The man called 'Wole Soyinka is an African personality with an illustrious life journey worthy of some deep introspective reflections and high value moral lessons for most African youths living in these times. The white-haired Nigerian octogenarian is widely regarded and known for his very strong convictions as far as the politics of his home country and Africa, religion, and his area of expertise, literature is concerned. The elder statesman is one of the very few celebrated individuals on the continent of Africa whose proven track record of excellence in literature earned him the much coveted Nobel Prize award for his meritorious efforts in 1986 - the first of its kind in the field of literature for an African man.
Born Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka on the 13th of July 1934 in Isara Remo, Ogun state, South West Nigeria to a religious and highly influential family, young Wole Soyinka became a chorister in his early age. Wole Soyinka's mother was one of the most influential members of the Ransome-Kuti Family. She was the daughter of Rev, Canon J. J. Ransome Kuti. This makes Fela Kuti, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Olikoye Ransome-Kuti and Yemisi Ransome Kuti, cousins of Professor Wole Soyinka.
He attended the Government College in Ibadan for his secondary education and went on to study at the University College Ibadan for a degree in English, and subsequently to the University of Leeds in England. He is one of the greatest scholars of the last century. He is also known to be an active critic of successive Nigerian governments, especially the political tyrannies and dictators. Most of his works of art are politically inclined. He has written over 100 works in all genres of literature. He is known for his active participation in Nigeria’s political history and how he struggled to oust the British colonial masters in the 90s. He has also been hell bent on the eradication of every form of corrupt leadership in the entire African continent.
Professor Woke Soyinka has been married on three occasions and all of his marriages were blessed with children, five in total - three daughters and two sons. He married his current wife (the third woman), Mrs Folake Doherty-Soyinka in 1989. She was a student of Wole Soyinka at the Obafemi Awolowo University. Wole Soyinka was already a professor while she was an undergraduate student in the University. They both shared mutual feelings with each other but their relationship faced many hurdles as it was unethical for a Professor to be dating his student. Also, Folake Doherty’s family were scared of the status of Professor Wole Soyinka given his travails in the hands of the Nigerian state. A patient Wole Soyinka nurtured his feelings for her and waited till she graduated from the University, finished her National Youth Service Program before he sought her hand in marriage.
Prof. Wole Soyinka prefers the peace and quiet of life outside of social media, and as such much information about his personal life is not readily available for referencing. However his roles as political activist which included periods of imprisonment and exile are public knowledge. He founded, headed or participated in several political groups. Also a senior member in academia both home and abroad, he was professor of comparative literature (1975-1999) at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife where he conferred the rank of Professor Emeritus.
The erudite Prof. Wole Soyinka has continued to lead a normal life, full of age and experiences. Power of Africa believes that African youths must emulate statesmen personalities of Prof. Wole Soyinka's kind on the continent whose life and times by virtue of their achievements continues to x-ray Africa to the rest of the world in positive light.