Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Wole Soyinka

In his ongoing video interview series, “The Vine with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” The Root Editor-in-Chief talks with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka about Sudan, Mugabe, slavery and, of course, Obama…

I have known Wole Soyinka for 35 years. We met at the University of Cambridge in 1973, when I was a first-year student in the English Department, and Soyinka became my professor. He was living in exile, having just published “The Man Died,” the memoir of his 27 months in prison during the Nigerian civil war and a searing indictment of the Nigerian government. In one-on-one tutorials, he introduced me to African literature and myth and, as editor of Transition magazine, published my first essay in literary criticism. He encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. in English literature and became the first director of my dissertation. Over the years, we have become friends and colleagues. We trade stories on everything from Euripides and Shakespeare to which red wines go best with spicy food to which laptop is lightest and fastest (Soyinka is a techie, like his patron god, Ogun).

Read the rest and watch the video interview here.

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