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THE LION AND THE JEWEL (BY WOLE SOYINKA) Written by Africa’s well known dramatist, Wole Soyinka, the

play has its setting in the village of Ilunjunle in Yoruba West Africa. It was published in 1963 by Oxford University Press. The play is characterized by culture conflict, ribald comedy and love, where the old culture represented by the uneducated people in Ilunjunle, led by Baroka, Sidi and the rest, clashes with the new culture led by Lakunle, who is educated, school teacher by profession is influenced by the western ways. Like the title suggests, The Lion and the Jewel (Three Crowns Book) is symbolic. The lion is Baroka and the jewel is Sidi. She is the village belle. The lion seeks to have the jewel. The play starts with Lakunle pouring out his heart to Sidi but she does not want to pay attention. If only Lakunle can pay dowry then she would marry him. But to Lakunle, that’s being barbaric, outdated and ignorant. If he could only make her understand. He says: “To pay price would be to buy a heifer off the market stall. You would be my chattel, my mere property.” Sidi does not pay attention. To her a girl for who dowry is not paid for will be hiding her shame for she will not be known as a virgin. Her beauty has captured many souls, besides Lakunle. There is the photographer who took her photos and published them in a magazine, and even Baroka the lion, the bale/chieftain of Ilunjunle as well as other girls in the village. Sidi also brags a lot about her beauty. She is not afraid to speak of it in public. Baroka has many wives though, despite his wanting Sidi for a wife. On seeing her in a magazine seated alone, he laments: “Yes yes…………… it is five full months since I last took a wife…..five full months” (page 18) Sadiku is Baroka’s head wife. As custom suggests, the last wife of the previous bale/chief becomes the head wife of the new chief once succeeded. Her duty as a head wife is to lure any woman Baroka pleases to have into getting her. Sidi turns off Baroka’s proposal in the most demeaning way, through his head wife. She scorns him: “Compare my image and that of your lord… an age of a difference….”

See how water glistens my face…. But he-his is like a leather piece torn rudely from the saddle of his horse. Baroka blames it on himself when he gets the news of his rejected proposal. He says: “My man hood ended a week ago.” Sadiku rather glad about Baroka’s confession tells the news to Sidi. Sidi goes to see Baroka on the grounds that she did not intend to reject his invitation and proposal well knowing that he would not be capable of doing anything. In an unexpected turn of events, Baroka manages to seduce her and win her over Lakunle. *********************************************************************** * Wole Soyinka Wole Soyinka 13 July 1934 (age 77) Born Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria Occupation Author, Poet Nationality Nigerian Genres Drama, Poetry Subjects Comparative literature Nobel Prize in Literature Notable award(s) 1986 Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka (born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, where he was recognised as a man "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence",[1][2] and became the first African in Africa and in Diaspora to be so honoured. In 1994, he was designated UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication. One of the most prominent members of the eminent Ransome-Kuti family, his mother Grace Eniola was the daughter of Rev. Canon JJ Ransome-Kuti, sister to Olusegun Azariah Ransome-Kuti and Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, making Soyinka cousin to the late Fela Kuti, the late Beko Ransome-Kuti, the late Olikoye Ransome-Kuti and to Yemisi Ransome-Kuti.[3]

during the Nigerian Civil War he was arrested by the Federal Government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for his attempts at brokering a peace between the warring Nigerian and Biafran parties. This activism has often exposed him to great personal risk. specifically. consistent and outspoken critic of many Nigerian military dictators. Soyinka escaped from Nigeria via the "Nadeco Route" on motorcycle. arraigned but freed on a technicality by Justice Esho. A great deal of his writing has been concerned with "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it". Canon SA Soyinka (aka "Teacher pupa" (light skinned teacher)). He became a Professor of Comparative Literature at the then University of Ife in 1975. His experiences in prison are recounted in his book The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka (1972). a Remo family from Isara-Remo on July 13. He then studied at the University College. 1934. He was arrested. Ibadan. Ibadan. During Abacha's regime. His father was Christian Clergy.Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. He was released 22 months later after international attention was drawn to his unwarranted imprisonment. and of political tyrannies worldwide. He taught in the Universities of Lagos. While abroad. he visited parliaments and conferred with world leaders to impose a regime of . He is currently an Emeritus Professor at the same university. He worked as a play reader at the Royal Court Theatre in London before returning to Nigeria to study African drama. He received a primary school education in Abeokuta and attended secondary school at Government College. including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. In 1967. Soyinka has played an active role in Nigeria's political history. most notable during the government of General Sani Abacha (1993–1998). He has been an implacable. While in prison he wrote poetry on tissue paper which was published in a collection titled Poems from Prison. which pronounced a death sentence on him "in absentia". Ile-Ife). In 1965. Ibadan (1952–1954) where he founded the pyrates confraternity (an anti-corruption and justice seeking student organization) and the University of Leeds (1954–1957) from which he received a First class honours degree in English Literature. and Ife (now [[Obafemi Awolowo University[[. he made a broadcast demanding the cancellation of the rigged Western Nigeria Regional Elections following his seizure of the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio.

