10 THINGS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT WOLE SOYONKA

 Popular Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday turned 82, as Nigerians at home and in the diaspora continue to eulogize the living Nigerian legend.  As he marks his birthday today, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Soyinka.

 1.) He was born, Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Babatunde Soyinka, the second of six children

 2.) Soyinka is an atheist even though he was born a christian as his father was an Anglican minister and Headmaster of St. Peters School, Abeokuta while his mother was a strong member of the Anglican church.

 3.) Soyinka has been married three times and divorced twice. He has children from his three marriages. His first marriage was in 1958 to the late British writer, Barbara Dixon, mother of his first son, Olaokun. His second marriage was to Olaide Idowu with whom he had three daughters, Moremi, Iyetade (deceased), Peyibomi, and a son, Ilemakin. Soyinka married Folake Doherty in 1989, to whom he is currently married.  Wole and his daughter, Moremi

 4.) He is the first African to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

 5.) His cousins include legendary musician, Fela Kuti, human rights activist Beko Ransome-Kuti, politician Olikoye Ransome-Kuti and activist Yemisi Ransome-Kuti as Wole Soyinka’s mother was the daughter of Rev. Canon J. J. Ransome-Kuti.

 6.) Soyinka and six others founded the Pyrates Confraternity, the first confraternity (now referred to as cult) in Nigeria.

 7.) He studied English literature, Greek, and Western history at the University of Ibadan, which was then affiliated with the University of London. 

 8.) Soyinka was a very vocal critic of the government and this got him into trouble. He was once declared wanted by the government and twice went on self-imposed exile.

 9.) According to Wole Soyinka himself, his best friend was the late Femi Johnson, brother of Mobolaji Johnson, a former military Governor of Lagos State. Femi Johnson always came to Soyinka’s aid to hide him or give him financial support many times he got into trouble.


10.) When civilian rule was restored to Nigeria in 1999, Soyinka was made a Professor Emeritus.

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