Cultural Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences
The Nobel Laureate Soyinka (born Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka) obtained his PhD from the University of Leeds. During 1958-1959 he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
In 1960 he received a Rockefeller Bursary to return to Nigeria to study African Drama. He also taught drama and literature at universities of Ibadan, Lagos and Ife. Since 1975 he has been Professor of Comparative Literature.
In Nigeria, he established theatre companies like “the 1960 Masks” (1960) that presented his first major play a dance of the forests and the “Unife Guerilla theatre” (1978) that presented plays and sketches attacking corruption and political oppression in Nigeria. His research interests satirized the absurdities of his society with a gently humorous and affectionate spirit. He has served as lecturer, Head of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Ife; Senior Lecturer at the University of Lagos; Director of the School of Drama and Head of the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan.
He was fellow at Churchill College of Cambridge and became full Professor in 1988 at Cornell University. He has been imprisoned for criticizing fraud of the results after the elections in Western Nigeria and for conspiring to aid Biafra’s independence movement.
He has been the outspoken critics of the concept of negritude, defended the idea that the West should pay reparations for crimes committed in Africa and campaigned for Idi Amin’s overthrow. He has published his autobiographical work (Aké: The Years of childhood); Isara, a voyage around “essay”, created plays like Kongi’s harvest; the lion and the jewel; a requiem for a futurologist and beautification of area boy. He has national, international and worldwide recognition.