Why I Fled From Nigerian Military Shortly After Being Enlisted – Wole Soyinka As He Marks His 86th Birthday

By Chinenye Festus:-
Nigerian Nobel laureate, Yoruba-born, Professor Akínwándé Olúwo̩lé Babátúndé S̩óyíinká clocked 86 (13 July 2020) has elucidated his motive for enlisting in the Nigerian Army officer Corp but decided to leave after a period.
When TheNEWS interviewed him on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 2014. Now he is 86 (born 13 July 1934). Soyinka said, “He would have become a retired General now!”.
“I told you, that was why I entered the military as a student joining the officer corps for a short while. I fled when they were going to pack me to the Suez instead of where I wanted to go – which was South Africa. I packed up my kit, saying: “I have always been obsessed with South Africa. And Mandela represents for me the bearer of African dignity. That’s why I used that expression that “the soul of Africa has departed” when he died.
“It was something which I didn’t really have to think about, that was how I felt on Nelson Mandela’s death. I did some reading at Marymount University after his death.
In his words: “I dedicated my Nobel Prize to Nelson Mandela. Why should that surprise you? I have been obsessed with South Africa since I was politically conscious.
“No, I wanted to train for South Africa, not for the Suez. You go and capture a canal on someone’s land, then declare war when he resists, and then you call me up to serve. Remember the Anglo-French invasion?
Soyinka also told the interviewers who cornered him at one of his hideouts in Lagos that he has “a very heightened individualist sensibility”.
When asked this question “Would you say that your childhood spent in a very exciting, if not tempestuous, an environment of political activism, in a home of a headmaster (your father) and a trader (your mother) who treated their fellow human beings well and lived an incredible life of service to their community, helped to mold you as an anti-establishment humanist who lives by egalitarian ethos?
Hear his response ”That word anti-establishment is debatable. One doesn’t set out to be anti-establishment. It is true that there are certain degrees of individualist consciousness, individualist inclinations which abhors regimentation.
In relation to what I was saying earlier, I have a very heightened individualist sensibility., I cannot treat faces as particles in a human congealment. No. Every human being is distinct, but the assertion of that distinctness cannot be at the expense of other individual entitlements. You assert your being to the fullest, …”

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