The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.— Wole Soyinka
The most breathtaking Wole Soyinka quotes that are glad to read
Don't take shadows too seriously. Reality is your only safety. Continue to reject illusion.
Only 4 sets of people can vote for the PDP: (1) those who are intellectually blind; (2) those who are blinded by ethnicity; (3) those who are blinded by corruption and therefore afraid of the unknown, should power change hands; and finally (4) those who are suffering from a combination of the above terminal sicknesses.
Be yourself. Ultimately just be yourself.
Looking at faces of people, one gets the feeling there's a lot of work to be done.
I cannot accept the definition of collective good as articulated by a privileged minority in society, especially when that minority is in power.
But theater, because of its nature, both text, images, multimedia effects, has a wider base of communication with an audience. That's why I call it the most social of the various art forms.
I am convinced that Nigeria would have been a more highly developed country without the oil. I wished we'd never smelled the fumes of petroleum.
The writer is the visionary of his people... He anticipates, he warns.
Given the scale of trauma caused by the genocide, Rwanda has indicated that however thin the hope of a community can be, a hero always emerges. Although no one can dare claim that it is now a perfect state, and that no more work is needed, Rwanda has risen from the ashes as a model or truth and reconciliation.
Intolerance has become, I think, the reigning ideology of the world today, the intolerance versus intolerance and it's taken on lethal proportions.
People say human nature is a very vague expression, people tend to say human nature is corruptible anyway and it comes from a theological point of view, goes back to the Garden of Eden, that there is always this corrupt gene waiting to be activated that we inherited from the very beginning. I don't believe in that theological excuse.
The hand that dips into the bottom of the pot will eat the biggest snail.
Religion has really spawned some monsters.
It always has, historically. Go all the way back to the Inquisition, you know, the Crusades, the Jehad and so on.
The man dies in all those that keep silent.
It is the human potentials that interest me.
I travel and everywhere I go I am amazed at the presence of Nigerians. The intelligence, integrity, productivity, initiative.
There is only one home to the life of a river-mussel;
there is only one home to the life of a tortoise; there is only one shell to the soul of man: there is only one world to the spirit of our race. If that world leaves its course and smashes on boulders of the great void, whose world will give us shelter?
When a leader encourages the culture of impunity, the society is lost and it makes the work harder for the rest of us.
I know there are writers who get up every morning and sit by their typewriter or word processor or pad of paper and wait to write. I don't function that way. I go through a long period of gestation before I'm even ready to write.
Governance can dig itself into a huge hole and not even know it's in there.
. . . as far as the regime is concerned, well, the play is sheer terror for them. Because they feel, How dare - how dare anybody lift his or her voice in criticism against us? We have the guns. Their level of paranoia and power-drunkenness is unbelievable.
See, even despite pious statements to the contrary, much of the industrialized world has not yet come to terms with the recognition of the fallacy of what I call the strong man syndrome.
But when you're deprived of it for a lengthy period then you value human companionship. But you have to survive and so you devise all kinds of mental exercises and it's amazing.
Well, the first thing is that truth and power for me form an antithesis, an antagonism, which will hardly ever be resolved. I can define in fact, can simplify the history of human society, the evolution of human society, as a contest between power and freedom.
My father used to tell me stories before I fell asleep.
When the children would gather, at a certain point, I had a tendency to make up my own elementary variations on stories I had heard, or to invent totally new ones.
Very conscious of the fact that an effort was being made to destroy my mind, because I was deprived of books, deprived of any means of writing, deprived of human companionship. You never know how much you need it until you're deprived of it.
I think that feeling that if one believed absolutely in any cause, then one must have the confidence, the self-certainty, to go through with that particular course of action.
Each time I think Ive created time for myself, along comes a throwback to disrupt my private space.
We wasted a lot of creative energy in that immediate post colonial era, when there was a struggle between, you know, the Cold War between the capitalism and communism. Many writers just wasted their energy and their talent because they want to be ideologically correct and of course all they produced was propaganda.
I began writing early - very, very early.
.. I was already writing short stories for the radio and selling poems to poetry and art festivals; I was involved in school plays; I wrote essays, so there was no definite moment when I said, 'Now I'm a writer.' I've always been a writer.
Power is domination, control, and therefore a very selective form of truth which is a lie.
Let's say there are prospects for a new Nigeria, but I don't think we have a new Nigeria yet.
I'm not one of those writers I learned about who get up in the morning, put a piece of paper in their typewriter machine and start writing. That I've never understood.
My horizon on humanity is enlarged by reading the writers of poems, seeing a painting, listening to some music, some opera, which has nothing at all to do with a volatile human condition or struggle or whatever. It enriches me as a human being.
And I believe that the best learning process of any kind of craft is just to look at the work of others.
Culture is a matrix of infinite possibilities and choices.
From within the same culture matrix we can extract arguments and strategies for the degradation and ennoblement of our species, for its enslavement or liberation, for the suppression of its productive potential or its enhancement.
Everybody knows that fraternities are a normal culture in all colleges.
It exists in all colleges. President Clinton was a member of a fraternity. In fact, anybody who goes to College in the United States is a member of a College fraternity. There is absolutely nothing evil or occultic about fraternity.
Being the first black Nobel laureate, and the first African, the African world considered me personal property. I lost the remaining shreds of my anonymity, even to walk a few yards in London, Paris or Frankfurt without being stopped.
When you are looking for corruption, you should look at the entire stratum of the society, while some forms of corruption are direct, others are indirect.
No man beholds his mother's womb Yet who denies it's there? Coiled To the navel of the world is that Endless cord that links us all To the great Origin. If I lose my way. The trailing cord will bring me to the roots.
As a global citizen, I sometimes feel like denying my identity.
Colonialism bred an innate arrogance, but when you undertake that sort of imperial adventure, that arrogance gives way to a feeling of accommodativeness. You take pride in your openness.
There's something about the theater which makes my fingertips tingle.
My interest in culture generally is a comparative one, and I think that's where the word joy, I think, can be applicable. There's joy in actually seeing the relatedness, the connectedness of different cultures or recognising, for instance, your own culture in another or another culture in your own culture and feeling an air to all of them.
When you fight corruption, corruption strikes back and that is the truth because when you fight corruption, you get confidence and when it gets to impunity, then it gets aggressive and says, 'oh, so you think you are different? You think you are tough and different?' This is why some of us are almost permanently in the libel court.
History teaches us to beware of the excitation of the liberated and the injustices that often accompany their righteous thirst for justice.
I have no money to give to you but I have ideas and organizational capacity.
I grew up in an atmosphere where words were an integral part of culture.
What I teach is literary criticism and comparative literature and so on and that's my function, but from time to time it's possible for me actually to help a writer. I read something and something strikes me then, I feel I can talk to that writer about it.
One thing I can tell you is this, that I am not a methodical writer.