with influences from both Christianity and his culture's traditional beliefs. Peters Primary School. Soyinka returned to a hero's welcome back in Lagos. In 1946 he was accepted by Government College in Ibadan. Nigeria. His father. Las Vegas and the President's Marymount Institute Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Soyinka moved to Lagos where he found employment as a clerk. Living abroad. After the completion of his studies there. after attending St. where he won several prizes for literary composition. California. When civilian rule returned in 1999. Soyinka is currently the Elias Ghanem Professor of Creative Writing at the English department of the University of Nevada. He accepted an Emeritus Professorship at Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) on the condition that the university bar all former military officers from the position of chancellor. Soyinka's mother. as the second of six children of Samuel Ayodele Soyinka and Grace Eniola Soyinka. in the city of Abeokuta. or "Essay" in literalized form. Peters School in Abẹokuta. Woodruff Professor of the Arts in 1996. at that time one of Nigeria’s elite secondary schools. The home of the Soyinka family had electricity and radio (chiefly thanks to his father). Soyinka went to Abẹokuta Grammar School.sanctions against the brutal Abacha regime. dubbed by him as "Wild Christian". he was a professor first at Cornell University and then subsequently taught at Emory University in Atlanta.A. His mother was Anglican. where he was appointed Robert W. Ogun State in Nigeria's Western Region (at that time a British dominion). During this time he wrote some radio plays and short stories that . Soyinka grew up in an atmosphere of religious syncretism. was the headmaster of St. US. whom he often refers to as S. In 1940. 2012 Soyinka stated he and other prominent Nigerians are on a list of targets marked for assassination by Boko Haram[5] Biography Early life Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934. These actions and his setting up of the Radio Kudirat helped immensely in securing Nigeria's return to civilian democratic governance. mainly in the United States.[4] On February 6. although much of the community followed indigenous Yorùbá religious tradition. owned a shop in the nearby market and was a political activist within the women's movement in the local community.

Soyinka and six others founded the Pyrates Confraternity. In a page two column in The Eagle. he wrote The Lion and the Jewel. he began studies at University College in Ibadan. and Western history. During this course he studied English literature. Well known for his sharp tongue..A. Soyinka successfully engaged in literary fiction. Soyinka gives a detailed account of his early life in Aké: The Years of Childhood. both of his plays were performed in Ibadan. gifted British writers. titled The Swamp Dwellers.A. He also worked as an editor for The Eagle. the first confraternity in Nigeria. During the same period. under the supervision of his mentor Wilson Knight at the University of Leeds. After finishing his course in 1952. Soyinka commenced work on his first publication." which was broadcast in July 1954 on Nigerian Radio Times. affronted and insulted female colleagues. which chronicles his experiences until about the age of ten. After completing his degree. Studies abroad and at home Later in 1954 Soyinka relocated to England. he remained in Leeds with the intention of earning an M. where he worked as a play reader for the Royal Court Theatre. He became acquainted then with a number of young. Soyinka decided to attempt to merge European theatrical traditions with those of his Yorùbá cultural heritage. a short radio broadcast for Nigerian Broadcasting Service National Programme called "Keffi's Birthday Threat. Greek. One year later. In the year 1953-1954. Soyinka left Leeds and moved to London.were broadcast on Nigerian radio stations. . connected with University of London. Encouraged. an infrequent periodical of humorous character. his second and last at University College. often stingingly criticizing his university peers. Before defending his B. Ibadan. he is said to have courteously defended. Influenced by his promoter. where he continued his studies in English literature. In 1958 his first major play emerged. publishing several pieces of comedic nature. he wrote commentaries on academic life. a comedy which received interest from several members of London's Royal Court Theatre. Whilst at university.

In March he produced his new satire The Trials of Brother Jero. On 1 October 1960. This had usurped the democraticallyelected. his first feature-length movie emerged.However. Soyinka discussed current affairs with "negrophiles. his essay "Towards a True Theater" was published. and returned to Nigeria. Soyinka established an amateur ensemble acting company which would consume much of his time over the next few years: the Nineteen-Sixty Masks. Also in 1960. he criticized Leopold Senghor's Négritude as a nostalgic and indiscriminate glorification of the black African past that ignores the potential benefits of modernization. Soyinka published various works satirizing the "emergency" in the Western Region of Nigeria. by 1960. At the end of 1963. This imbalance eventually led to a coup by military officers under Major Kaduna Nzeogwu. "a complex but also . The increasingly militarized occupation of the Western Region eventually led to a disequilibrium in power. Culture in Transition. "it acts. a biting criticism of Nigeria's political elites. A Dance of The Forest. "A tiger does not shout its tigritude. One of his most recognized plays. and he began working for the Department of English Language at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ifẹ. With the money gained from the Rockefeller Foundation for research on African Theater. In addition to these activities. Yorùbá-based Action Group (AG) political party by installing the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP). an amalgamation of conservative Yoruba interests backed by the largely Northern-dominated federal government." In December 1962." he declared. Soyinka bought a Land Rover and began traveling throughout the country as a researcher with the Department of English Language of the University College in Ibadan. In an essay published at this time. it premiered in Lagos as Nigeria celebrated its sovereignty. Soyinka had received the Rockefeller Research Fellowship from his alma mater in Ibadan. placing the more left-leaning Action Group and the Igbo-centric National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in tenuous positions. won a contest as the official play for Nigerian Independence Day. as national politics began catering exclusively to more conservative interests." and on several occasions openly opposed government censorship. as his Yorùbá homeland was increasingly occupied and controlled by the federal government. In April 1964 The Interpreters.

together with other scientists and men of theater. Droves of Igbos were forced to return home. he founded the Drama Association of Nigeria. In June. Immediately following the coup. Soyinka's political speeches at that time criticized the cult of personality and government corruption in African dictatorships. where calls for secession from the Nigerian state increased under military governor Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Soyinka who had gained considerable respect within Nigeria would involve himself in the destabilizing political situation. with the aim of averting civil war. where another of his plays. which many considered to be of genocidal proportions.Before the Blackout and the comedy Kongi’s Harvest . Senegal. That December. as a result of protests by the international community of writers. was awarded the Grand Prix. placing General Yakubu Gowan in the position of head of state. At the end of the year he was promoted to headmaster and senior lecturer in the Department of English Language at Lagos University. The Road. he was arrested for the first time.aas well as a radio play for the BBC in London called The Detainee. April 1965 brought a revival of his play Kongi’s Harvest at the International Festival of Negro Art in Dakar. he secretly and unofficially met Ojukwu in the Southeastern town of Enugu.[6] was published in London. For his attempts at . sectarian violence erupted as many Igbo living outside of their homeland in the southeast were subjected to violent retaliatory action. In August 1967. but he was released after a few months of confinement.vividly documentary novel". this time led by a cabal of largely Northern officers. This same year he resigned his university post. After becoming chief of Cathedral of Drama at University of Ibadan. as a protest against imposed pro-government behavior by authorities. accused of underlying tapes during reproduction of recorded speech of the winner of Nigerian elections. Civil war involvement and imprisonment The coup led by Major Chukwuma K Nzeogwu in January 1966 was counteracted by another coup in July of the same year. A few months later. This same year he also wrote two more dramatic pieces . Soyinka produced his play The Lion and The Jewel for Hampstead Theatre Club in London.

