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Wole Soyinka And The 30th Law Of Power - Literature - Nairaland

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Wole Soyinka And The 30th Law Of Power by SerrickBytes: 9:34am On Mar 21, 2022

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work –it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.
-Robert Greene, 48 laws of power

On 17th October 1986, when the Swedish Academy announced that the recipient for the year’s Nobel Prize in literature will be the renowned Nigerian writer and activist, Wole Soyinka, some critics dissented from the institution’s choice of Soyinka. However, they were countered with a superior argument, that the Nigerian merited the award ahead of his counterparts, not because of the versatility of his works (Soyinka writes in different genres and forms – Novel, Poetry, Prose, Essays, Plays and more), or because of its profundity, but mostly because of its subtlety. His writing does not seem contrived; he writes with a kind of ease, and wit, the same kind that is reflected in his persona – or was it not the same Wole Soyinka that remarked, “A Tiger does not proclaim its Tigritude, it pounces”.

In an interview, Wole Soyinka related his encounter with a Swedish journalist who had come to get his immediate reaction to the news of his Nobel Prize while he was in Paris, he said; “Apparently that journalist had been sent by the Nobel Academy. Wherever possible, they like to send somebody physically to deliver the news, and — or was it? No, his newspaper sent him to try and catch me and find my reaction. That newspaper was a Swedish newspaper which tried to get the immediate reaction of the Nobel laureate. So he came in and asked me. I said, “You, too?” He said, “No, no, this is it. This is quite true.” So I said, “Thank you very much. I’m going to sleep. I’ve just flown across the Atlantic. I’m tired.” “Oh,” he said, “but aren’t you going to wait and hear the news?” I said, “What news?” He said, “Well, it’s going to be announced by such-and-such a time.” I said, “Fine, I’m going to sleep.” But the phone didn’t allow me to sleep. So finally I gave up, made my coffee, and offered this man some. Then he was going from — switched on the television, switched on the radio, and he got tuned into the equivalent of national public service, this posh station. And then there was a program also by Bernard Pivot, a cultural program. And that man, he would go twiddle the knob. I started drinking my coffee and reading newspapers. And at the end of the program, he said, “But they haven’t announced it!” And of course I’d heard. So I enjoyed that moment. Because he missed it while he was at the radio. I think Bernard Pivot — somebody came in with a piece of paper, handed it to Pivot. He looked at it and put it beside him. And at the end of the program, he said, “Oh, the Nobel something has just been announced and it’s a Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka.” You know, so — the man — and he said, “They didn’t announce it!” I said, “Announce what?” He said, “The Nobel Prize, they didn’t…” “Oh,” I said, “they did, they did.” He said, “Who? Yes, yes, yes?” I said, “Wole Soyinka.” He said, “Well?” I said, “Well, what?” I said, “Isn’t that what you came for?” He said, “Yeah, yeah, but…” I said, “What do you want me to do? Get out the drums and start drumming, or singing, or faint or what? What do you want exactly?” He said, “But why didn’t you tell me?” I said, “But you didn’t ask me, as you recall, if it was announced, you were busy, all over the place.” That’s how I heard about it. I enjoyed the moment, actually, at the expense of the journalist.”

The Nobel Prize is considered to be the most prestigious award in the world, and it was expected that the recipient would be so overwhelmingly excited and would literally roll out the drums and start singing – that was what the journalist was there for – to catch such a moment. But then Wole Soyinka was at ease, making it look as if the Nobel Prize was just another of his accomplishments. As a profound dramatist himself, Wole Soyinka sure knows the import of heightening the audience’s interest; when probed about what has been the most excited moment of his career, Wole Soyinka said it is whenever he directs a successful play on stage, and not the Nobel Prize, which he referred to as “the Nobel Thing”. By downplaying the prize, Wole Soyinka raised his power bar, further delineating his effortlessness.

Another example depicting Wole Soyinka’s gracefulness is his home – situated in the middle of a forest near a flowing stream, built with red bricks, and complete with a theatre of its own. The surrounding towering trees conceal it from the view of the outside world, with only a narrow path and a sign etched on a tree that reads, “Trespassing Vehicles will be shot and eaten” – another of Soyinka’s wit and humor. Wole Soyinka is renowned for awe-inspiring his audience with rich vocabulary and an ingenious ability to coin terms and phrases from other words. He is often used as a yardstick to measure intelligence in Nigeria, but never as a yardstick for hard work – ignoring the fact that those grammatical words are not innate abilities, but a result of tedious studies and voracious reading. This is simply because the signs of hard-work are not reflected in Soyinka’s words.

Verily, Wole Soyinka, the octogenarian with the iconic full grey hair embodies the law of making your accomplishments seem effortless.

Takeaway Quote
“A line [of poetry] will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought, Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.”
-Adam's Curse, William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939

Excerpts is from my book “Transgressions and and Observances of the 48 Laws of Power in Nigeria”
available on Amazon Kindle.
Find it on Amazon with the serial number: B09S3YZ465

NB: If you require a creative ghost writer for your memoirs, autobiographies, tell-all-tales, reach me via
email: serrickbytes@gmail.com

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Wole Soyinka And The 30th Law Of Power by Daniel099341: 9:36am On Mar 21, 2022
If you love the law hit the like button �

4 Likes 1 Share

Re: Wole Soyinka And The 30th Law Of Power by kayo8080: 8:55pm On Mar 21, 2022
Lovely writeup.
Re: Wole Soyinka And The 30th Law Of Power by SerrickBytes: 4:14am On Mar 22, 2022
Lovely writeup.
Thank you smiley

1 Like

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