Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Writing, Theater Arts, and Political Activism; conversation with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka; 4/16/98, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. Our guest is Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. In an extraordinarily prolific and rich body of work including plays, novels, poems, and essays, Professor Soyinka draws on both Yoruba and western culture to exquisitely weave a subtle understanding of the tragedy and comedy of the human condition. As a human rights activist, he has been a courageous voice for justice, freedom, and the end of tyranny. He has risked his life again and again to articulate the moral principles that provide the foundation for human rights, both in his native Nigeria and around the world.

  1. Background: The Early Years ... values ... words ... mother ... Yoruba culture ... school ... childhood figures
  2. Writing ... gestation of ideas ... theatrical writing ... poetry
  3. Theater ... transforming qualities ... social art form ... community involvement
  4. Truth and Power
  5. Political Prisoner ... isolation ... survival ... returning
  6. Political Activist ... life under Sani Abacha ... effect of Cold War's end ... confidence in the future
  7. Conclusion ... artist and activist ... paying attention to craft

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