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10 memorable quotes by Wole Soyinka

Besides his plays, poems and essays, Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka, is also famous for his pithy remarks. In commemoration of his birthday today, 13 July, we bring you a selection of his famous quotes.

As the Nobel laureate celebrates his birthday

Nigerian playwright, poet, essayist and novelist, Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Some of his famous works are, The Lion and the Jewel, The Trials of Brother Jero, Kongi’s Harvest, The Interpreters, The Man Died: Prison Notes, Aké: The Years of Childhood, You Must Set Forth at Dawn, and Mandela’s Earth and other poems. Soyinka was awarded the Noble Prize in Literature in 1986, making him the first African to receive the award in that category. Below is a selection of his words worth noting.

1) One’s own self-worth is tied to the worth of the community to which one belongs, which is intimately connected to humanity in general. What happens in Darfur becomes an assault on my own community, and on me as an individual. That’s what the human family is all about.

2) The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.

3) Books and all forms of writing are terror to those who wish to suppress the truth.

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Soyinka. Photo: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings/Flickr
Soyinka. Photo: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings/Flickr

More quotes from Soyinka

4) 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.

5) 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.

6) 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.

7) A tiger does not shout its tigritude, it acts.

8) 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.

9) The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.

10) Human life has meaning only to that degree and as long as it is lived in the service of humanity.

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Soyinka. Photo: Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center/Flickr
Soyinka. Photo: Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center/Flickr

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