Thursday, 13 July 2017

WOLE ȘOYINKA @ 83

Prof Soyinka and Dr Raphael James


Born July 13, 1934 in Abeokuta, Ogun State to Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, an Anglican Minister and the headmaster of St. Peters School in Abeokuta and Grace Eniola Soyinka, a political activist and the daughter of Rev. Canon JJ Ransome-Kuti. He attended St. Peters Primary School in Abeokuta; Abokuta Grammar School; Government College Ibadan; University College Ibadan (1952–54), he read English literature, Greek, and Western history. In 1953–54 as a student he wrote a short radio play for Nigerian Broadcasting Service, "Keffi's Birthday Threat," which was aired in July 1954. As a student he also founded the Pyrates Confraternity, an anti-corruption and justice-seeking student organization, alongside six other students. He left for England in 1954, joined the University of Leeds (1954–57).


Prof Soyinka at CRIMMD
He worked as an editor for the satirical magazine ‘The Eagle’. His first major play, The Swamp Dwellers (1958), was followed a year later by ‘The Lion and the Jewel, a comedy that attracted interest from several members of London's Royal Court Theatre. Encouraged, Soyinka moved to London, where he worked as a play reader for the Royal Court Theatre. During the same period, both of his plays were performed in Ibadan. They dealt with the uneasy relationship between progress and tradition in Nigeria.


Prof Soyinka with Africa's youngest published author - Ebube


CD at a rally beside the grave of Bashorun MKO Abiola (Hafsat Abiola, Prof Wole Soyinka, Dr Joe Odumaikin and others)
In 1957 his play ‘The Invention’ was the first of his works to be produced at the Royal Court Theatre. At that time his only published works were poems such as "The Immigrant" and "My Next Door Neighbour", published in ‘Black Orpheus magazine.’ He received a Rockefeller Research Fellowship from University College in Ibadan, his alma mater, for research on African theatre, and he returned to Nigeria. He produced ‘The Trials of Brother Jero’. And ‘A Dance of The Forest’ (1960), which became the official play for Nigerian Independence Day on October 1, 1960, he also established the "Nineteen-Sixty Masks", an amateur acting group.


Chief Mrs H.I.D. Awolowo with the Nobel laureate, prof Wole Soyinka
He worked as a lecturer at the Department of English Language at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-If in 1962. In 1963, he released the movie, Culture in Transition and in April 1964 ‘The Interpreters’, was published in London.

The Original Seven, at Tedder Hall Quadrangle, University College Ibadan in 1953 Wole Soyinka Ikpehare Aig Imoukhuede Sylvanus Egbuche Pius Oleghe Nathaniel Oyelola Muyiwa Awe Ralph Opara pirate fraternity


He is the founder of Drama Association of Nigeria. He resigned as a lecturer in 1964. He was arrested by government and was released by appeals from international community of writers. Out of prison he wrote Before the Blackout’,Kongi’s Harvest’ and ‘The Detainee’, a radio play for the BBC in London. He was later appointed Head of Department, Department of English Language at University of Lagos. In April 1965, ‘Kongi’s Harvest’ was produced at the International Festival of Negro Art in Dakar, Senegal; ‘The Road’ was awarded the Grand Prix and ‘The Lion and The Jewel’ was performed at Hampstead Theatre Club in London.


Prof Soyinka receiving his noble prize
General Yakubu Gowon arrested him in 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War and kept him in solitary confinement for two years. After his release he was appointed a professor at Cornell University,  and Emory University in Atlanta, where in 1996 he was appointed a Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts, he has also taught at the universities of Oxford, Harvard and Yale. He was a Professor of Comparative Literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University 1975-1999; Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US.

Wole Soyinka with a Guitar and his friend Banjo Solaru, London 1958
In 1984, his book ‘The Man Died’ was banned. In 1986 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first African laureate. In 1986, he received the Agip Prize for Literature. In 1988, his collection of poems ‘Mandela's Earth, and Other Poems’ was published, while in Nigeria another collection of essays entitled Art, Dialogue and Outrage: Essays on Literature and Culture appeared. In 1990, the second portion of his memoir ‘Isara: A Voyage Around Essay’ appeared. In July 1991 the BBC African Service transmitted his radio play ‘A Scourge of Hyacinths’, and the next year (1992) in Sienna (Italy), his play ‘From Zia with Love’ had its premiere. In 1993 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Harvard University. In 1994, he published his autobiography: ‘Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years (A Memoir: 1946–1965)’. In 1995 his play ‘The Beatification of Area Boy’ was published. In October 1994 he was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication. He fled Nigeria in 1994, in 1996 his book ‘The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis’ was first published. In 1999 a new volume of poems entitled Outsiders was released. His play King Baabu, premiered in Lagos in 2001, in 2002 a collection of his poems, ‘Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known’, was published. In 2006, his memoir You Must Set Forth at Dawn was published. In 2011, the African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre built a writers' enclave in his honour in Adeyipo Village, Ibadan, Oyo State. In 2014, he visited the CRIMMD PHOTO MUSEUM OF NIGERIAN HISTORY where he saw his photo at age 5 and he gave us very high commendation for preserving Nigerian history through photographs. Today, as he clocks 83, CRIMMD felicitate with him on this special occasion with a special book reading involving 10 of his books.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY PROF!! 
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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