who had recently been appointed to commanding officer for the Western Region. this altered the terms and conditions of the war drastically. Following the occupation of the Midwest. He also published a collection of his poetry entitled Idanre and Other Poems. For these efforts. pens. Banjọ intimated to Soyinka a message of critical importance in regards to Biafra's goals. Ọbasanjọ disclosed his meeting with Soyinka to his superiors. his involvement in the developing national crisis did not end here. and paper. Four evenings after Soyinka returned to the West. Soyinka was forced to commence living underground. which they eventually did.[8] . which he claimed were "national liberation" for the whole of Nigeria. Soyinka was then incarcerated until the end of the unfolding civil war. Though he was refused basic materials. kindred spirit. as the Biafrans had turned into both secessionists and expansionists. Unfortunately Ọbasanjọ's decision to side with the Nigerian federation had already been made. he did manage to write a significant body of poems and notes criticizing the Nigerian government. his play The Lion and The Jewel was produced in Accra. However. Banjọ sought the support of Western military leaders. an area which previously maintained de facto neutrality. and protector. whom Soyinka regards irreligiously as his companion deity. he delivered Banjo's message directly to Lieutenant Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo. in September 1967. who declared the writer a traitor and convened search parties to obtain Soyinka for arrest. Wọle returned to Ẹnugu to meet with Victor Banjọ. Soyinka met Obasanjo face-to-face to relay the goals of the Biafrans to the man in control of the West. for continuing his creative work during much of his imprisonment. Despite his imprisonment. Idanre was inspired by Soyinka’s visit to the sanctuary of the Yorùbá deity Ogun.negotiating a peaceful solution to the conflict. in particular. He endured imprisonment for 22 months [7] as his country slid into civil war between the federal government and the Biafrans. such as books. and in November The Trials of Brother Jero and The Strong Breed were produced in the Greenwich Mews Theatre in New York. signaling the commencement of civil war. Biafran forces invaded the Midwest region. The invasion of the Midwest eventually sparked counter-attacks into the Midwest by federal government forces. a Yorùbá who had been swayed to the Biafran side.

With the intention of gaining theatrical experience." both tackling the uneasy relationship between progress and tradition in Africa. in the Paris production of Murderous Angels. In 1971 his poetry collection A Shuttle in the Crypt was published. In June 1970. Soyinka translated from Yoruba a fantastical novel by his compatriot D. At the end of the year. O. Soyinka completed his first two important plays. while simultaneously creating a film by the same title. a collection of notes from prison. where he sought solitude after the period of mental stagnation. Release and literary productivity In the late 1950s. also in New York. he went on a trip to the famous Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre Center in Waterford. and cooperated in the founding of the literary periodical “Black Orpheus”. the group Negro Ensemble Company showed Kongi’s Harvest. where his latest play premiered. Kinshasa. While still imprisoned. amnesty was proclaimed. From this experience emerged The Bacchae of Euripides. In April. Fagunwa. Connecticut in the United States. At that time his only published works were poems such as "The Immigrant" and "My Next Door Neighbour. along with the group of fifteen actors of Ibadan University Theatre Art Company.[10] In October 1969. and Soyinka was released from prison. Soyinka resigned from his duties . was issued the same year. For the first few months after his release.In 1968. a reworking of the Pentheus myth." which appeared in the magazine Black Orpheus. Soyinka took the lead role as the murdered first Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo. Soyinka stayed at a friend’s farm in southern France. In 1970 he produced the play Kongi’s Harvest. called The Forest of a Thousand Demons: A Hunter's Saga. While Madmen and Specialists was exposed afresh in Ibadan. he returned to his office of Headmaster of Cathedral of Drama in Ibadan. Poems from Prison. concerned about the political situation in Nigeria.[11] He soon published out of London a tome of his poetry based on his experience in prison. His powerful autobiographical work The Man Died. "The Swamp Dwellers" and "The Lion and the Jewel. called Madman and Specialists. when the civil war came to an end. he concluded another play.[9] His play "The Invention" was staged in 1957 at the Royal Court Theatre.

in which Soyinka explores the genesis of mysticism in African theatre and. He underwent one year's probation at Churchill College of Cambridge University. published by the Oxford University Press. In 1977 Opera Wọnyọsi. In 1973 the National Theatre. he delivered a series of guest lectures and became a professor at the University of Ife. At the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana in Legon. another of his novels. Soyinka utilized his columns in Transition to once again attack the “negrofiles” (in his essay “Neo-Tarzanism: The Poetics of Pseudo-Transition”). After the political turnover in Nigeria. and military regimes. protesting against the military junta of Idi Amin in Uganda. and gave a series of lectures at a number of European universities. and Jero's Metamorphosis were first published. and in 1979 he both directed and acted in Jon Blair and Norman Fenton's drama The Biko Inquest. which commissioned the play. Literature and the African World . in addition to his Collected Plays. Season of Anomy. his adaptation of Bertold Brecht's The Threepenny Opera. was the University in Ibadan. fragments of his famous play “The Dance of The Forests” were performed. In 1974 Collected Plays. compares and contrasts European and African cultures. the French version of The Dance of The Forests was performed in Dakar. Volume II was issued by Oxford University Press. In 1976 the poetry collection Ogun Abibiman appeared. In October. premiered The Bacchae of Euripides in a "reputedly misconceived" production. a South African student and human rights activist beaten to death by Apartheid police forces. while in Ife Death and The King’s Horseman premiered. In July. in Paris. Soon thereafter. using examples from the literatures of both continents.[11] In 1973 the plays Camwood on the Leaves. and began a few years of voluntary exile. In 1981 Wọle Soyinka’s . and a collection of essays entitled Myth. London. a work based on the story of Steve Biko. and the subversion of Gowon's military regime in 1975 he returned to his homeland and re-assumed his position of the Cathedral of Comparative Literature at the University of Ife. came out. a magazine based in the Ghanaian capital Accra (where he moved for some time). In 1972 he was declared an Honoris Causa doctorate by the University of Leeds. From 1973-1975. In 1975 Soyinka was promoted to the position of editor for Transition. Soyinka devoted himself to scientific activity.

