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Bacchae essay



One of Africa’s greatest writers, Wole Soyinka is the first African to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. He is regarded as one of the finest poetical playwrights and has been imprisoned countless times for his outspoken views on the Nigerian government. He has been a controversial figure in Nigerian politics and has spent long periods of his life in exile. Soyinka has criticized several Nigerian military dictators, particularly late General Sanni Abacha, and has also condemned the tyrannical regime of Mugabe in Zimbabwe. His plays deal with a variety of themes, ranging from comedy to tragedy and from political satire to power struggles of the indigenous people. He played an active role in Nigeria’s political history and its struggle with British colonization. He is also recognised as one of the masters of dramatics and theatre, who presented crucial political issues through this literary works. Some of his most influential works include, ‘A dance of the Forests’, ‘Aké: The Years of Childhood’, ‘The Lion and the Jewel’ and ‘The Interpreters’. His recent book, ‘Of Africa’, is a path breaking revelation of Africa’s history, culture and heritage.

Wole Soyinka was born in the city of Abeokuta, Nigeria, which was then a part of the British Empire.

He was privileged to have access to radio and electricity at home as his father, Samuel Ayodele Soyinka’s held prominent position as an Anglican minister and headmaster.

He attended St. Peters Primary School and later, enrolled at the Abeokuta Grammar School, where his talent in literary composition was recognised and he won many prizes.

In 1952, he graduated from Government College and then studied English literature, Greek and Western history at the University College in Ibadan. In his last year at University, he worked on a short play for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service.

In 1954, he moved to England and continued to pursue his education at the University of Leeds, under the guidance of Wilson Knight. Here, he became the editor of ‘The Eagle’, the University magazine.

In 1972, he received the ‘Honoris Causa’ doctorate from the University of Leeds.

In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he became the first and only Nigerian and Second African to achieve this feat. The same year he was honored with the Agip Prize in Literature.

In 1993, he received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University.

In 1994, he was appointed as the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication.

In 2009, he was conferred the Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award.

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