Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Poet on The President

In The Root, Wole Soyinka analyses Barack Obama's choice of Ghana for his first visit to Sub-Saharan Africa after becoming POTUS. It makes for interesting reading, not least for the opportunity to savour Soyinka's highly verbose and dense prose style. Generally speaking, extreme verbosity and density does not make for very readable writing, but Soyinka somehow manages to pull it off in the way that only Soyinka can. He turned 75 earlier this month--remarkable for a man who has had numerous run-ins with brutal military dictactorships in his native Nigeria, including one which resulted in a 22-month imprisonment in solitary confinement from 1967 to 1969 (an ordeal immortalised in the ominously titled prison memoir The Man Died published in 1972).

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