During that time he was among the authorities at the University of Ife. Soyinka founded another theatrical group (after Nineteen-Sixty Masks). it is vivid to the five senses of man that he is an infant prodigy. From the memoir. In 1983 the play Requiem for a Futurologist had its initial performance at the University of Ife. he directed the film Blues for a Prodigal.[12] Soyinka was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. His Nobel acceptance speech was devoted to South African freedom-fighter Nelson Mandela. among other duties. The years 1975-1984 were for Soyinka a period of increased political activity. and in 1985. In July one of Soyinka's musical projects. The memoirs. . he received the Agip Prize for Literature. he was responsible for the security of public roads. and often found himself at odds with Shagari's military successor. A Play of Giants.first autobiographical novel Ake: The Years of Childhood was released. the play Requiem for a Futurologist went into print in London. where a number of prominent Nigerian musicians play songs composed by and provided with lyrics by Wọle Soyinka. Soyinka's speech was an outspoken criticism of apartheid and the politics of racial segregation imposed on the majority by the Nationalist South African government. He continuously criticized the corruption in the government of democratically-elected President Shehu Shagari. a Nigerian court banned The Man Died. as one “who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence” becoming the first African laureate. In 1984. the Unlimited Liability Company. issued a long-play record titled I Love My Country. which premiered the same year as a new play. Both are sublime and classic. Nobel Prize laureate In 1960. Soyinka is regarded number one producer of memoirs in the world. its aim being to cooperate with local communities analyzing their actual problems and then responding to some of their grievances in dramatic sketches. called Guerrilla Unit. In 1986. With a total of five memoirs. Ake: The Years of Childhood and You Must Set Forth at Dawn portray literature as a foundation of pleasure. Muhammadu Buhari. In 1984. he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama.

Soyinka's Nobel Prize Lecture. Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known. resulting in the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. and Other Poems was published. In November 1994 Soyinka fled from Nigeria through the border with Benin and then to the United States. media and communication. They can move passionate hearts to reason and tears. In 1993 Soyinka was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Harvard University. his play From Zia with Love has its premiere. human rights. In July 1991 the BBC African Service transmits his radio play A Scourge of Hyacinths. premiered in Lagos in 2001.[13] In 1990. his new collection of poems Mandela's Earth. the second portion of his memoir called Isara: A Voyage Around Essay appeared. In the same year. and the next year (in June 1992) in Siena (Italy). In 1996 his book The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis was first published. was . It is an ideal legacy for people interested in rhetorics." judged to be very revealing. In 1999 a new volume of poems entitled Outsiders was released.[14] is a political satire on the theme of African dictatorship and the "warped aspect of human nature that makes people think they have the right to dominate others and also inflict very agonising experiences on fellow humans". The Lecture is the most revealing and downright message concerning the enslaved. Dialogue and Outrage: Essays on Literature and Culture appeared. poignant. history and International Relations. [14] In 2002 a collection of his poems. Soyinka accepted the position of professor of African studies and theatre at Cornell University. the disparate words moved the entire world to reason and tears. based on events which took place in Nigeria in the 1980s. revelling. colonized and disparaged Africans and International Affairs since the foundation of Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901. In 1997 Soyinka was charged with treason by the government of General Sani Abacha. The following year his play The Beatification of Area Boy was published. Both works are very bitter political parodies. At long last. The next year appears another part of his autobiography Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years (A Memoir: 1946-1965). "This Past Must Address Its Present. is an eye-opener to the misdeeds of the Apartheid South Africa. His play King Baabu. after 27 years behind bars. In 1988. freedom of expression. while in Nigeria another collection of essays entitled Art. eloquent. On 21 October 1994 Soyinka was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Promotion of African culture. The power of words cannot be underestimated.

smiling at serendipities and bypassing much luxury on the laps of man. [8] It is obvious. Soyinka continues to serve as resource person globally while acting as inspiration and voice of conscience to leaders[17] and recently in the wake of the Christmas Day (2009) attempted bombing cautioned that the United Kingdom's social logic which allows every religion to openly proselytize their faith is being abused by religious fundamentalists thereby turning England into a cesspit for the breeding of extremism. which officially launched on Annenberg Media's educational website in September. In April 2006.published by Methuen. guardian of his personal being and "my companion deity". it does not go beyond his literary interest [19] Style and valor With the wink and nod of a writer of smooth-hewn background.[18] The muse of a wordsmith Soyinka frequently refers to Ogun. . his memoirs. He affirmed that freedom of worship is logical and correct but warned against the consequence of the illogic of allowing religions to preach apocalyptic violence. Soyinka has continued to raise his voice to the ceiling ever since he wrote his unique poem "Telephone Conversation" in 1962. were published by Random House. entitled You Must Set Forth at Dawn. Write Awards Ceremony in Bangkok to protest the Thai military's successful coup against the government.[16] The series. a Yoruba God as a sort of inspiration to his art. Soyinka. In 2006 he cancelled his keynote speech for the annual S. however that his reverence to Ogun is not metaphysical and he proclaims himself that although he has a fascination with Ogun. actor Alan Cumming and filmmaker Brad Mays was interviewed about The Bacchae as part of an up-coming series Invitation to World Literature.[15] In April 2007 Soyinka called for the cancellation of the Nigerian presidential elections held two weeks earlier because of widespread fraud and violence. through his writings.E.A. 2010. produced by Annie Wong for WGBH Boston. along with theatre director Richard Schechner. 2010. began airing nationally on PBS in October.

