‘I Shall Not Die But Live’ – Soyinka Speaks On Rumoured Death
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has spoken for the first time since his rumoured death last month, saying that he was surprised by the rumours.
Ezenwoko’s Blog reports that Ilemakin Soyinka, son of Nobel Laureate had denied social media reports claiming that his father is dead.
In an interview on October 11, Ilemakin Soyinka said his father is alive, urging the general public to disregard the rumours.
Also in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, the Nobel Laureate described the author of the rumour as wicked and sympathised with the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize for literature, Abdulrazak Gurna.
Soyinka said the Tanzanian’s Twitter account was hacked to pronounce his death which attracted numerous comments from users, while some expressed their condolences to the Soyinka family.
He said: “Well, my immediate reaction was ‘Let the (African) tribe expand’. Wherever or however situated.
“The second is to use this opportunity to extend my sympathy for his baptism of fire.
“His account was hacked into and used to announce my death just when I was looking forward to celebrating with this new club member. See how wicked people are. They used his account to pronounce me dead.
“So, I’m saying yet again, welcome to the club. You’re about to undergo the mystery aspect of this recognition which seems to excite some people in all kinds of strange ways.
“This is what we’ve been going through: having our identities stolen, words being put in our mouths, which we never said; positions being announced in our names, with our pictures attached.
“So welcome to the ‘wahala’, as we say in Nigeria.”
Speaking on his new novel “Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth”, Soyinka said the novel is all about Nigeria, adding that the country was not a total disaster.
On why now, 48 years after his last novel, the legendary playwright said: “Only a prose form can handle things that have been bubbling up inside me.
“The title was plucked ironically from reality. A poll was taken and Nigeria put among the top four happiest nations of the world.
“I wondered ‘who are these people, what do they know, what have they seen and experienced about Nigerians to make such an attribution?’
“So that claim, really, had been waiting to be answered in many ways. And when you look at the surrounding, everything is the opposite, opposite.
“And yet, Nigeria is not a complete disaster. People still manage to eat; to some extent, a dignified and satisfying living.
“And I think it’s not the surface appearance of contentment or making the best of a really bad job; insisting that no matter what life must go on by all kind of excessive, should we say, superficial means of demonstrating content.
“It’s that which needs to be ‘celebrated’ in addition, of course, to the bleak actualities.”