By Prisca Sam-Duru
Not even the restriction on social life due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic will be able to disrupt this year’s birthday celebration of poet, dramatist, scholar, and the 1986 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Professor Wole Soyinka.
The literary icon is 86 today Monday, July 13, 2020, and plans are already in place for a memorable feast in his honour in virtual spaces.
Soyinka’s birthday, which coincides with the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange, WSICE, attracts a global celebration with diverse activities held.
The 3-day event will hold across the country as well as in other parts of the world beginning with the Wole Soyinka Essay Competition, 2020, for Young Leaders, a cultural advocacy session, lectures, and symposium on humanity, poetry, and theatrical performances.
Organised by the Zmirage Multimedia Company, this year’s edition themed “I am because you are” began July 12 and continues on July 14.
The theme, according to the organisers, was inspired by “UBUNTU”, the Southern African philosophy which epitomizes the principle of shared values that ensures the sustenance and survival of the human family”.
The cultural advocacy session of the programme which began is tagged “Pandemic: Pursuit of individual Happiness and our common Humanity” while the first day will feature the main conference paper by Prof. Lilly Cheng of the Chinese Cultural Institute, San Diego University, USA.
Centered on the same theme as this year’s celebration; “I am because you are”, Prof. Cheng’s paper promotes the interdependence of our collective humanity as shown in the incidences and situations around the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second day being July 13, the lead paper on ‘Reimagining Our World After Covid-19’ will be delivered by co-Executive Producer of the WSICE, Professor Segun Ojewuyi, a theatre and culture scholar, who is head of Directing at the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA.
Also taking place in a digital space is the program exhibition, ‘Timeless Memories’. Now in its third installment, ‘Timeless Memories’, an art initiative series of Oludamola Adebowale, celebrates the legacy of Prof. Wole Soyinka and the amazing body of work he has created in new innovative mediums for this generation and future generation.
Having treated such topics in the exhibition as, ‘Timeless Memories: A Decade of Iconic Celebration’, which celebrated the 10th year anniversary of the WSICE Project and the 85th birthday of Prof. Soyinka in July 2019, and ‘Timeless Memories: Elastic Effects of Wole Soyinka’, which held at Freedom Park, Lagos in November 2019, this year’s virtual exhibition will be dealing with ‘Timeless Memories; The Humanity of WS’.
The exhibition title is taken from the WSICE theme, “I AM because YOU ARE” and it aims to strengthen the commitment of Prof. Soyinka and the objective behind the WSICE program which is primarily to educate young minds for a better tomorrow.
The Virtual Exhibition will feature new illustrative works, some works from the November 2019 exhibition, and also an E-Art book that will be available for download for free on the WSICE Website.