Thursday, December 1, 2016

Top 14 Facts About Wole Soyinka You Probably Didn't Know

The name, Wole Soyinka, is no doubt, phenomenal. It embodies many great things – activism, social crusade, satire, theatre, dramatization, literature, and the list is endless. In short, Wole Soyinka is a name associated with undying love for one’s country. And of course the man behind the name is a fierce, adamant social reformer whose literary prowess has been dedicated to the cause of social justice and cultural originality for years. He’s one of Nigeria’s finest writers, and sort of a jack of all – but of course Soyinka is a master of his trade. The iconic Literary Kongi transcends the written words; hear him speak and you’ll be amazed at how richly endowed a man could be – his speeches (one of which I was privileged to listen to live at the main auditorium at the University of Lagos) are electrifying. He is such a gem.

Now, how would hearing more of this great man of letters feel like? Great, right?


Below I’ve compiled 14 interesting facts about Oluwole Soyinka you probably never knew before.

1. Wole Soyinka is the First African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature

Yes, that was in 1986, a distinct era. What an awesome way to reward excellence!
Soyinka had written in virtually all genres of writing. His thought-provoking poems such as "The Interpreters", “Abiku” and “Night” are unique and powerfully aesthetic.
He also wrote while in prison, Season of Agony (1973) talks about his prison terms. Ake (1981) describes his early childhood.

All of these culminate in his being awarded the prestigious prize in 1986. After varieties of pieces of his literally works that affect and check even political issues, he was deemed fit to receive a Nobel Prize.

2. Wole was among the founders of the first Confraternity in Nigeria

In 1952, Wole Soyinka with six friends founded a Pyrate Confraternity in the University College, Ibadan.

This group aims to bridge the gap between elite college students and the middle class.
It also seeks to judge evil doers and minimize corruption. The group has survived and expanded, with its kinds in many countries today. Talk of Confraternities in Nigeria today and you’ll hear the name, Wole Soyinka as the brain behind its existence.

3. He is referred to as "the conscience of the nation"

Wole Soyinka is an active Nigerian who desires peace for the nation. He was ever ready to fight against injustice in the country. Even during the military regime, the literary icon was known for criticizing authorities, unfavourable policies and corrupt manners of the government would not have their ways where Wole Soyinka lives. No wonder he said in one of his books titled The Man Died, “The man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny.”

4. Wole Soyinka resigned from his University position as a protest

Wole Soyinka had to protest against the anti-people policy introduced by the government of the day. When he felt his position in the University would prevent him from achieving this aim, he resigned. What a man of courage!

5. Wole Soyinka is related to the family of Ransome Kuti

Wole's mother is a member of the notable Ransome Kuti’s family. The Ransome-Kutis are a prominent family in Nigeria. The renowned, fierce Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was one of the few courageous women’s rights activities Nigeria has ever had. In short, the Kutis are known for their contribution to the nation in art, politics, music, and cultural values.

6. He served jail terms

Wole's love and patriotism for Nigeria earned him imprisonment, not once -- twice. In 1965, he was arrested due to his firm stand to prosecute the issue of election malpractice. Wole Soyinka forced a radio announcer to broadcast that the election was false, claiming that it was rigged. After three months, the campaign from the International Community of Writers prompted his release.

In 1967, during the Civil War, Soyinka was accused of supporting the Biafrans. For this too, he was imprisoned for 22 months.

7. He wrote in Prison

While in Prison, Wole Soyinka's Muse never forsook him. Though denied access to materials, he managed to smuggle in pieces of tissues and liters to write on. Even while in the prison, he continued to writes notes and never stopped speaking tough against the government for its injustice and violation of fundamental human rights.

8. He exiled himself

In a bid to mediate between the two elephants in the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970, Wole Soyinka secretly organized a meeting attended by himself, the then military governor Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and others. He went into hiding after this event was later exposed. Also in 1994, during the rule of Gen. Sanni Abacha, he feared being arrested for advocating democracy in Nigeria. So, he fled the country for Paris. Later, he was to be seen living in the United States. However, when Sanni Abacha died in 1998, the indefatigable Soyinka returned home.

