Do Oluwole Soyinka and his Family and Friends Exist? By Somefun, Oluwasegun Ayokunle
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, so I also do not know him. I have only lived on hearsays and crumbs of rumours of him. It then would not be forward of me to say, Wole Soyinka to me 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.”
Enter reality today with all respect to this man more than old to be my grandfather- the Professor Wole Soyinka who with beautiful but misplaced human oriented ideals has said 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, as Professor Wole Soyinka will tell my unseen friend sorry. 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. The ideals of the Yoruba pantheon, the Orishas who their story pose that though there is a supreme deity but 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, 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.
My friend has not Met Wole Soyinka and so he asks if Wole Soyinka exists. It was then I echoed: “Do the people we hear about and cannot see exist? Do evil cults exist? The witches 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 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. The people who have been there can testify the title of that song was “Do Oluwole Soyinka and his family and friends exist?”
Somefun Oluwasegun lives in Lagos, Nigeria and tweets @Oluwasegunsomef. He is the editor at SamoluExpress.
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