Professor Wole Soyinka at 88

by Duchess Magazine

Professor Wole Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature is 88 years old today.


Akinwande Babatunde Oluwole Soyinka was born in Abeokuta on July 13, 1934 to an Anglican priest and a school principal father and her mother, a store keeper who was equally active during the Women Liberation Movement.

Wole Soyinka has six children.


He lectured in several universities among which are University of Ibadan where he also headed dramatic arts department: 1967-1972, University of ife (now Obefemi Awolowo University) : 1975-1985, he was a visiting fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge: 1973-1974, a visiting professor at University of Ghana, Legon: 1973-1974, University of Sheffield, 1974, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1979-80, and Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1986.


He attended St. Peter’s School, Ake, Abeokuta, 1938-1943 then proceeded to Abeokuta Grammar School, 1944-1945, Government College, Ibadan, 1946-1950, University College, Ibadan (now University of Ibadan), 1952-1954 and finally, University of Leeds, Yorkshire, 1954-1957 where we bagged a B.A. (honours) in English.
Soyinka is best known for his playwriting. His works include essays,poetry and novels. Thought he writes in English language,his works are deeply rooted in the Yoruba culture.


In 2021, Wole Soyinka was awarded a Nobel Prize which happened to be his 13th laureate.


Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun while felicitating with Wole Soyinka on his 88th birthday said,  “Ogun is proud to have a son who studied a language; began to teach the owners of the language the language, and invented words for the language, which the owners of the language have never heard of and now which has become regular lexicon of the, or if you like, their language. “

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