Nigerian born poet and playwright Wole Soyinka is leaving America and moving to South Africa to join the University of Johannesburg as distinguished visiting professor, reports Africanews.
Soyinka won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986 and spent the last 20 years in the United States as a scholar in residence at New York University’s Institute of African Affairs.
In the wake of Trump’s election, however, Soyinka tore up his green card having decided he could no longer live in America.
“The horror of it all was to see these hundreds of thousands of people in the process of applaud when he [Trump] outlined his feelings. Then I just said: I do not want to live here,” he said.
Many in South Africa have high hopes for Soyinka to guide and lead them in their national debate on the decolonisation and the Africanisation of knowledge as the country attempts to overhaul its Eurocentric higher education system.
“Professor Soyinka, a high profile academic and social influencer whose work, sentiments, and political positionality is taken very seriously in Africa, and across the world, will bring a new dimension to this discourse,” said Alex Broadbent, executive dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg.
As for the university’s drive to decolonise and Africanise knowledge, he said: “[It has] led to substantial dialogues at the Institution which provided the university the opportunity to ask searching questions about our African identity and our role in nurturing the New Africa‚ and the future of our university.”