Examination of Notable Readers in Nigeria, their Lives and Achievements 2 - ETCSINES

Examination of Notable Readers in Nigeria, their Lifes and Achievements - ETCSINES


In considering today's focus, one cannot help but ask crucial questions like "How do I know someone who read or have been reading?" "What if the person who claimed to have been reading has actually been cramming?" "How can I vouch for someone else?" These are salient questions which ought to be asked while looking at this study critically. 

In answering these questions, I believe a simple test would do the trick. We have learned in our previous articles that people who cram are not usually used in their societies at least not for a long period of time as they cannot maintain nor sustain the knowledge gained. Thus, prominent readers can easily be spotted as they are always outstanding in their fields. Their works alone speak volumes. They can be called up at any time to apply their knowledge which is usually easy as they read to understand and acquire knowledge that will last for a long time unlike, people who cram for immediate purposes and high grades in examinations.

 A perfect epitome as case study is Professor Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka. A great icon and product of careful reading and acquisition of lasting knowledge. An invaluable man who has proved his worth over and over again in his chosen field and has impacted the society immensely at large. 

Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Babatunde Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria is a Nigerian playwright and poet. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be honored in that category. Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. After preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, he continued to the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, where, later, in 1973, he took his doctorate. During the six years spent in England, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London, 1958-1959. He went on to write plays that were produced in both Nigeria and UK, in theatres and on the radio. In 1960, he returned to Nigeria to study African drama. At the same time, he taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife, where since 1975, he has been a professor of comparative literature. In 1960, he founded the theatre group, "The 1960 Masks" and in 1964, the "Orisun Theatre Company", in which he has produced his own plays and taken part as an actor. He has periodically been visiting a professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale. 

He took an active role in Nigeria's political history and its struggle for independence from Great Britain. In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Regional Elections. In 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years.
In Nigeria, Soyinka was a Professor of Comparative Literature (1975 to 1999) at the Obafemi Awolowo University, then called the University of Ife. With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, he was made professor emeritus. While in the United States, he first taught at Cornell University as Goldwin Smith professor for African Studies and Theatre Arts from 1988-1991 and then at Emory University where in 1996 he was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts. Soyinka has been a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and has served as scholar-in-residence at NYU’s Institute of African American Affairs and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US. He has also taught at the universities of Oxford, Harvard, and Yale. He was awarded the Golden Plate award in 2009.

In December 2017, he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize in the "Special Prize" category awarded to someone who has “contributed to the realization of cultural events that promote understanding and the exchange of knowledge between peoples”.

Written by: Aduragbemi Akintepede (DuwaDiva)

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