General News of Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Mahama declares: Wole Soyinka will never die!

President John Mahama has paid glowing tribute to Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka for his phenomenal work as a writer and an activist.

At a high-profile launch of the book "The Crucible of the Ages" at the State Banquet Hall Tuesday, July 8, 2014, President Mahama said Prof. Soyinka has over the years demonstrated "intellectual rigour" in his works; using the power of the pen to advocate social change in Africa.

"Love him or hate him, Wole Soyinka always speaks his mind without fear or favour…Wole Soyinka will never die," he declared.

Speaking at the colourful ceremony, Prof. Wole Soyinka admonished African writers to write about the economic conditions of Africa underpinning the numerous social problems on the continent.

"Writers of the African continent don’t pay attention to economics. Despite everything, they write the way they want. Writers have to show the economic underpinnings of social problems on the continent," he said.

Prof. Wole Soyinka also paid tribute to Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, himself a special guest at the ceremony, for the economic transformation in his country.

"I salute President Paul Kagame. The transformation I have seen in Rwanda is founded on the respect for human rights and freedom," he said.

The Crucible of the Ages, a collection of essays written to commemorate the Nobel laureate’s 80th birthday, has been described as the most extensive and diversified on Soyinka's career. The book is edited by Ivor Agyeman-Duah and Ogochukwu Promise with a foreword by Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

Contributors to the publication include Nobel laureates- Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison and Derek Walcott; three African leaders- former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and scores of distinguished writers and scholars: Ama Ata Aidoo, Ngugi wa Thiong o', Sefi Atta, Ali Mazrui, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Toyin Falola, Nicholas Westcott and Prof. Atukwei Okai.

According to lead editor, Ivor Agyeman-Duah, "the essays transcend the personality of Soyinka as a prose master, language analyst and dramatist. It delves into multiple public policy implications of his work and Africa's many challenges and promises which have become a Crucible of the Ages".