“Slavery and colonialism still haunting Africa” – Wole Soyinka at launch of his new book

by Rachel Ogbu

At the launching of his new book, Harmattan Haze on an African Spring, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka said that slavery and colonialism were two vital historical elements in Africa which the continent’s leaders still grapple with.

Speaking at the event on Tuesday December 18, he said the leaders had had to continually show resistance towards these two past events.

“Slavery and colonialism are two monumental events in the history of Africans. African leaders have failed to respond to these elements,” he said during the book launch programme titled: ‘A Conversation with Wole Soyinka.’

According to Soyinka, there is a need for Africa to return to its culture, beliefs and believe in itself.

The writer, who said he would not dwell on the challenges facing Nigeria, which he identified as bad leadership and corruption.

He added that a path not taken had continued to disturb the country till date.

On her part, former World Bank vice president, Oby Ezekwesili, wondered whether there was an original process which Africa missed in the quest for development.

Also, a director of Pan African University, Pat Utomi, hinged the problem of Nigeria on a lack of adequate penalty for infraction which he said, accounted for why people engage in criminal acts with impunity.

“Because you can do something and get away with it, there is a tendency that you will do it again and again,” he said.

On his part, poet and social critic, Odia Ofeimun, said the distrust which the colonialists left still abide with Africa.

He, however, called for efforts that would address the critical issues of development in Nigeria for the benefit of the citizenry.

Kayinsola Ajayi moderated the event with interlocutors such as arts enthusiast, Toyin Akinosho; Oby Ezekwesili, and Pat Utomi.

 

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