Soyinka has associated himself with all these.A valiant writer. as a multitalented political philosopher. laws. Literarily. he has done all the above. and since 1986. while some are finalists in national and international contests. in Diaspora which have projected in large measure the Yoruba/Nigerian culture —philosophy. he was appointed by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational. aesthetics and glory of Nigerian literature. has put Nigerian literature on the world map. Writers of different genres have been published. the contribution and the study of the issues and concerns pertaining to the nature of the city. adding their voices to the identity. politics. authenticity. Soyinka. philosophically and politically. Nigerian Literature Nigerian literature was born in earnest with the award of Nobel Prize in literature to Wole Soyinka in 1986. Centers. media and communication—as a result of his indefatigable savvies/activities as a political philosopher who knows how to start a journey and how to end it. Toni Morisson (1993). He has a unique style and a thorough command of language. Nadine Gordimer (1991). Derek Walcott (1992). religion and literature. for many years include Oyotunji African Kingdom . liberty and justice for mankind. human rights. The list of other Nobel Laureates in literature who believe in Nigerian literature includes Naguib Mahfouz (1988). often referred to as the Bringer of Light to African Literatures. Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African cultures in Africa and in Diaspora. hundreds of Nigerians have proudly taken to studying Nigerian literature. He was a peace maker (putting his life in harm's way & imprisoned) during the Nigerian Civil War. Coetzee (2003). as departments of Nigerian literature are being created in all the universities across the country. government.M. In 1994. and excelled in all. Some have won prizes. Political Philosophy Granted that political philosophy is the participation. J. freedom of expression. he believes that the promise of pen belongs to those who can take the bulls by the horns. rights.

To initiate an endowment for a prestigious African Writers' Prize. scholar and connoisseur of Yoruba/Nigerian literature. Writers-inresidence will receive monetary stipends. three or six months. Lagelu Local Government Area. are: • • • • To promote African and World Literatures. To raise the standard of African literature toward ensuring its active participation in cultural and national development. that will be a precedent. a writers' enclave has been built in honor of Professor Wole Soyinka. It is hoped that their works will impact positively on the lives of all categories of literary audience—youth. a German writer. Germany. adult and the general public. The Wole Soyinka African Writers' Enclave In 2011. Ibadan. The location is Adeyipo Village. United States and IWALEWA HOUSE of the Bayreuth University. The main objectives of the Enclave. IWALEWA HOUSE was founded in 1981 by Professor Ulli Beier. if it happens. To increase world-wide knowledge and appreciation of African literatures. To provide a conducive atmosphere for the improvement of writers' craft. Many opinions from the academic and non-academic circles are hoping that the Nobel Prize Committee for Literature may decide in the future to award Nobel Prize twice to a valiant and multi-talented writer/political activist like Wole South Carolina. he was (may his soul rest in peace) an intimate friend of memoirist Wole Soyinka. engaging in serious creative writing. under the aegis of African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre. amongst others. Like Booker Prize. A well-travelled writer in Yorubaland. Oyo State. • The enclave includes a Writer-in-Residence Programme which will enable writers to stay for a period of two. Nigeria. throughout Africa and the entire world *********************************************************************** * .

the Chief of Illujinle. The issue that troubles him throughout the beginning of the play. however. He represents one extreme of the play's central pendulum . is his apparent impotence. He deeply admires Western culture and seeks to emulate. and eventually goes to visit Baroka because she believes that she will be able to humiliate him by exposing his impotence. Initially we chalk up this refusal to his Western beliefs. She is the needle of the pendulum. who has taken her pictures and published them in a magazine. but can not marry her because she demands that he pay the traditional bride-price. thinking herself even higher than the Baroka.when Sidi's virginity is taken away. the Bale. often to comically inadequate effect. Sidi Sidi is a young girl in the village who has just had her ego boosted by a visit from a bigcity photographer. confused. However. Baroka Baroka is the leader of the village. She refuses to marry Lakunle until he pays the bride price. and the belief that women shouldn't be bought and sold. he leaps at the chance to bypass the bride-price by saying that she can't really expect him to pay the bride price now that she's no longer "pure". He is portrayed by Soyinka as clumsy in both actions and words. but later in the play he reveals his true self . she is extremely conceited. that this feigned impotence was only a clever stratagem in order to lure Sidi into coming to his palace. we learn. From them on. a secret he reveals to his head wife.the Western values. but his power is coming under threat from the Western influence. discrimination and strength are . In the course of the story Baroka‟s qualities of cunning.Sidi’s Choice of Baroka and the Victory of Traditional Values over Western Ones in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel Lakunle Lakunle is the schoolteacher of the village. throwing together phrases from the Bible and other Western works in hope of sounding intelligent. she wavers from end to end. He is "in love" with Sidi. Baroka proves to be a cunning man and she falls right into his trap. before finally settling on the traditional side. He holds to his Yoruba traditional beliefs. We later learn. something he refuses to do.