HAPPY 51ST BIRTHDAY, DR. JOE OKEI-ODUMAKIN (JOSEPHINE OBIAJULU OKEI-ODUMAKIN)

Dr Joe with Dr. Raphael

Born in Zaria on July 4, 1966. She grew up in Ilorin, where she attended St. Barnabas Primary School, Ilorin, she obtained the First School Leaving Certificate. She thereafter moved to Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Ilorin where she passed her West Africa School Certificate. She pursued her A’ levels at the School of Basic Studies, Kwara State Polytechnic.


Dr Joe with Michelle Obama

She later proceeded to the University of Ilorin where she got a BA.ED English and Education in 1987. She returned to the same school and bagged her M.Ed in Guidance and Counselling and her Ph.D (History and Policy of Education) in 1996.


Dr. Joe with John Forbes Kerry American Secretary of State

She has about 29years experience in human rights work in Nigeria. She has been involved in over 2,000 cases of woman's rights violations, including extrajudicial killings of women or their husbands by the police. Her activism career commenced as the Secretary of Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State from 1988 – 1991 and later the Coordinator of Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State branch 1991 – 1996; Chairperson, Rethink Nigeria (1987 – 1992) and Chairperson, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, Kwara State branch (1990 – 1996). Her foray into human rights activism was during the President Babangida Military administration. She was arrested and detained for not less than seventeen times at different locations: Division B Police Station Ilorin; Police Headquarters Ilorin; SSS Headquarters Ilorin; SSS HQ Maitama Abuja; Panti Police Station Lagos; Kirikiri Prisons in Lagos; and Alagbon Close in Lagos. But her spirit was never daunted. She later became the Assistant General Secretary of Campaign For Democracy (CD) in 1994 at a time the battle against the annulment of June 12 was very fierce.


Dr. Joe with Chief Gani Fawehinmi - social critic, seasoned human and civil rights lawyer

Dr Joe with Billionaire Industrialist & Chairman Eleganza Group, Chief Razak Akanni Okoya.

She served as the General Secretary of the body from March 1996 – July 29, 2006 (10 years) before she became the President on July 29, 2006. She is also the Executive Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Democratic Studies, the President of Women Arise for Change Initiative; Chairman, Task Force of the Citizen Forum, Spokesperson, Coalition of Civil Society Organizations and President, Centre for Change in Community Development and Public Awareness(CDP).


Dr Joe with Abike Kafayat Oluwatoyin Dabiri-Erewa SSA to the president

Pro Wole Soyinka & Dr Joe, addressing the press

She has received over 100 awards at the national and international levels, including: “Hero of Democracy and Good Governance”; “Icon of Democracy”;  “The Hero of Democracy”;
“The Defender of Women’s Rights”; “Advocate for Good Governance Award”; “Role Model of the Year award”; “Champion of Women Empowerment”; “Beacon of Hope Award”; "Amazon of Democracy"; “Ambassador of Goodwill”; "Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award on Humanitarian Services/Icon of Hope"; "Excellence in Activism Award". On January 3, 2013 she won the "Eminent International Gold Award" presented to her by First Eminent Associates for her Activism and Heroism. She also won the International Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State, presented by Michelle Obama and John Kerry at the US State Department's Dean Acheson Auditorium in celebration of International Women's Day, 2013



Dr. Raphael with Comrade Yinka Odunmakin (Dr. Joe's husband)

She is happily married to Comrade Yinka Odunmakin.

Dr Joe with former, NBA, Dame Priscilia Kuye

Dr. Joe feeding her Ostriches


As she celebrate today July 4th, We at the CRIMMD FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY in Idimu honours her with a surprise lecture titled: "Women in activism in Nigeria" celebrating Dr. Joe Odumaikin @ 51. July 4th, 2017 time 10 am, with a cake cutting ceremony.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my darling sister, one I am proud of - DR JOSEPHINE!!!

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