Wole Soyinka Biography: Wives, Plays, Age, Books, Net Worth, Children, Nobel Prize, Education, Poems, House, Quotes

Wole Soyinka Biography: Wives, Plays, Age, Books, Net Worth, Children, Nobel Prize, Education, Poems, House, Quotes

Posted By Kaptain Kush

Biography

Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, better known by his pen name Wole Soyinka, is a Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist of international renown. Born on July 30, 1934, he is the first African to have been bestowed with the esteemed Nobel Prize for Literature, receiving the honor in 1986.

Wole Soyinka‘s oeuvre is vast and varied, encompassing plays, novels, poems, and essays marked by his dexterous command of the English language. He is known for his sharp wit, incisive observations, and unyielding commitment to truth and justice. As such, he has become a veritable oracle for the African continent, offering trenchant insights into its multifaceted experiences.

Wole Soyinka‘s works are indispensable for those seeking to deepen their understanding of African culture. His writing is both thought-provoking and emotionally resonant, providing a window into the complexities and richness of the African experience.

Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka: History ‧ Bio ‧ Photo
Wiki Facts & About Data
Full Name: Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka
Stage Name: Wole Soyinka
Born: 13 July 1934 (age 88 years old)
Place of Birth: Abeokuta, Ogun, Nigeria
State Of Origin: Ogun State
Nationality: Nigerian
Height: N/A
Parents: Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, Grace Eniola Soyinka
Siblings: Atinuke Tinu Aina Soyinka, Femi Soyinka, Yeside Soyinka, Omofolabo Folabo Ajayi-Soyinka, Kayode Soyinka, Folashade Soyinka
Wife • Spouse: Barbara Skeath, Olaide Idowu, Folake Doherty-Soyinka (m. 1989)
Girlfriend • Partner: N/A
Children: Olaokun Soyinka, Morenike Soyinka, Makin Soyinka, Moremi Soyinka-Onijala, Iyetade Apampa, Peyibomi Soyinka-Airewele, Oretunlewa Soyinka, Amani Soyinka, Tunlewa Soyinka, Bojode Soyinka, Eniara Soyinka
Occupation: Playwright • Novelist
Net Worth: $15 million

Early Life

Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, better known by his nom de plume Wole Soyinka, was born into a fascinating and multifaceted community in Abeokuta, Nigeria, on July 30, 1934. He is a descendant of the rulers of Isara. At the time, Nigeria was a British colony. He is the second of seven children. 

His siblings are Atinuke Tinu Aina Soyinka, Femi Soyinka, Yeside Soyinka, Omofolabo Folabo Ajayi-Soyinka, and Kayode Soyinka. Folashade Soyinka, his younger sister, died on her first birthday. The cultural and religious diversity of his upbringing, coupled with his early access to electricity and radio, no doubt contributed to the depth and complexity of his literary works.

As the second of seven siblings, Soyinka Soyinka was born into a family with strong ties to Nigeria’s founding fathers. His father, Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, was an Anglican minister and headmaster, while his mother, Grace Eniola Soyinka, was a political activist and devout Anglican. Despite being raised in a religious household that blended Yorùbá and Christian beliefs and practices, he eventually lost his faith as he grew older.

The religious and cultural diversity of Wole Soyinka‘s community, as well as his access to various forms of media, undoubtedly influenced his writing. His plays, novels, poems, and essays often incorporate elements of Nigerian folklore and mythology while also addressing pressing political and social issues. Wole Soyinka‘s incisive wit and an unerring commitment to truth and justice have earned him the esteemed Nobel Prize for Literature, making him a veritable sibyl for the African continent.

Education

From a young age, Wole Soyinka showed a writing talent and was awarded several prizes for his compositions while attending Abeokuta Grammar School. In 1946, he was accepted into Government College in Ibadan, one of Nigeria’s premier high schools.

He then pursued higher education at University Of Ibadan, affiliated with the University of London, from 1952 to 1954. There, he studied English and Greek literature and Western history under the tutelage of British literary scholar Molly Mahood, among others. In 1954, Wole Soyinka wrote and produced the radio play Keffi’s Birthday Treat for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service. He also co-founded the Pyrates Confraternity, the first fraternity in Nigeria, during his time at university.

Wole Soyinka‘s early education laid the foundation for his later success as a writer and political activist. His plays, novels, poems, and essays have earned him numerous awards and accolades, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. He continues to be a prominent and influential figure in Nigeria and around the world, using his writing and his voice to promote justice and freedom.

After completing his studies at University College Ibadan in 1954, Wole Soyinka embarked on a prolific and celebrated career as a writer and political activist. In 1959, he published his debut collection of poems, Idanre and Other Poems, which earned him widespread acclaim and solidified his reputation as a leading voice in Nigeria’s literary scene.

In the 1960s, Wole Soyinka‘s plays, such as The Trials of Brother Jero and The Lion and the Jewel, became prominent fixtures in Nigeria’s cultural landscape. These works, which addressed themes of corruption, injustice, and abuse of power, helped raise awareness about Nigeria’s challenges during its military dictatorships.

