Twenty years ago this October, Wole Soyinka became the first African to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Now, at 72, that gilded moment is just one peak in an astonishing life story of letters and bold, even rash, political activism.
It's been four decades since the young Nigerian writer and firebrand took over a radio station at gunpoint to denounce a stolen election. It's been years since he shared playwright honors with Tom Stoppard and a solitary jail cell with no one. And it's been years since he denounced neo-Tarzanism, suffered exile, and feared for his life in Atlanta.
But Soyinka is still writing, still plumbing Africa's soul, still denouncing dictators.
Hear a conversation with Africa's most acclaimed writer and unrelenting dissident, Wole Soyinka.
Quotes from the Show:
"European nations have a lot of restoration, a lot of restitution to make to the peoples of the African continent who've been brutalized by leaders with whom they [European nations] had very close association with." Wole Soyinka
"US intervention in the name of democracy has not always yielded the best results. ... And so, while I agree that the US has a moral obligation to come to the aid of the democratic movements on the African continent, we should be the ones to decide what kind of assistance that should be." Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka, essayist, poet, novelist, playwright, 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature recepient. His most recent work is "You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir."
This program aired on August 31, 2006.