Remarks at the Launch of All the Good Things Around Us- An Anthology of African Short Stories & May Their Shadows Never Shrink- Wole Soyinka and the Oxford Professorship of Poetry.
Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London.
August 15 2016
It is with pleasure that we have in this Parliament, the King of Ashanti, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the Nobel Laureate for Literature- Prof. Wole Soyinka. The former is the guardian of an ancient African political heritage and the latter a primogeniture of his generation’ arts and letters. Soyinka has for over sixty years defended this heritage that the King protects even if through its Yoruba equivalent.
His fifty year old famous play, Death and the King’s Horseman is partly about the dignity of African kingship. The Seven Signposts published decades ago is in defense of African traditional religion. It sets out precepts that most African religious beliefs identity with. It was partly written in anger following denigration by some scholars that indeed ancient Yoruba system of beliefs “did not qualify for consideration as religion because” they said, “it had no written scriptures.”