Then he is much fascinated by the most superficial aspects of modern ways of life. . he is wrong in saying that women‟s brain is smaller than men‟s. Lakunle and Baroka wherein finally Sidi surrenders herself to Baroka. Baroka is the better man and his attitudes are the more substantial as well as worthy. Now.shown to advantage. as her husband. He is full of half-baked modern ideas which he exploits in denying to pay the brideprice to Sidi. the first is that Lakunle is not a particular convincing representative of modern ideas. There is evidence that he misunderstands some of the books he reads and he believes to be true. If we say that Sidi is the prize. such as. opposes progress because he believes that it destroys the variety of ways in which people live and that he as well as Lakunle should learn things from one another. night clubs. But still we are confronted with some complications. etc. dance. Baroka is anxious enough to make Sidi his wife and here comes the love-triangle of Sidi. then who is the winner? We cannot answer this very easily. if the play reflects a conflict between old ways and new ways. the sixty-two year village chief of Ilujinle. on the other hand. Lakunle is provided with a number of opportunities to display his talents but he fails recurrently. It is miraculous to know that a young man fails before an old man in the game of love and at the end Sidi willingly accepts Baroka. ballroom. then we see that she has been won by Baroka. not Lakunle. For example. Finally Sidi‟s decision to marry Baroka reflects the playwright‟s opinion that in the context provided by the play. Conflict between Tradition and Modernity in Creative Writing Sidi‟s Choice of Baroka and the Victory of Traditional Values over Western Ones in Wole Soyinka‟s The Lion and the Jewel 31 Issues have been raised regarding the conflict between tradition and modernity in this play wherein tradition wins over modernity through the final action of Sidi. Baroka. And thus victory may seem to go to the older ways of life and the older beliefs he represents.

drawn from his „ragged books ‟ (mainly the Bible and the dictionary) adds to this uneasiness. Now. in fact he secretly envies them. 8) But Sidi is also uneasy about Lakunle‟s ideas. especially the role of women and the duties of a wife. „Man takes the fallen woman by the hand‟ And ever after they live happily. my mere property. he cannot be asked to pay a bride price for her: But I obey my books. can you not understand? To pay the price would be To buy a heifer off the market stall. Even he seems to forget his principles at the end of the play when he eagerly embraces the thought that since Sidi is no longer a virgin now. You‟d be my chattel. The language he uses. polygamy is a familiar tradition in older. then how can he be so concerned of „bride price‟ even when he is about to lose the beloved? Lakunle himself is deliberately insincere and that it would be perfect to say that he is too weak to recognize his own . He declares that „My love is selfless.Bride-price. I ill admit It solves the problem of her bride-price too.‟ There are many inconsistencies in Lakunle which also may irritate Sidi. Sidi! (The Lion and the Jewel. She also hates his miserliness which she considers „A cheating way. (The Lion and the Jewel. even the children. backward society whereas monogamy is a modern phenomenon. mean and miserly. No. Although he claims to detest Baroka‟s habits and powers. 61) Opposing Religious Values – Convenience Plays a Better Part In the same speech he forgets in his agitation that he is a Christian opposed to the village religion and appeals to the God of thunder and lightning. Moreover. The basic reason seems to be his refusal to pay the bride-price: Ignorant girl. She feels uncomfortable by the scorn with which he is regarded by other villagers. Not of flesh‟ but if it is so. a Sign and Symbol and a Complex Situation There are several reasons behind Sidi‟s hesitation in accepting Lakunle. In one speech he wishes if he had the Bale‟s privilege of marrying many wives. Lakunle is contradicting himself here by trying whole-heartedly to uphold modernity but ironically he cannot obviate his native identity and demands.the love of spirit.

Soyinka published the play in 1959. Lakunle plays this role for much of the play. Her confusion in choosing between Baroka and Lakunle as her husband indicates the young generation‟s wavering to choose between the old values and the new allurements of Western culture: In Wole Soyinka‟s The Lion and the Jewel. turns in a brief performance as a romantic lover. (The Lion and the Jewel. Having appealed to Sidi‟s vanity through the stamp-printing machine he weaves a spell of words around her: In Baroka‟s part. Lakunle and Baroka play the role of romantic lovers in a different way. Seduction of Modern Channels It is not true that Sidi refuses Lakunle as if she was in love with Baroka from the very beginning. We may assume that Sidi refuses him being motivated by more to her personal opinions and disliking to this callous man rather than considering him a representative of western norms and values. who seems anti-romantic to many of us. youth is eclipsed by the old. Some Nigerians felt that it was time for change while others wondered if they should move from their present culture.inconsistencies. From the very beginning she cannot tolerate Lakunle and . (Watts 1) Romance In the play. But at the end she realizes that Baroka possesses what Lakunle lacks. 19) The fact that her photograph covers three pages and the Bale‟s only the corner of a page seems to her to prove that she is far more important than he is. the climax is. we see that certain qualities of slyness in him make him win Sidi which are not manifested in Lakunle. both men. there is a constant confrontation between tradition and modernity. Nigeria had been united as the “Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria” since 1914 and by the late 1950s was facing the challenge of whether or not it was ready for independence and capable of handling modern Western civilization. We notice Sidi‟s excitement demonstrated by her reactions to this magazine and the photographs in it: Have you seen these? Have you seen these images of me Wrought by the man from the capital city Have you felt the gloss? Smoother by far than the parrot‟s breast. when Nigeria was struggling for independence under British control. Sidi initially refuses Baroka‟s offer to marry him and this offer arrives when she is under the influence of the magazine brought to the village by the white photographer. kneels to her and performs services for her. he praises Sidi‟s beauty. Baroka.

