Wole Soyinka in words

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In Nigeria
Jul 12th, 2014
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“The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.”

“Power is domination, control, and therefore a very selective form of truth which is a lie.”

“And I believe that the best learning process of any kind of craft is just to look at the work of others.”

 

“And gradually they’re beginning to recognize the fact that there’s nothing more secure than a democratic, accountable, and participatory form of government. But it’s sunk in only theoretically; it has not yet sunk in completely in practical terms.”

 

“Even when I’m writing plays I enjoy having company and mentally I think of that company as the company I’m writing for.”

“The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.”

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

 

“There is only one home to the life of a river-mussel; there is only one home to the life of a tortoise; there is only one shell to the soul of man: there is only one world to the spirit of our race. If that world leaves its course and smashes on boulders of the great void, whose world will give us shelter?”

 

“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 infact; can simplify the history of human society, the evolution of human society, as a contest between power and freedom.”

 

“Looking at faces of people, one gets the feeling there’s a lot of work to be done.”

 

“I grew up in an atmosphere where words were an integral part of culture.”

“My horizon on humanity is enlarged by reading the writers of poems, seeing a painting, listening to some music, some opera, which has nothing at all to do with a volatile human condition or struggle or whatever. It enriches me as a human being.”

 

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

 

“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.”

“I found, when I left, that there were others who felt the same way. We’d meet, they’d come and seek me out, we’d talk about the future. And I found that their depression and pessimism was every bit as acute as mine.”

 

“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.”

 

“Each time I think I’ve created time for myself, along comes a throwback to disrupt my private space.”

 

“I don’t really consider myself a novelist; it just came out purely by accident.”

 

“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.”

 

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

 

“See, even despite pious statements to the contrary, much of the industrialized world has not yet come to terms with the recognition of the fallacy of what I call the strong man syndrome.”

 

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

 

“The novel, for me, was an accident. I really don’t consider myself a novelist.”

 

“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.”

 

“Under a dictatorship, a nation ceases to exist. All that remains is a fiefdom, a planet of slaves regimented by aliens from outer space.”

 

“Education is lacking in most of those who pontificate.”

 

“I’m an Afro-realist. I take what comes, and I do my best to affect what is unacceptable in society.”

 

“No human is completely fearless.”

“Before you’re a writer, you’re a citizen, a human being, and therefore the weapons of the citizen are at your disposal to use or not use.”

“I don’t have the sort of temperament that submits to Christianity or Islam.”

 

“I like to say, ‘I spend one-third of my time in Nigeria, one-third in Europe or America, and one-third on a plane.”

 

“Military dictatorship, you can focus on it, you can fight it directly. It’s a band of power-driven people.”

 

“The blatant aggressiveness of theocracies I find distressing, because I grew up when Christians, Muslim and animists lived peacefully together.”

 

“The scales of reckoning with mortality are never evenly weighted, alas, and thus it is on the shoulders of the living that the burden of justice must continue to rest.”

 

“Colonialism bred an innate arrogance, but when you undertake that sort of imperial adventure, that arrogance gives way to a feeling of accommodativeness. You take pride in your openness.”

 

“Being the first black Nobel laureate, and the first African, the African world considered me personal property. I lost the remaining shreds of my anonymity, even to walk a few yards in London, Paris or Frankfurt without being stopped.”

 

“When I write plays, I’m already seeing the shapes on stage, of the actors and their interaction, and so on and so forth. I don’t think I’ve ever written one play as an abstract piece, as a literary piece, floating in the air somewhere, to be flushed out later on.”

 

“After the death of the sadistic dictator Gen. Sanni Abacha in 1998, Nigeria underwent a one-year transitional military administration headed by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, who uncharacteristically bowed out precisely on the promised date for military disengagement. Did the military truly disengage, however? No.”

 

“My understanding of the creative process is simply that all cultures and all concerns meet at a certain point, the human point in which everything is related to one another. That has been my creative experience. I never know who’s influencing me at any time.”

 

Courtesy: http://www.brainyquote.com

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