Celebrating Soyinka at 85

Wole Soyinka

Yinka Olatunbosun

In its 10th year, the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) will celebrate the 85th birthday of the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka in a series of events which begins today and runs till Monday July 15. Over 200 local and international resource persons will serve as speakers, artists and mentors.

The Co-executive Producer, WSICE, Teju Kareem, explained that the Open Door Series is not to be misconstrued as the celebration of the date of birth of Soyinka.

“The man is not in anyway interested in such vanities as staging a party to celebrate his yearly birthday but the project is designed to celebrate the quintessential artist as an eminent promoter of the good of humanity,’’ he stated in a press release.

The programme starts with an advocacy session today at the Kongi’s Harvest, Freedom Park, Lagos with the theme, “Rights, Honour, Respect, Patriotism, Tolerance and Humanism.’’ This will be followed by a formal presentation of books, one of which is “Igho Goes to School” by Anote Ajelourou.

Others include, “The Soyinka Impulse: Essays on Wole Soyinka,” edited by Duro Oni and Bisi Adigun and compilation of winning essays by past winners of the annual WSICE essay competitions titled, “Memo on our Future: Essays by Nigerian Children as inspired by Wole Soyinka’s Visions’’.

A matinee, Soyinka’s Childe Internationale will be performed by Creative Majesty theatre company today and an evening show on Saturday, July 13 at Freedom Park, Lagos.

On Saturday, July 13, there will be an essay writing competition at Soyinka’s forest home in Ijegba alongside spelling bee contests, dancing competition, fashion parade, debates and cultural exhibitions. The final results will be declared on Sunday, July 14 by Prof. Soyinka while in Lagos, Freedom Park will witness Live Theatre Lagos’ production of Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman in collaboration with Park Theatre.

On Monday, July 15, a mentoring session will kick-off in Akure targeting 85 students and another 500 secondary students under the watch of Ondo State’s First Lady, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu. Later that day in Lagos, a documentary film on Soyinka will be screened at the Freedom Park in collaboration with IREP International Documentary Film Forum and Freedom Park Film Club.