Africa's first Nobelist, Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka - commonly referred to as Wole Soyinka, is celebrating his 77th birthday today. According to Cassava Republic, a list of literary events have been planned to celebrate this great personality.
In Abuja, the Arojah Royal Theatre will be hosting a series of readings from Soyinka's plays and poems, as well as talks around the theme "My Favourite Wole Soyinka Book". [courtesy: Cassava Republic]
Over here at ImageNations - and this is something we would be looking out for, henceforth - I bring you links to Soyinka's books that have been reviewed here:
- The first is his memoir You Must Set Forth at Dawn reviewed on August 25, 2010.
- The next is his play The Lion and the Jewel reviewed on November 22, 2010.
I also treat you to Soyinka's famous poem Telephone Conversation, wherein he treats racism with humour and sarcasm.
The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. “Madam,” I warned,
5 “I hate a wasted journey—I am African.”
Silence. Silenced transmission of
Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was, foully.
10 “HOW DARK?” . . . I had not misheard . . . “ARE YOU LIGHT
OR VERY DARK?” Button B. Button A. Stench
Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak.
Red booth. Red pillar-box. Red double-tiered
Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed
15 By ill-mannered silence, surrender
Pushed dumbfoundment to beg simplification.
Considerate she was, varying the emphasis—
“ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?” Revelation came.
“You mean—like plain or milk chocolate?”
20 Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light
Impersonality. Rapidly, wavelength adjusted,
I chose. “West African sepia”—and as an afterthought,
“Down in my passport.” Silence for spectroscopic
Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent
25 Hard on the mouthpiece. “WHAT’S THAT?” conceding,
“DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS.” “Like brunette.”
“THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?” “Not altogether.
Facially, I am brunette, but madam, you should see
The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet
30 Are a peroxide blonde. Friction, caused—
Foolishly, madam—by sitting down, has turned
My bottom raven black—One moment madam!”—sensing
Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap
About my ears—“Madam,” I pleaded, “wouldn’t you rather
35 See for yourself?”
Happy 77th birthday Soyinka... Ogun, the god of Iron, bless your path and lengthened your days on this earth, that whilst you leave you would still be with us.