9. He's married three times, divorced twice.

Wole married his first wife Barbara Dixon in 1958, a British writer. And his second marriage was to Olaide Idowu, a Nigerian librarian in 1963. Both ended in a divorce.
His third wife Doherty Folake Soyinka was his student while he lectured at the University of Ife. Even though Folake's parents despised her idea to marry him due to his fame and especially his campus activities which were at the time considered ‘dangerous’, they later agreed when her siblings consented to the idea. He married her in 1989.

10. He is considered foremost a political activist

Nigerians value Wole Soyinka largely for his actions against injustice. What really made him famous was his criticism of successive governments. Most of his popular works, especially his plays, were a form of protest against societal injustice and exploitation of the people by the government.

11. He was named Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

In 1986, General Ibrahim Babangida awarded Wole Soyinka and named him the Commander of Federal Republic of Nigeria, an honour established in 1964 for citizens who have demonstrated immense positive contributions to the nation’s international image. It's one among the National Honors of Nigeria awarded to appreciate useful citizens of the country.

12. He's received other prestigious awards

He's widely known to have received a Nobel Prize in Literature. But the literary giant has aslo received other awards including Agip Prize in Literature (1986), ‘Honoris Causa’ doctorate from the University of Leeds (1972), Honorary doctorate from Harvard University (1993), UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication (1994), Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award (2009), to mention but a few.

13. Soyinka has an undying love for Nelson Mandela

Wole Soyinka displayed his love for the South African madiba Nelson Mandela when he dedicated his speech to him on the day of his award. Who knows, the Nobel Laureate winner must have got his lion-heartedness against injustice from the ‘husband’ of South African Apartheid system! Both Madiba and Soyinka had been imprisoned for fighting the cause of social justice and both remained unbroken and steadfast during their incarceration.  

14. Wole Soyinka condemns injustice not only in Nigeria, but in other countries too

Wole Soyinka does not limit his activities as an activist to Nigeria alone. He generally addresses other countries of the world too. Of course, Soyinka did not spare the likes of Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Idi Amin of Uganda and other chronically corrupt African leaders, of his literary koboko. Remember his brilliant satire, A Play of Giants.   

Now let’s face it: Wole Soyinka is one of the best writers the world has ever known. Well, many have compared this literary guru with William Shakespeare. But the truth is, none is like the other. To the great Shakespeare his world, to Soyinka his. Comparison or not, Soyinka is unique and literary feat should not be judged from a myopic lens – see him as not only an accomplished writer but also a fierce, never-say-never human rights activist. And the greatest voice the Nigerian literary scene has heard for many years. His latest work entitled Interinventions about which he himself said ‘My new book will draw blood’ is said to be – to be mild – mindboggling!

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Top 9 Time Management Tips for College Students

Time Management for College Students
Time lost can never be regained, the saying goes.

True, time management can be very difficult, especially when it comes to keeping up with so many tasks within a short time.

No wonder, everybody seems fond of the saying: 'There's no time!'

Between going to classes, doing assignments, taking tests, taking up a job and blending in some social activities, college students often stray and grow weary of keeping up with their schedules. As such, many have dropped out, others rusticated. Some even jeopardized their health.  No thanks to poor time management.

Fortunately, there's a way out. Below I've explained 9 effective ways you could manage your time to achieve success in your endeavours.

1.                       Make plans

As a student in college who wants to start on the right track, taking note of the semester's course calendar and making a to-do list on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, will help you know the due dates for some specific assignments, tests and will really help you avoid procrastination.

2.                      Break down projects

Being overwhelmed often leads to procrastination which eventually causes poor performance. Are you scared of a task, probably because it's too difficult? Or boring?

Yes, being scared or bored by a task often makes one lose the zeal to work, especially when the lecturer feels his course is indispensable.

But when you break down larger and complex projects, you are giving yourself more time for other things and you won't always have to get goosebumps by merely thinking about a task.

