* Unveiling ‘Wole Soyinka Online Project’
* Unveiling of ETIKE REVOLUTION: The 40th Anniversary Retrospective
AS part of events to mark the season of his 89th birthday, a three-in-one event will be staged in the evening of Sunday, July 16, 2023 to unveil some archival materials from the vast artistic and intellectual resource of the Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka. Holding from 6pm at the Freedom Park, the old colonial prison on Broad Street, Lagos Island, where the global culture icon has his office, the Kongi’s Harvests Art Gallery, the double-bill event is essentially targeted at youthful population, who may not be too familiar with the essences of the works of the writer, rights activist and teacher.
According to a statement from the project’s Executive Director, Jahman o. Anikulapo, “A collaborative project involving four distinct organisations working on various aspects of Soyinka’s illustrious literary and public activism careers, the event is expected to be witnessed by, among others, members of the diplomatic circuit, captains of industry, eminent literary workers, scholars, culture activists and advocates, artistes and others.”
The statement further revealed the too main items on the bill. The first is the public unveiling of the Wole Soyinka Online Project. It’s a platform designed to (re)introduce and celebrate the life and works of the global cultural icon Soyinka and to activate a network of scholars of various levels across the world and attract the general public to reading and appreciation of the arts in general. The project brings together over 50 writers leading from over 35 countries across the globe. It is a project of the Commonwealth Institute of Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS)and the Cambridge African Roundtable. Some of the contributors will be in attendance at the event, and will be engaged by members of the audience. The presentation will be led by CIAPS Institute Director, Anthony Kila.
Prof Wole Soyinka
The second is the presentation of the 40th anniversary remake of the evergreen socio-political song, ETIKE REVOLUTION, composed and arranged by Soyinka, and first published in 1983 in the heat of political turmoil of the early 80s in the country. Remastered and produced by Concrete Communications Studios, the song has been re-interpreted by an array of veteran and young artists of varied political and ideological persuasions, including, the veteran actors Taiwo Ajai-lycett, Jimi Solanke, Ben Tomoloju, Yemi Shodimu, Joke Silva, Edmond Enaibe, Yemi Solade, Tunji Sotiminrin and Francis Onwochei. Others include the songstresses and musicians such as Yinka Davies, Debbie Ohiri, Isioma Williams, Edaoto Agbeniyi, and Segun Adefila and Jojo Bodybeats, etc.
Anikulapo also said all the featured artists also back up their vocal contributions with interviews reflecting on the content of the song and its relevance to the situation in the country today. Excerpts from the interviews which have been trending for weeks on social media will be screened. The presentation will be wrapped up with an extended interview with the composer and arranger himself, Soyinka. All or most of the artists will be present at the July 16 event to lend support to the public presentation of the song against the background of a musical concert that will feature other songs in some of the plays of the Nobel laureate. The presentation will be led by CEO of Concrete Communications Studios, Sir Semoore Badejo.
Anikulapo said other associated events for Soyinka @89 is the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) 2023. The 14-year-old Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) project, which has since 2010 presented an annual package of 3-day programme under its OpenDoorSeries, will be staging its prime event, the Advocacy Session on the platform of Kongi’s Harvests ’89. It will have two resource persons speak on the theme ‘Nation Building, Good Governance and National Development.’ The WSICE has since inception mentored over 30,000 secondary school students and youths on various themes around justice, freedom, leadership, nation building and national development, anchoring its yearly thematic focus on concepts that are core to Soyinka’s literary and public intellection careers.
There will also be excerpted performances from some of Soyinka’s plays, including the rarely performed The Road — as arranged and reinterpreted by members of the Crown Troupe of Africa, led by Segun Adefila. The play ran on stage on July 8 and 9 at Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos. Hosted and promoted by the management of Freedom Park Lagos, the July 16 event is technically supported by the producers of Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE), which yearly celebrates the birthday anniversary of Soyinka as part of the Advocacy Section of the yearly project. It is produced by the Culture Advocates Caucus (CAC).