Soyinka paints a different perception of the street urchins otherwise known as ‘area boys’ in Nigeria. Where society generally views them as a group of no-gooders, thieves, pranksters and miscreants, Soyinka portrays them here as a set of people who are as responsible as the next person, and are only busy going about the business of survival.
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 Jero Plays by Wole Soyinka consist of two short plays re-released as a collection in 1973. The Trials of Brother Jero first came out in 1964, while Jero’s Metamorphosis was published two years later in 1966. Both plays satirize Christianity and religious hypocrisy, particularly, the unquestioning devotion that many converts display towards their spiritual leaders, often exposing themselves to manipulation in the process.
Born in 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria, Wole Soyinka attended school first in Nigeria and later in the United Kingdom, where he spent several years, working at the Royal Court Theatre in London. He returned to Nigeria in 1960, where for many years he has taught drama and literature at various universities.
This week, the winners of the 2010 Nobel Prize in various fields are being announced. Winners will walk away with a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award of approximately $1.5 million each. The awards founded by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor and entrepreneur honor “men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace.”
Over the years, Africa has had its fair share of award recipients, notably Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk who were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2003.
Wole Soyinka was a bright, curious child and his account of his early childhood in the town of Abeokuta in Western Nigeria is enchanting. He writes with his adult voice, but maintains the child’s perspective and understanding throughout, the one exception a nostalgic contrasting of street-fronts then and now.