3.                    Beware of Time-wasters

One of the simplest yet efficient time management tips is by taking note of the things and people that drain your time. On realising the amount of time you spend on trivial things, you will be able to manage your time and fight distractions.

4.                   Be healthy

Going to school shouldn't make you neglect your wellbeing. Your school knows this much and that is why they ask for your health status in your first year. Likewise, you can't expect a person who is not in the right state of mind to perform effectively in both academic and social activities. So, by exercising your body regularly, eating a balanced diet, taking enough rest, you will increase your alertness and reduce stress. That way, you get things done faster and better.

5.                   Know yourself

Know your method and what works for you. If you're a social person, studying alone can be tiring and can hinder productivity. You can organise a reading group after lectures or in the later part of the day. But if you're a diehard lone reader, you have to discover the time of the day that works for you and use it to your advantage.

6.                     Be reflective

A simple way to improve your time management skill is to reflect on the things that you spend your time on. Knowing the task you didn't do well and the amount of time you devoted to it, would help you to reschedule your time for better result later.

7.                      Be flexible

Do not think you will always have to stick with the plan. No, I'm not saying you shouldn't be devoted or organised. I'm talking reality. Do make plans for unforeseen contingencies. To avoid getting disorganised on hearing that you have to submit an assignment faster than the due date, or maybe you fall sick two days to a test, then you need to have a plan-B and set aside time for these events.

8.                       Stay organised

In order to manage your time well and avoid disorganisation, you have to stick to your plans religiously. Don't bring in anything that doesn't belong except, maybe for something really important. Then, you have to adjust the time set for some easy tasks or you use part of your free time to achieve your aim.

9.                       Be disciplined

Yes, be disciplined! No one can achieve anything worthwhile if they aren't disciplined. Talk of making a plan, sticking to it, doing a particular thing continually. No! It won't be easy, but it takes self-discipline to turn a difficult task to an enjoyable one. It always turns out great in the end. In one word, being disciplined pays.

In sum, you need to always remind yourself that you are a college student. Try as much as you can to avoid distraction. And remember that a successful time manager will be less stressed, get more sleep and feel better about a job well done. Ultimately, he becomes a successful college student in the end. 
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Saturday, October 8, 2016

How To Be A Successful College Student

Being educated is so crucial nowadays that being properly schooled is not an option but a necessity. From the stress we go through to our parents' financial commitment, the sacrifices for acquisition of quality education should be made worthwhile. When you consider this, putting in your best effort to be a successful college student becomes necessary.

Below are 10 practical ways to become successful as a college student.

1. Be Convinced
The first thing to think about is, are you ready for this? Do you have what it takes to be a college student? When you think that through, and you have made up your mind, then you can start your studies with the determination to succeed. This is the most important point you have to hold on to. The mindset that you have to be successful; that you want to be the top of your class, you have to come out in flying colours, you want to make your parents and your country proud should adorn all your activities in school. This you will carry about throughout your studies. It will keep you going in case you want to deviate from your goals.

2. Make it a priority
To be a successful student, you have to make your studies a priority. In college, engaging in too many activities can distract you from focusing on your goals; from a night out with your friends, to a party going on, a dance and beauty contest, to different types of shows. All these make a part of a college student. Taking part in them is cool, but not to the extent that you neglect your studies. For instance, spending the whole night at a club when you have an exam coming up in two days can be costly, you know.

3. Be punctual in class
If you want to be a successful student, you have to be punctual in class. Come early before the lecturer comes in to the class. Don't be a type that always comes to class when the lecture has already started. You wouldn't want to be seen as a distraction, would you? Find a good seat in front and be attentive.

4. Be regular in class
To be punctual doesn't mean you’re regular, you can be punctual, but if you're not regular, you'll miss a lot.  That means you're always in class for all the lectures. That way, you'll gain a lot. Instead of collecting notes from a friend, that does not pay attention or that does not write well, you're well loaded with direct understanding of the course work. So exam stops being a monster.

