If Wole Soyinka and his Family and Friends Exist?

I have heard about the existence of this old boy with a beautiful mind, Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, ever since those yore days of childhood. Wole Soyinka does not know me, I have not seen him eyeball to eyeball or even caught a physical glimpse of him.Then, so I also do not know him. I have only lived on hearsays and crumbs of rumours of him. It then would not be any froward of my mock friend to say that, Wole Soyinka exists in a virtual space and he might not exist.

I have heard of him, seen people speak about him and had the opportune moment to see his pictures, live interviews and transcripts. As the times are, there are many with me who for our own personal reasons love Professor Wole Soyinka, the first Nobel Laureate of Literature from Africa. The truth yet still remains that he might not exist, since I have not since him eyeball to eyeball. For us, those we have not seen, the legends and the villains we read, hear and see through any media except the means of the physical contact are spirits and gods of the Niger Area. We have not seen them but we know that they exist. They give us their state of origin, brand them Nigerians, and tell us they exist and we can see their actions in reality and it is just as we cannot see the Living God but see his dot in everything.

It happened by that I was speaking to my mock friend, Babatunde who comes from Togo and so is a Togolese. During our not small talk, Babatunde opines that he does not believe the Prof Wole Soyinka exists. “Who is Soyinka?” He asks- “Never heard of him,” he adds. In my fool’s quest to prove that the Professor exists, I sent Babatunde all evidences I had got but since I didn’t have the wherewithal to get a face to face contact with Babatunde and the Professor, I had to make do with what I had. I sent books(fiction, drama, poetry and memoir), pictures, audio and video recordings of the Professor to him but Babatunde was and still is hardened, hoping to prove those of us who have not seen Professor Wole Soyinka physically and yet believes he exists as fools.

Babatunde is of his candid opinion that the person of Professor Wole Soyinka is a lie and that it is all a plan to play a fast one on people to believe in a literary legend/hero. He says, “Imagine you live in Zone A and another lives in Zone Z and it is such that you both have traversed the length of both zones and have not met each other. Obviously, to each other’s logical minds, you do not exist. Then say you hear of the other and hear people talk about the other, and then to your mind, they may or must exist or just know they exist or just believe they are unreal. Then you meet them one day and your opportunity comes and irrespective of the state of your believe of their existence, you know they exist for sure.” Babatunde ending his logical analysis speaks gently to my ears, “I will never meet this Oluwole you talk about and you will never meet him also. You believe he exists, I do not and I will continue so, no matter what, because if he exists he should beyond doubt be his responsibility to prove so to me, if possible by a physical meeting with me no matter how insignificant it seems.”

Enter reality today with all due respect to this man more than old to be my grandfather- the Professor Wole Soyinka who with beautiful people oriented ideals but misplaced spiritual oriented ideals has said that he finds a fine partner in the Yoruba god of iron, Ogun. To Wole Soyinka’s beautiful mind the existence of a one God is dishonest as his existence is to my friend Babatunde. Even with indispensable proofs throughout history. God tells him sorry, just as Professor Wole Soyinka will feel sorry for my unseen friend. He believes in the Yoruba Orishas. He finds them honest than the One true God. Even the Orishas believe in the one true God, Eledumare. If they say otherwise, then they are just as dishonest as they have been all along with humanity playing as gods of the earth.

There we find dubious the ideals of the Yoruba pantheon gods, the Orishas who their story pose that though there is a supreme deity, yet this being is not concerned about the realm of mortals but has designated the tasks to the hands of the Orishas. This ideal of humanism is what Soyinka terms honest, but of the God who created him and cares for him, he calls dishonest.

I have not met Wole Soyinka eyeball to eyeball, but I am convinced he exists and he is not a lie. The man obviously has done many right things like standing up for the oppressed, speaking for the freedom of others and he is more honest than our so-called religious pundits, who have the form of godliness but deny the power that makes it come alive. As rich as they are, these clerics continue exploitation and iniquity is the vogue. This is why if Wole Soyinka and his humanists family and atheists friends must exist, then the one true God must also exist.

My friend has not Met Wole Soyinka and so he asks if Wole Soyinka exists. It was then I went into a state of doubt and echoed: “Do the people we hear about and cannot see exist? Do evil cults exist? The witches that Leo Igwe says are not, do they exist? Do spirits exist? Do marine powers exist? Do dark forces exist? Do these Orishas exist? Do the Illuminati exist? Does God exist? Or is it all conspiracy or superstitions.” The truth is that many things exist and there are many misconceptions about them. The fact that we cannot see or understand them does not dim the truth of their ism.

