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Born on the 13th of July 1934 to a Yoruba family in Abeokuta (Ogun State), today we celebrate the 81st birthday of Nigeria’s most famous poet and playwright, Wole Soyinka. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986 and became the first African laureate. Another notable award given to Wole Soyinka was the 2009 Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award.

Soyinka is famous for his impeccable poems such as Amber Wall, Wall of Mists and Conversations with a Cockroach. In addition, he has also written successful plays such as The Lion and the Jewel, Kongi’s Harvest, The Strong Breed and Death and the King’s Horseman.

The award winning poet and playwright has graced us with some powerful quotes since 1957 when he commenced his journey to success. Some of his quotes are stated below:

“A tiger does not shout its tigritude, it acts.”

“The hand that dips into the bottom of the pot will eat the biggest snail.”

“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.”

“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.”

“The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.”

“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.”

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Professor Wole Soyinka has 4 children and is married to Mrs Folake Soyinka (Nee Doherty). He is currently the Lagos Black Heritage Festival consultant. Lagos State regarded the Professor as the only person with the ability to dish out the festival’s goals and targets to the people.