Wole Soyinka on Africa’s Role in the Slave Trade

At TheRoot.com, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka discusses Africa’s role in the slave trade in the two-part series, “Between Truth and Indulgences:”

“The process of the independence struggle had already thrown up ominous signs of human inequities that would bedevil a newly liberated entity — a familiar tendency toward self-attrition, once the external enemy is gone. I staged the play on the “Fringe,” as it were, and still partook in other events that marked the Great Day. I experienced no contradiction in all this — to participate in the insertion of a landmark event in national consciousness, yet exhume a shameful, glossed-over history as a warning for the future. That history was that of African’s culpability in the enslavement of her own kind.”

Read the rest: Between Truth and Indulgences

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.