My friend and Professor Wole Soyinka and his humanist family and friends- the atheists are in the same dilemma. They are too intelligent, logical, knowledgeably wise and curious to see reality itself. Even Dead men can talk and at that side of their story, we will realise the reality itself. Until then, I doubt the realistic Professor and many of his family and friends will ever believe and trust the ism of the one true God who is the only real hope.

Until the day that will never end, Babatunde is at the pier, where he had cast his bread upon the many waters. There he sits with his face on the waters. He plays his lute, the harmonics of that old song unsaid springs to life and he is still there today mocking those whose story he tells. Passers-by and Travellers abroad see him. They shake their head, each with his or her own view and conclusion of the story that old song unsaid had spoken to their hearts. This people who have been there can testify this story is true.

6 thoughts on “If Wole Soyinka and his Family and Friends Exist?” by Somefun Oluwasegun (@SamoluExpress)

  1. @samoluexpress Interesting article.

    Now about the opinion expressed…. I think you may not properly understand the old prof’s position entirely. What he and his ilk (myself included)reject is the “WESTERN & CHRISTIAN IDEA AND CONCEPT OF GOD AND SPIRITUALITY”.

    Chinua Achebe said, I quote: …“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”…

    With the abolishment of trading in slaves, the development of a “legitimate trade in commodities” as an alternative was pursued by private British interests and also became official British policy. The Royal Niger Company was one of the many private endeavors. You should already know how the story goes from there to independence. But what you may not know is that with the traders also came the missionaries. While these traders with their armies where lying and breaking treaties with local communities, subjugating entire peoples, the missionaries where preaching to the native. While the native saw his world turning into hell, the missionary was promising him heaven when he dies. Don’t for get that these traders where also Christians so also where their standing armies which they used to safe guard trade routes and threaten Chiefs and kings who were difficult to trick.
    Eventually, under Colonial rule these European missionaries assumed the values of the governance in terms of promoting education, health and welfare measures. Values intrinsically good in their own right but used as tools to make the native malleable to colonial rule. These missionaries effectively reinforced colonial policy.

    So for the Christian missionary it was bad to sell the African as a slave but it was okay to subjugate him in his home and steal the resources of his land because he’s a savage. … abi?

    For me it begs the question….
    “How can a another man take away your, freedom, your land, subjugate you and your family, steal your natural resources and sell your brothers & sisters as slaves and then tell you that his god is a “JUST GOD”, whom if you worship will guarantee you heaven when you die. Meanwhile this very man is living in heaven here on earth while he has put you in hell on earth…. like I said read your history.

    This is not to say that our African culture, belief and spirituality was superior and pure, some Igbo communities had and still have a very horrible caste system. The point I’m trying to make here is this. We had our own way of evaluating, understanding and interacting with the world and the reality of life here and beyond.And it was not evil. Have you ever head of adherents of the Deity, Ogun, raising and preaching to go and fight crusades & jihad like Christians and Muslims? Our may have not produced gunpowder and steam engines but it didn’t allow for the level of poverty, destruction and all round evil/nasty shit going on today and has been going on for years in Africa. Before the European came with his religion and trade, before the Arab came with his religion and trade you will be hard pressed to point to a time in history when we fought ourselves and more than 3 million people died within 3 years. Read your history with an open mind, do your research, we were at peace, minding our business before the European came here with his gods of war. We were neither evil or were we savages. We were human beings living in the corner of the world God gave to us minding our business.

    One of the oldest trick in the world is to convince another person that you have the answers to those ancient questions that haunts all men from birth to death, those questions that every form spirituality, religion or belief system man has invented has sought to answer. Nobody knows. I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that Christianity doesn’t have the answers.

    Black man, when we go know ourself? We still dey for colonial mentality.

  2. @codrojac Logical critique from you there.

    I have read a lot of history, and the Nigerian or in a more general term, the black man’s history is not unchecked in that list. I will take a check on your comments.

    Every born man has his views, but one thing I know is that Christianity is not a western concept. It didn’t even start there. It was not only the white man’s religion. Christianity is not a religion. It is how you live just like Christ. Men may have turned it to religion, but they too are just a sorry history and reality like we have in Nigeria today.
    Foe me, I wonder why some people choose to worship and put their believe in gods- demons that are lesser than them, a man- a son of God.
    There is one God and he is not just the Christian God,. He is the God of all flesh and spirits, seen and unseen.
    Just One life and he says, he is the way, the truth and the life.
    So, I don’t care what corruptions, deceit, some men claiming to be Christians have checked in their time and even now. Christianity is not that. It is Character.

    The human mind is intelligent and seeks to find. But God is not far, he is just before you as always. He has the answers
    History is there to see.

    For me, I am not too poised to defending my views. If you go with it, Fine, else if you say it does not follow, then that’s your take.
    Christianity is deeper and it is an experience with God. This is why it takes much heat from the world because it is not of the world.