5. Be attentive
Being attentive is very important to be a successful student, because you would not miss a thing your lecturer is saying. So before entering the classroom, you should sort out anything that will distract you. From a friend that wants to borrow your note, or your phone that will ring out distracting the peace of the class. Sort all these, set your mind at the lecture and concentrate fully.

6. Always take note
It's beneficial to jot down every little thing the lecturer says and don't miss a thing. By doing so, it will help your reading and you will know the area to concentrate on for your exams, and you will be successful doing this.

7. Study daily
After the close of the day in college, make a habit to study daily what you have been taught in the class. Even if it's just two hours per day. You will be able to recollect what you've been taught. Just dedicate the convenient hour for yourself and be consistent with it. And before you know it, success is yours.

8. Ask questions
When you're in class and the lecture is going on, but you're not clear about what the lecturer is saying, raise your hands and ask to clarify. Also, when you don't understand what the lecturer is saying, ask questions. Always ask questions and do not assume. Do not be discouraged by what other students might think of your inquisitiveness.

9. Have a study partner
It's a good thing to have a study partner. Both of you can devise a plan towards your goal, and set a table for reading which you must follow. You can even motivate each other and set penalties for anyone that deviates. For example, you can say anyone that does not study will do the laundry.

10. Create a study group
It's also important to have a study group, where all of you can brainstorm on what each person has covered. However, it is the best during the period of exams. You can share knowledge and solve questions together.

In conclusion, when you go by the points above, acquiring sound education through excellent academic performance will no longer be dreadful. That way, you not only make yourself proud, you also delight your sponsor. Most importantly, you're preparing yourself for a great future. In short, you'll become a successful college student.
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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Themes of “The Dining Table”

Below are a few of the prominent issues discussed in Gbanabom Hallowell’s poem titled “The Dining Table”.

War is evil: “The Dining Table” is an indication that war is suffering. In war, no one is spared. Everyone bears the brunt: the old, the young and even the pregnant woman. In the poem, words such as “gun wounds”, “scorpions”, roadblocks” and “pepper” all suggest pain, anguish, and hopelessness as the effects of war.
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Monday, June 27, 2016

Analysis of “The Dining Table” by Gbanabom Hallowell

The Dining Table by Gbanabom Hallowell
Considering the poet’s background, his home country being Sierra Leone and the mention of “guerrillas” and “table” both of which suggest a kind of plateau, which is found in the country, we can deduce that the poem is talking about the Sierra Leonean civil war of 1991-2002. "The Dining Table" is a revelation of the horror and terror of war, the sierra Leonean civil war that lasted 11 years and in which brothers massacred brothers in cold blood. Indeed, the poem “The Dining Table” may be looked at as Africa, a place in which “vegetable blood” flows endlessly like the river Nile. Of course, a talk about the civil war, as far as the African continent is concerned, is not restricted to Sierra Leone. Also caught up in this “vegetable blood” this “dinner” are Nigerian, Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, to mention a few. In fact, the poem, “The Dining Table” is about Africa’s image of carnage, of self-destruction as brought upon herself. The poem is thus fittingly regarded as a reflection on the untold hardships and anti-earth aftermath of war – any kind of war.
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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Themes of “Ambush”

themes of Ambush
The themes in a poem are the recurrent issues that help the understanding of the underlying meaning of that poem. Below are some of the important themes in the poem titled “Ambush”.

Dreams: In the poem, “Ambush” written by Gbemisola Adeoti, the land is likened to all kinds of wild animals such as a hawk, whale and tiger. Each of these animals often throws their preys into fear and chaos. The whale, for instance, swallows other fishes in the sea, the same way the African leaders usurp the people's acess to decent living standards. In the same way, the "land" is also regarded as a hawk that frustrates the people's lives as they run for dear life. As a tiger with sharp teeth, the land, Nigeria chases the people away from achieving their dreams. Being a carnivorous animal, the lion does not enter a bush except that all other animals scurry for safety. As the lion’s appearance in the wilderness portends a great danger to the animals, so do the African leaders, who are indeed lions in sheep clothes. During election, the people are cajoled into voting them into power. But the moment they get there, the people are forgotten. Not only do they also formulate policies that do not only frustrate the people, but also dash their hopes and aspirations.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summary of the poem, “Ambush” by Gbemisola Adeoti