therefore. Several small African nations make a large part of their national income by selling beautiful stamps to collectors abroad. On the other hand. Reactionary Answer? Some critics accused Wole Soyinka of giving in The Lion and the Jewel. when she is seduced by Baroka. Victory of Old Africa? The Lion and the Jewel shows the triumph Baroka over Lakunle and many readers and critics regard this as a victory of old Africa over foreign-educated parvenu or upstarts. The Old and the New – Complementing Each Other Soyinka has portrayed Baroka and Lakunle. a backward looking) answer to these problems. On the other hand. arrogant and powerful. it gives us something to think and argue about. Baroka is not a straightforward conservative. Like all good fictions. he shares Baroka‟s view that modern roads are „murderous‟. As a small example. 54) We may. In The Lion and the Jewel. he has made many a significant innovations and his language shows his familiarity with alien idioms and ideas. It is not then too surprising that the Bale should view stamp sales as a major source of revenue. Moreover. Soyinka is not a writer who believes that „progress‟ is always a good thing. He flatters her with his talk of having her portrait on the stamps and all the time he talks to Sidi in a soothing tone with the most flattering seriousness as well as stressing the responsibilities of the village head. a reactionary (that is. he cunningly appeals to her loyalty to the old village ways and he praises her depth and wisdom. say that this play is not in favour of reckless progress and false imitation of socalled western practices. like Baroka he has stated his belief that „the old must flow into the new‟. too.till the end she is consistent in expressing her hatred to this callous chap.these two men to complement one-another. it had become a mechanical thing – a cliche to say that the new must be preferable to the old. Lakunle obviously lacks this foresightedness and therefore Sidi cannot get reliability as well as practicality in him. but Soyinka is dealing in relative rather than in absolute terms. He has taken us into a grey area and he forces us to look closely and distinguish different shades of grey. and his argument in the play is worked out through the juxtaposition of them. (Blishen 1975) . Baroka is presented in a much more favourable light than Lakunle. she decides to choose one single man whom she would let herself touch in future and that single man should be Baroka who has already touched her enough. One critic replied to the charge that The Lion and the Jewel is a reactionary play by arguing that „one of the first duties of the comedian is the exploding of cliché‟. In other words. But the way Soyinka presents Baroka is not acceptable to those who want to romanticize traditional African leaders. simultaneously it is not in favour of simply standing still. he pretends not to know about the offer of marriage and implies that Sadiku is always trying to make matches for him. He does not allow us to „sit back and separate the black from the white at a quick glance‟. It is true that the vitality of Africa has been demonstrated and the established rulers have been shown as dignified. Wole Soyinka had simply refused to reproduce that cliché. The Bale impresses her with his skill at wrestling. (Gibbes.

it is readily accessible and highly entertaining. here introduced as standing for tradition. Like Death and the King's Horseman. ********************************************************************** The Lion and the Jewel (1963) This play is one of Soyinka's most popular. He tries to emulate European notions of courtesy by relieving Sidi of her burden. Sidi is not so much shocked as bored by Lakunle. not only in the theatre. a much more serious work. the Bale (chief) of the village is a major character later in the play. Sidi cleverly answers his insistence that she should abandon the traditional way of carrying loads on her head.. But this does not imply that Soyinka is likely to support old men and dislike youths. We can then believe that through the plot of The Lion and the Jewel." typical of people who live in the bush. Despite occasional uses of unconventional devices. Note Lakunle's age. it explores the value of traditional Yoruba ways vs.. Note the contrast between the ideas that Lakunle has derived from books about women's weakness and Sidi's answers based on experience. Often this is indefinable. Their relationship is clarified when Sidi says she wants a bride-price. though carrying water is traditionally a women's task. Despite his behavior on occasion. European innovations. (Gibbes. It is not that she lacks affection for Lakunle--what has passed before has been essentially good-natured sparring on her part. . if as a dramatist I set a riddle which gives my audience a headache. He made his intentions as a playwright clear when he said: “I‟ll admit.Conclusion It is clear that The Lion and the Jewel is tilted in favour of the mature and discriminating Baroka and against the shallow and boyish Lakunle.. Sidi is then quite right to uphold her own. What is your reaction? Morning The play is set in the village of Ilujinle. His flirtatious opening speech may seem rather crude. When Lakunle proposes to Sidi he is quoting words he has read in popular English books about marriage. in his "Pulpit-declamatory" style. but afterwards. Soyinka deliberately has put a riddle which gives us a headache on analysing the victory of Baroka over Lakunle in which many of us would like to apply ethnic issue as a soothing balm. Note that his pretentious metaphors are answered by her pithy proverb. 54). "Bush" means "uncivilized. But she insists on the tradition which will prove her value in the eyes of the village. quotes to her lines from the wedding service which are in turn quoted from Genesis 2:24.. Some modern readers object to its treatment of women and find the humor spoiled by the sexism. Baroka. he is essentially a lively young man. but is typical of the kind of jesting that goes on in courtship. Lakunle. the purpose of the theatre is to impart experience.

Sidi is eager to see the stranger's book. Far from being displeased by the dance. Night . Despite his modern pretensions. Noon "The Lion" is Baroka's nickname." A bull-roarer is a carved piece of wood or stone which is whiled at the end of a long cord to produce a mysterious roaring sound. What do you think of the fact that Sidi seems to have learned that she is beautiful through the magazine photographs? How do the magazine photographs affect Sidi's perception of Baroka? The storm god Sango (often spelled "Shango" or "Xango") is a West African deity. When he tells Lakunle "You tried to steal our village maidenhead" he is speaking to the character Lakunle is playing. A matchet is a large knife used for clearing brush. he is underneath not so alien to Sidi and her comrades as one might at first suppose. in the form of another dance. the most famous of those to have survived the slave trade to the western hemisphere. It is this sort of "street theater" which Soyinka sees as providing fertile ground for the development of drama in Africa. machete in Spanish. where his name is invoked in such places as Bahia and Haiti. The stranger had been photographing Sidi while she was bathing. playing the role he played in the original incident. he insists on it being continued. part of the religious traditions of many cultures. Note how the Bale is worked into this "flashback. Of what quality does Lakunle accuse Baroka? Laukunle's story is told through pantomime. He is telling him to go on acting. and she quickly grabbed up her clothes to cover herself when she saw him. One of the problems with reading a play rather than seeing it performed. Note that Lakunle finally enters into the dance with enthusiasm. but to attempt to imagine it vividly enacted on stage. Current events are often depicted and commented upon in dances involving costumes and pantomime. where African traditions linger on among the black inhabitants. Again it is important not to skip quickly over this passage. is that one skims quickly over what would be a very impressive high point in the production. It is significant that Lakunle has been given the part of the stranger. with dancing and drumming building to a climax. Baroka gives Lakunle the traditional greeting and is displeased to get a European one in return. not the villager himself. How do you react to Sidi's celebration of her own beauty? The dance of the lost Traveler draws on Yoruba tradition and that of many other African peoples. Imagine this "dance" taking quite a long time and having much more dramatic impact than anything that has gone before. It is common in many cultures for men to use elderly women as go-betweens to solicit a new bride. not--as is often supposed--of western ones alone. What do you think Lakunle's attitude is toward Baroka's success in diverting the railroad? The removal of body hair is a feature of many cultures. Notice how the conflict in the play which has been between Lakunle and Sidi is now complicated by the tension between Sidi and Baroka.

