Applying the Wisdom of Wole Soyinka to African Americans
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
Edward Waters College
The writings of Wole Soyinka
have inspired millions in Africa
and around the world. He is
the first African to receive
the Nobel Peace
Prize in literature and helped
to start a literary movement
with other writers like
Chinua Achebe and others that
energized a continent and sought
to change a nation.
He has inspired those that love the diversity of
writing, not just personal stories, but of literary
content and diversity that expands the intelligence
and inspires intellectual discussions.
Raised in an environment of religious change
and political chaos along with a priority of
educational attainment and civic growth. Soyinka
was born in an era of colonization, and conflict.
Civil discourse and the drive for independence from
British rule in his native Nigeria. The violence
of a growing democracy reaching to branch out
of civil wars and military dictatorships.
The growth of writers of color and culture is
important to tell the stories of people of
color and culture. From Africa to Asia, from
South America to Saudi Arabia and from the
Arctic to Antarctica, people are writing to tell
The explosion of writing camps, seminars,
conferences, meetups and other events are
attended by more and more African American
writers to strengthen their knowledge of the
writing process, building readership and gaining
more exposure to the craft of story creation and
authorship. Writers have a growing responsibility
to be politically and civilly active.
In the past 5 years more women of color are
writing on platforms that are so diverse they are
meeting the needs of issues unimaginable to
discuss just 2 to 4 years ago. Traditionally men
were the bloggers, podcasters, microbloggers and
content creators of the bloggersphere from the
80’s of early blogging until the mid-2000’s when
women caught on to the connectivity of
blogging/writing. Women of color and culture have
a solidarity because of the lack of respect from
mass media. Women tackle issues that face them,
they don’t dance around them, there is a seriousness
that is felt and experienced globally.
Now women are dominating the digital platforms of
the Internet and running with content exclusively
tackling the issues that women can relate to, identify
with and share with other women no matter their
cultural diversity of lifestyle.
My writing growth is infused from listening to the
interviews of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and
other African writers who are politically, culturally
and socially active. African American students
need to be exposed to writing even before they attend
higher education. African American students need
to apply innovative and critical thinking skills which
are gained through reading, writing and intellectual
Here are 21 ways to help the growth of African
American communities to build writers,
educators, business leaders, thought leaders,
intellectuals and help African Americans
embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
The Wisdom of Wole Soyinka
Applied to African American Writers
“A tiger does not shout its Tigritude,
it acts.” Wole Soyinka
1. African Americans have the
potential to launch their own political
party, but are too segmented in their
political, economic and educational visions.
2. African Americans must learn to
make transformative changes in politics,
it is not about the position at the top, but
how the people are provided quality
services that provide help to families
that help with stability, equal access to
educational resources and health care
from birth to death.
3. African Americans must have a
manifesto outlining their political
vision and mission for all people
not just African Americans.
4. African Americans seasoned as
political professionals must be willing
to have a far reaching vision for
generations in the future, not just
for their personal political gains.
5. African Americans must have a
solid Brand, not one based on
reparations of past behaviors
by whites, but solid progressive
thinking to allow for growth by all
6. African Americans must support,
praise, build on their boys and girls
Athletics and entertainment cannot
boost economic stability, athletics
cannot influence scientific research
and development, athletics cannot
build academic curriculums to build
colleges and universities. Academics
combined with athletics builds
7. African Americans must position
themselves to learn from others. They
must build minds that embrace
democratic concepts and principles.
8. African Americans must move
from being excited and inspired by
personalities that provide temporary
emotional excitement. They must
embrace the intellectual abilities
of its youth and build them into
social leaders first.
9. African Americans must be able
to build leaders that have the ability
to bridge cultural, economic and
10. African Americans must move
away from the mentality of colonization
and the culture of slavery.
11. African Americans must break free
of the mentalities beaten into them from
slavery and colonization about Africans
and African heritage.
12. African American men
must be their models and
methods to improve African
13. African Americans must have the
honesty to talk about social issues that
divide homes, communities, churches and
schools. There needs to be a platform
to discuss these issues.
14. African Americans must stop pretending
to be scared to grow beyond their abilities.
They must recognize their potential to be
greater than they are.
15. African Americans in politics will be judged
not by the amount of times they are elected
and re-elected, but by the lives they improved
from slavery (mental and physical), increased
educational and employment opportunities
and gender equality.
16. African Americans must own their own
media outlets, they cannot continue to offer
only once a week or bi-weekly news, they
must be competitive and forward thinking.
Using Social Media platforms, tools and Apps.
17. African Americans must have agendas
that focus on building partnerships within the
African American community.
18. African American businesses must partner
with schools to be business partners, to build an
employment pool from which to provide
opportunities to African American students to
gain experience, internships and offering
19. African Americans must grow beyond
consumers and expand into producers
20. African American writers should be
engaged in civil events, activities and
teaching the next generation of writers.
21. African American students in high
school and college should not be scrambling
for internships, scholarships and employment
opportunities. This is why African Americans
need to grow in STEAM areas to produce
the resources for children to grow beyond
self-perceived or societal perceptions for
children of color.
“Books and all forms of
writing are terror to
those who wish to suppress