Ambush by Gbemisola Adeoti
In the first 1-7 lines of “Ambush” by Gbemisola Adeoti, there is a picture of “a giant whale” that is so wicked it swallows all the tools used by the fisherman, thus “aborting dreams of a good catch.” Metaphorically, the Nigerian government nay-African leaders are the whale since their actions of mismanaging the people’s resources is an indication of dreams and hopes dashed. In this manner, therefore, the very resources, which the people depend on, have been unjustly “swallowed”.  Similarly, in lines 8-13, “the land” (Nigeria) is described as “a sabre-toothed tiger” so scary that only his “deep cry” make the “infants shudder home”.  In a way, these infants are the vulnerable citizens, the lower class, who owing to the frustrations from their government are left with no option except to find every possible means of escape from their leaders’ consciously manufactured “bayonets of tribulations”.
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Analysis of the Poem “Ambush” by Gbemisola Adeoti

After independence, most African leaders oppressed their citizens. The leaders became so selfish and greedy that they only catered to their own personal pockets at the expense of the masses. So they pillaged the wealth of the country dry. Because of this, unemployment became widespread; the people lack access to basic amenities such as food, shelter and electricity. To worsen the situation, civil wars and internal crises based on religion and ethnicities broke out. Of course, the people, the poor masses were the worse hit. Even when power changed from one system of government to another (Civilian to military and vice versa), there seemed to be no hope in sight. With each government came empty promises. The living condition of the people remained the same. The politicians under civilian dispensation are worse than their military counterparts are. They steal public funds with impunity while social infrastructures continue to deteriorate. It is this culture of impeding on the progress of the people that prompted Gbemisola Adeoti‘s poem titled “Ambush.” To the poet, by frustrating the led who has entrusted them with their collective properties, the leaders are laying ambush on their development.
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Themes of The Blood of a Stranger

Themes are the issues treated in a piece of literature. In The Blood of a Stranger, Dele Charley examines various issues some of which are highlighted below:

Deceit: Throughout the play, The Blood of a Stranger, deceit permeates every aspects of the characters' lives especially the antagonist such as Whitehead, Maligu, Parker and Soko. Maligu's deception is made known from his plans to make fortune from the white man's visit, at the expense of the people of Mandoland. This is evident in his conversation with Soko, from whom he canvasses support for his mischief. To the morally dangling priest, he says: "Do you want to die a poor man?" Similarly, Soko deceives the entire village regarding the coming of the white man when he lies that the oracle has indeed prophesied the event and that a virgin girl be sacrificed. In addition, the white man, Whitehead, and his assistant, Parker, connive to rob the village of her naturally endowed diamond while fooling the king and the palace chiefs that his mission is to empower the villagers through tobacco farming. With this, Charley seems to portray the deceptive and amoral means, which the White colonialists used in raping their colonies, African countries, of their God-given natural resources.
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Friday, March 18, 2016

The Plot of The Blood of a Stranger

The play, The Blood of a Stranger, discusses the trickery of the white men on the intelligence of the African people. Maligu the king’s adviser has just received a letter from his brother in the city about the coming of a Whiteman to Mandoland. Seeing a great opportunity in this visit, Maligu goes to Soko, the village priest, whom he tries to convince about the possibility of making money from the Whiteman’s visit. However, when the news reaches Santigi Mando V and his impetuous son, Kindo, it is met with suspicion because the land had in the past been forewarned of an impending danger if a stranger is accepted in the land. To Maligu and Soko, this will not help their plan. Therefore, Soko, being the priest, would have to cook up lies around the Whiteman’s coming to make the idea acceptable to the king. To this effect, Soko then divines that the oracle has indeed prophesied the coming of the stranger and that he must be warmly welcomed. To make it sound more convincing, he further states that the oracle has also offered that the blood of a virgin girl be spilled for sacrifice to ward off any evil as a result of the Whiteman’s visit.
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