons on Dr. Moses Majekodunmi who had been appointed as the administrator of the troubled region.
  He waged consistent wars with the goons of the Premier of the Western Region, Akintola, who had fallen out with the party leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
  For visiting Col. Chukwuemeka Ojuku as part of efforts to stop the breakaway Biafra Republic, Soyinka was detained by the Federal Military Government on the orders of Yakubu Gowon. The country was teetering on the brink of Civil War following the controversial January 1966 coup carried out by army majors led by Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. The revenge coup of July 29, 1966 undertaken by Northern soldiers, led by Murtala Mohammed, in which the Head of State, General JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi was murdered alongside his host Adekunle Fajuyi in Ibadan worsened matters.
  Soyinka led a group he called the “Third Force” to counter the dangerous war propaganda raging at the time. He also outrageously countered the mantra formed with Gowon’s name, to wit, “Go on with one Nigeria,” with his own dictum: To have one Nigeria justice must be done! His imprisonment resulted in the prison memoir, The Man Died. He spent most of the prison term in solitary confinement, but he would not allow his mind to be broken by his captors. 
LIKE his famous Abiku poem of the child that dies and keeps coming back to haunt the parents, so,too has Soyinka kept faith as the gadfly of Nigeria’s leaders, who, it seems, swore not do the right thing by the people. As a humanist, he would not sit still and watch things go wrong, which explains his constant struggle with the authorities. However, tired of merely venting tirades against the authorities as a frontline activist, Soyinka rolled up his sleeves in 2011 to join the political fray. It was the launch of a new political party in Nigeria. He was elected unopposed as the national chairman at the party’s convention. Characteristically, however, he refused to run for office.
  By so doing, Kongi was following the examples of the likes of Leopold Sedar Senghor and Antonio Augustinho Neto - poet/leaders of Senegal and Angola, men who didn’t wait for the politicians to fail and then complain about bad politics and leadership. They got involved and set the tones for what leadership should be. Unfortunately, Soyinka didn’t go the full hug as those two exemplars. He stopped short; he did not wish to seek for office. He merely provided a platform for youth action, the proverbial future leaders of our time! And for riding the country of endemic corruption.
  The aim of the party The Democratic Front for a People’s Federation, according to him, would be a political party that reduces corruption and improve conditions in health and education. In his own words, “I wish to emphasise that function, and it is clearly meant both as a warning and exhortation. Above all, the DFPF is a party for frustrated youth and uncomfortable ideas.
  “The DFPF for now is disinterested in the overall national scene. But after taking control in one state, one council, one ward, would begin to reach out through example to others, gradually evolving a civic rule that governs and performs through mutual collaboration. Let this party resolve to overturn the iniquitous arrangement by which the national cake is swallowed entirely by those whose appointed task is to serve the sovereign electorate.
  “Is it really impossible to have a voice unless you are swimming in billions? Institutions are pauperized and degraded. The gutters run with filth while the legislators run with the money”.
  Soyinka based the ideology of his party on youth participation and activism, as the fulcrum of national rebirth, as youths are more impatient with the slow pace of development that has tended to stagnate their creative and unused talent and spirits. For the Nobel laureate, “I do not give a blanket exoneration to the youth. Some of them are more corrupt than the most corrupt military or politicians. But among them you have idealistic, committed young people of integrity who would just like a platform, a political platform, away from what this country has been able to offer them so far”.
SOYINKA’S activism stems from his avowed belief that art should serve humanity, especially the vulnerable segment of society by bringing about a change in society that can help such people actualize their dreams. The revolutionary tool Soyinka proposes to use for this end if the theatre, which speaks the ordinary man’s language. But beyond theatre, he has also appropriated the press conference medium, with the press as a strong ally in his fight for social justice and equality for all citizens.
  And so, while setting out on his literary journey, he’d stated, with regard to his use of theatre thus, “First of all I believe implicitly that any work of art which opens out the horizons of the human mind, the human intellect is by its very nature a force for change, a medium for change. In the black community here, theatre can be used and has been used as a form of purgation, it has been used cathartically; it has been used to make the black man in this society work out his historical experience and literally purge himself at the altar of self-realization. This is one use to which it can be put.
  “The other use, the other revolutionary use, may be far less overt, far less didactic, and less self-conscious. It has to do very simply with opening up the sensibilities of the black man not merely towards very profound and fundamental truths of his origin that are in Africa in suddenly opening new a means of making the audience question an identity which was taken for so long for granted, suddenly opening the audience up to a new existence, a new scale of values, a new self-submission, a communal rapport. By making the audience or a member of the audience go through this process, a reawakening has begun in the individual, which in turn affects his attitude to the external social realities. This for me is a revolutionary purpose...
  “Finally and most importantly, theatre is revolutionary when it awakens the individual in the audience, in the black community in this case, who for so long has tended to express his frustrated creativity in certain self-destructive ways, when it opens up to him the very possibility of participating creatively himself in this larger communal process. In other words, and this has been proven time and time again, new people who never believed that they even possessed the gift of self-expression become creative and this in turn activates other energies within the individual. I believe the creative process is the most energizing. And that is why it is so intimately related to the process of revolution within society”.
  This revolution, which the stage or theatre can engender, his it extension in society in Soyinka’s consciousness. It’s this revolution that he has continued to project in his political and social activism.
  Soyinka might not have been on the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) group, but he lent such force to the anti-military efforts that it became so portent to cause the military serious headache. In particular was his unabated harassment of Gen. Sanni Abacha’s military regime with its ribald bloodbath. Like many others, he was on the top list of those marked for death. When the manhunt became too intense, he fled through the border to escape.
  As part of his commitment to the struggle for a free and democratic Nigeria, Soyinka set up National Liberation Council of Nigeria (NALICON) in 1995. Like NADECO, NALICON’s mandate was to oust the military from power. It was the same year that Radio Democratic International was established to further push for the enthronement of democracy in the country. But just before the station started broadcasting operations, wife of MKO Abiola, Kudirat, was gunned down in Lagos. She’d championed campaigns for the release of her husband and his swearing in, believed to have won June 12, 1993 elections, as president. This senseless murder caused Soyinka and other promoters to change the name of the station to Radio Kudirat Nigeria.
With this station, Soyinka and his colleagues in the struggle for democracy harassed the military relentlessly. It became the single most effective weapon in the arsenal of the pro-democracy struggle. It told a different story to the outside world about abuses and repression going on in Nigeria.
(By Anote Ajeluorou: The Guardian)
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Canada-based Nigerian Singer and Actress, SONIA AIMY, has produced a song and visual in honour of the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka @ 80. With an inimitable velvety voice, the songwriter, singer, actress and cultural activist Sonia Aimy Oduwa is the quintessential virtuoso of world music. Her music juts out unrestrained brilliance evoking the sound of highlife, afro-jazz, and call-and-response traditional African griot styles. 