    P.S: The white man certainly did not preach to Moses Orimolade or Ayo Babalola before they came to know Christ is the living God and their gods are the creature… Read your history well too..

  3. In words devoid of ambiguity or vagueness, history has been described as that which is important to a people in relation to memory which is important to the individual. Indeed, a people with no knowledge of their past could suffer from collective amnesia, groping blindly into the future without guide-posts of precedence to shape their course of actions. To this end, I’d dare say that @samoluexpress‘s article is well-written piece. I will like to immediately state that Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka is not an imaginary legendary icon but a real human being, a personification of Literature.

    It is true, as @codrojac points out that “it was bad to sell the African as a slave but it was okay to subjugate him in his home and steal the resources of his land because he’s a savage. … abi?”

    It is sad to state that blacks were exchanged like commercial commodities; blacks were exchanged for silk, gunpowder, alcohol and firearms. The chief participants of this degrading and demeaning activity of trading in human beings were the Portuguese, the English, the French, the Dutch and the Danish.
    The exchange of blacks as marketable commodities or articles of trade which was a really dehumanizing treatment of the Africans by the Westerners was principally triggered by difference in colour, “black” considered “African and inferior” and “white” considered “Western and superior.” The black man was seen as an economic tool by the whites as the South African Bloke Modisane says: White is right, and to be black is to be despised, dehumanized… classed among the beasts, hounded and persecuted, discriminated against, segregated and oppressed by government and by man’s greed. The trading in slaves that lasted for nearly almost three hundred years left Nigeria and West Africa at large poor, dependent and colonial; it drained off the tremendous human resources. It cannot be left unsaid that the ignominious slave traffic and the Industrial Revolution which started in Europe placed Nigeria and the African continent at a serious disadvantage.

    Indeed, during this period, from the seventeenth to the late eighteenth century, the effect of colonial government on the life of an ordinary person differed throughout the country; depending mainly on whether the European power was seeking merely to trade and govern, or whether it was primarily in search of land and minerals.

    The main purpose of the christian missionaries who came with the colonizers was to convert all those who came within the four walls of the mission house, church and school. Nigerian children were a captive audience and the missions made the most of the situation. As the daily school time-tables showed, Christian religion predominated, even though subjects such as geography and arithmetic were included in the curriculum. All other subjects, for example grammar, reading, spelling, meaning of words, etc., were taught with one overriding aim in mind: to enable the new Christian converts to acquire the mastery of the art of reading and writing with a view to facilitating the study of sacred writings and for the performance of their religious duties.

    While @codrojac‘s view that Christianity may not have all the answers is not far from the truth, I think Christianity is more about living like Christ as @samoluexpress has said. Anyways, life is a convoluted journey and one’s beliefs guide and guard him or her along the way.

    If you are a Christian, be a good one; if you are a Muslim, be a good one and if you are a traditionalist, be a good one. For me, there are only two kinds of people: good and bad people. Choose where you want to belong.

    Well done @samoluexpress & @codrojac

  4. You said it well

    1. Thanks for your understanding…inviting you, @samoluexpress, @schatzilein & @codrojac to check out my series at http://www.naijastories.com/2014/09/ghost-annabelle-episode-one/ and comment, good or bad.

      Thanks a million!

  5. @samoluexpress and @innoalifa … There is no outright discounting of your opinions. To seek a middle ground as you guys do, acknowledging past history and striving in what is good in Christianity is not a bad thing at all. But neither is it entirely a good thing. A house built on a faulty foundation is not a safe place to live in as it will surely fail and maim the occupants in that house.

    Consider this…

    “I break into your ancestral home where your extended family reside, steal a couple of your relatives, kill/rape a few more and then come back and say it was wrong that I now want to trade. Within a forthnight I then break into your house/land and claim it as mine, push your family all into one room and tax them for living in that one room. All the while all this mayhem is going on, my pious colleague is preaching to your family that our God is a Just and Merciful God. Is it not a fair question for you to ask what kind of God is this? What kind of justice and mercy is this?” Africans were not evil backward savages that needed to be killed, sold and subjugated in order for “Jesus Christ” to save us. But this fact, that we were evil backward savages was what drove the missionaries to come and “save us”. What kind of God seeks converts through lies?

    Ethiopians and the Coptics (The real remaining descendants of ancient Egyptians) where Christians way before Europe adopted Christianity. Let me ask you, what atrocity and evil did the Ethiopian and the Coptic Christians visit on the world? How many native American Indians, Africans or Australian Aborigines did they kill, rape and plunder?

    Like I said earlier, what the old prof and folks like myself reject is the western/European christian idea / concept of God and Spirituality….. it was and is a tool of religious, cultural and economic domination and exploitation. Our pastors and preachers know this very well and you can see how rich they are.

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