Lankunle reacts with stereotypically heroic words of despair. He reacts strongly to Sidi's loss of virginity. The wrestling match in Baroka's bedroom is of course a metaphor for the power struggle about to take place between himself and Sidi. It is not then too surprising that the Bale should view stamp sales as a major source of much admired by the village school teacher Lakunle (la-kun-li). in the territory of the Yoruba people.html Synopsis The action takes place in the remote Nigerian village of Ilujinle. The third pantomime ironically depicts the triumph of women over a man just as the Bale is triumphing over a woman. Lakunle is expected to tip the mummers. Sidi is the local beauty. Baroka manages to keep throwing Sidi off balance in their conversation. Sidi mocks Baroka in her conversation with him." Several small African nations make a large part of their national income by selling beautiful stamps to collectors In his description of Sadiku's activities as match-maker he quotes her typical line of chat. often known as a griot . who wants to make her his bride. However. Sidi's respectful words in boasting of her traditional garment cause Baroka to call her "wise. but insists he must pay her 'bride price' to maintain her reputation. "Mummers" are dancers who pantomime stories. but when he hears himself utter them. but there seems generally to be a tension between the Bale and his wives which roots his dominance over them in his sexual potency. Her story of the rusted key which could not open her treasure house is an obvious sexual metaphor. based on what we have just seen. Sidi is angry with Baroka. Lakunle however. though the following description makes clear that he actually enjoys the performance. Lakunle's description of the Bale's dungeons is probably a paranoid fantasy. What are his motives? A "praise-singer" is a traditional poet-bard. but in this he adheres to the pattern established by his refusal to pay a bride price. She uses metaphors to satirize his pursuit of young women. She is not averse to his intentions. Note Sidi's glee in desiring to torment Baroka. he recoils and changes metaphors. What is Lakunle's reaction to Sidi's seeming acceptance of his proposal? (2) From http://myweb. either because she has been seduced or because she has been deceived. not by first-hand experience as she claimed. from which men are banned.Sadiku's glee at Baroka's impotence may be partly based on resentment at having been long abandoned by him as a lover. He clings to modernism as an excuse for saving money. Note the insistence on the power of women's rituals. who sings the praises of whoever hires him. is a . Throughout this scene the Bale tries to throw Sidi off her balance by pretending not to know why she has come. The "tappers" are palm-wine tappers. like other people.tiscali. To "pull asses' ears" is to mockingly put one's fingers behind one's head to imitate a donkey's ears. What is it the Bale says he dislikes about progress? How can you tell that Sidi is being bewildered by Baroka? Sidi is "overcome" by Baroka's words. she knows of his impotence only through what he has told her.

we surmise its more a case of penny-pinching). Performances Omonor Imobhio is ideally cast as the beautiful young Sidi.modernist. The visit of the photographer is told as a play within a play. He has lived a long life and collected many concubines. and the power of men against the influence of women. Sidi is not interested since he is an old man. whilst the village bale ('ba-lay' = chieftain) Baroka has only a small corner inside. A photographer who had visited the village sometime earlier and taken photographs of the people returns to deliver a copy of the magazine in which the photographs appear. a musical re-enactment with the villagers acting out the events of that day. She captures perfectly the essence of the uncultured 'bush woman' who allows the power of her beauty to go to her head turning her world upside down. But Baroka is a wily old fox. But Anthony Ofoegbu is the undoubted star of the show. He has determined to have Sidi. or the wily experienced old statesman? Impressions Wole Soyinka's play is a spirited and ribald account of African village life that explores the conflicts between traditional and modern values. Verdict . Now he wants to add Sidi to his harem and sends his head wife. The set is a simple circular affair but imaginative use of props serves to transform it from the schoolhouse to the village square and Boroka's bedroom. he has been to Lagos and is filled with modern ideas. the play loses it's way a little in the second act. Who will win the battle of wills. Baroka was once a powerful warrior known as 'the Lion'. including musicians. consequently he is reluctant to fall in line with what he sees as an archaic tradition (at least that is his excuse. the 'Jewel' of the title. not so easily brushed aside. placing her above even the leader of her people. and with the arrogance of youth rudely rebukes his advances. garnering most of the laughs as the lovestruck modernising schoolteacher. The strong accents of the characters make the dialogue a little difficult to follow at times for unaccustomed ears but adds to the realism of the piece. accenting the humour but in so doing straying away from the darker side of the original story. Photographs of Sidi have pride of place. and hatches a plan to seduce her. all performed admirably. Toyin Oshinaike was impressive as the 'Lion' of the title. The action is interspersed with raucous African song and dance. Colourful costumes round off the effect. Baroka. The remainder of the fifteen strong cast. Sadiku. on the cover and centrespread. the naive but headstrong young girl. despite struggling with his lines on a couple of occasions and Shola Benjamin was wonderfully comic as the mocking head wife Sadiku. third World reality against first world ideals. Unfortunately. to proposition her. Sidi realises the power of her beauty.

Despite the generally strong perfomances however. .A colourful production with many genuinely funny moments. it has to be said that the direction went somewhat astray with the result that this production fails to capture the acerbic edge of the original play.

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