Throughout his career, Wole Soyinka has fearlessly used his writing and voice to advocate for justice and freedom. His efforts have been recognized with numerous awards, including the esteemed Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. He remains a preeminent and influential figure in Nigeria and beyond, using his prodigious talents to inspire and empower others.

Personal Life

As a distinguished scribe and Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka has been thrice wed and twice divorced. His first nuptials were to the now-deceased British author Barbara Skeath, whom he met at the University of Leeds in the 1950s. From this union, he sired two progeny: Olaokun Soyinka and Morenike Soyinka. In 1963, he espoused a Nigerian librarian named Olaide Idowu, and they begat four more offspring: Makin Soyinka, Moremi Soyinka-Onijala, Iyetade Apampa (who has since passed), and Peyibomi Soyinka-Airewele. He also has a son named Oretunlewa Soyinka from a previous union.

Wole Soyinka‘s youngest daughter is named Amani Soyinka. In 1989, he tied the knot with Folake Doherty-Soyinka, and they have three sons together: Tunlewa Soyinka, Bojode Soyinka, and Eniara Soyinka. In 2014, Wole Soyinka divulged to the public that he was combatting prostate cancer.

Wole Soyinka is an accomplished wordsmith, having published several novels, plays, and poems throughout his career. He is renowned for his political activism, often using his writing as a vehicle to critique the Nigerian government. He was once imprisoned for his opposition to the country’s military dictatorship in the 1960s and was later awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.

In addition to his writing and activism, Wole Soyinka is a venerated academic. He studied at the University of Leeds, obtaining a degree in English literature, and later taught at various universities in Nigeria and abroad. He holds the title of professor emeritus at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.

Despite his many accomplishments, Wole Soyinka remains modest and continues to utilize his platform to speak out against injustice. He continues to write and engage in political activism, remaining an esteemed figure in the literary world and Nigerian politics.

Career

After obtaining his MA from the University of LeedsWole Soyinka set sights on crafting plays that amalgamated European theater styles with those from his Yorùbá heritage. His inaugural major play, The Swamp Dwellers, debuted in 1958, and the following year, his comedy The Lion and the Jewel piqued the interest of several individuals at London’s Royal Court Theatre.

Buoyed by this response, Wole Soyinka relocated to London and secured employment as a play reader for the Royal Court Theatre. His plays continued to delve into Nigeria’s fraught relationship between progress and tradition. The Invention, his first play to be staged at the Royal Court Theatre, premiered in 1957. In addition to his plays, he also published poems such as The Immigrant and My Next Door Neighbor in the Nigerian magazine Black Orpheus.

Wole Soyinka‘s literary prowess was celebrated in 1986 when he became the first person from Africa to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was hailed as an individual “who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence.”

Reed Way Dasenbrock has opined that bestowing the Nobel Prize in Literature upon Wole Soyinka is “likely to occasion a great deal of controversy but is thoroughly merited.” He also points out that this marks the first time the Nobel Prize has been awarded to an African writer or to any writer from the “new literature” in English that has emerged from the former British colonies.

In his Nobel acceptance speech, “This Past Must Address Its Present,” Wole Soyinka addressed Nelson Mandela and his struggle for freedom in South Africa. His speech was a direct critique of apartheid and the racial segregation policies the National South African government enforced upon most of the population. In 1986, he was also honored with the Agip Prize for literature.

In August 2014, Wole Soyinka presented a recorded version of his speech, From Chibok with Love to the World Humanist Congress in Oxford, hosted by the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the British Humanist Association. The Congress theme was Freedom of thought and expression: Forging a 21st Century Enlightenment, and he was awarded the 2014 International Humanist Award. He has also served as scholar-in-residence at NYU’s Institute of African American Affairs.

Net Worth

Wole Soyinka is a celebrated Nigerian playwright renowned for his works, which have garnered numerous accolades, including the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is also a fervent political activist, often taking a stance against the Nigerian government.

It is believed that Wole Soyinka possesses a net worth of $15 million, which he has employed to support a range of causes, such as the arts and human rights.

Social Media

  • Instagram handle: @Wolesoyinka
  • Twitter handle: @Wolesoyinkacentre

Plays

  • Keffi’s Birthday Treat 
  • The Invention 
  • The Swamp Dwellers 
  • A Quality of Violence 
  • The Lion and the Jewel 
  • The Trials of Brother Jero 
  • A Dance of the Forests 
  • My Father’s Burden
  • The Strong Breed 
  • Before the Blackout 
  • Kongi’s Harvest
  • The Road 
  • Madmen and Specialists 
  • The Bacchae of Euripides 
  • Camwood on the Leaves 
  • Jero’s Metamorphosis 
  • Death and the King’s Horseman 
  • Opera Wonyosi 
  • Requiem for a Futurologist 
  • A Play of Giants 
  • Childe Internationale 
  • From Zia with Love
  • The Detainee 
  • A Scourge of Hyacinths
  • The Beatification of Area Boy 
  • Document of Identity 
  • King Baabu 
  • Etiki Revu Wetin
  • Alapata Apata



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