The song is titled Wole Soyinka.

Click on the link below to view it...

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"the three-and-a half-hour (7pm-10.30pm) charged and heated session of intense commentary on political, economic and sexuality discourses in the country and around the world"
Mutabaruka from Jamaica
A "FREE CREATIVE EXPRESSSON" in honour of WOLE SOYINKA @80 held last night at the main Auditorium of University of Lagos. Devoted to the theme DIALOGUE THROUGH SPOKEN WORD, the three-and-a half-hour (7pm-10.30pm) charged and heated session of intense commentary on political, economic and sexuality discourses in the country and around the world, was headlined by the big-boss of Spoken Word performances from Jamaica, MUTABARUKA and America's top-boy of Slam Poetry, JAVON JOHNSON and Nigeria's top-bills in performance poetry, SAGA HAS.SON, AJ DAGGAR TOLAR, EFE PAUL AZINO, UCHE UWADINACHI, DONNA OGUNNAIKE, TITILOPE SONUGA, AKEEM LASISI, DOLAPO OGUNWALE, FLOETRY, AYEOLA MABIAKU and aver 20 other young, fresh but vibrant voices. 

Javon Johnson from US
The night of "free mic and mind", anchored by Efe Paul Azino (of Unchained Voices) was witnessed by the Poetry laureates, the venerated NIYI OSUNDARE and FEMI OSOFISAN, accompanied by BEN TOMOLOJU, FOLU AGOI and other participants in the ongoing 2-day Wole Soyinka International Conference which ends today at Afe Babalola Hall, University of Lagos. 
Sage Hasson
The Free Creative Expression poetry concert continues in Abeokuta on Sunday at the Cultural Centre, where a line up of 80 poets will perform in honour of the Nobel laureate in continuation of the Project WS80 INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL EXCHANGE ending on Monday with presentation of the play, "DANCE OF THE FORESTS" (directed by Tunde Awosanmi) in the Ijegba Forest Residence of Soyinka.

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Friday, 11 July 2014


As the world celebrates the Nobel Laureate this July 13th, the University of Lagos community will play host to the world's spoken word Lord, Mutabaruka from Jamaica, Javon Johnson from the United States of America.

Mutabaruka from Jamaica
The spoken word feast will begin this Friday, July 11th, 6.30pm at UNILAG Main Auditorium with International Conference, Exhibition and Poetry Performances. Other acts slated to perform are Nigeria's SAGE HASSON, EFE PAUL AZINO, AJ DAGGAR TOLAR, TITILOPE SONUGA, DONNA OGUNNAIKE and 20 other leading voices of the genre...

Join the party!
Javon Johnson from US

Efe Paul Azino

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