Wole Soyinka: I believe Nigeria can work as one entity
Professor Wole Soyinka, the first black Nobel Laureate in Literature, was the guest of Daniel Ford International, who hosted a town hall event with the central theme being the reading of Professor Soyinka’s latest work of prose, the ‘Chronicles From the Land of The Happiest People on Earth”, inside the British Library Knowledge Centre in London on Monday, November 22, 2021. The latest work was Professor Soyinka’s first sojourn back into prose in close to 50 years.
Professor Soyinka’s visit was however not limited to the town-hall. He was engaged in a robust two-day social calendar that included him speaking to an audience of almost 600 children at the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham, a sixth form college situated in the new Tottenham Football Stadium of which the school has close affiliations. Prof. Soyinka shared with the kids his rich history from his time in London as a supply teacher, cycling across London to and from many diverse schools all the way to his time in solitary confinement and the deep lessons it taught him. The students definitely left inspired and carried a piece of the flame for the next generation.
The visit also included a stop at Daniel Ford International’s office, Number 10, where Professor Soyinka signed copies of his book and culminated with the town hall event, held at the British Library. Professor Soyinka spoke about his latest piece of Prose, the necessity for it in these times based on the dangerous slide he has seen in society over the course of his life. He spoke about colonialism, the hopes they had for Nigeria as young people, the centralization of power and his view on it, the importance of community, his abiding hope in the future of Nigeria and the path forward as he sees it. It was an inspiring night for all who were there. Professor Soyinka then spent some more of his time after the event signing copies of his book and engaging with people before setting off for his next destination.
According to Yemi Edun, CEO, Daniel Ford, the event was an “evening intellectuals converged to listen to one of the best writers of this generation.” The book ‘Chronicles From the Land of The Happiest People on Earth’ mirrors the socio-political situation of Nigerian society and registered in the tone of a satirical caricature, as the title denotes.
The Evening with Professor Wole Soyinka was colourful and glamorous with the man of the moment himself, using the occasion to dissect the situation in the country and he implored the diaspora community to engage in such meetings to ask retrospective questions about what has happened to us as a people and proffer solutions.