Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has described the recent nationwide EndSARS movement as one of the issues that influenced the writings of his latest novel which captures the impending dangers of a desperate society.
Soyinka noted that the more Nigeria decays and betrayals are encountered, it points to a future of implosion where the people have to lead a revolutionary struggle.
The interview centred on his new novel, “The Happiest People on the Earth”, which he wrote during the COVID-19 holiday.
While speaking in an interview session with Channels Television, Soyinka described the EndSARS movement as one of the “manifestations” of his new piece.
He said, “So, there are so many things I could find to do here. But this has been an internal demand for a number of years. The more this society decays, the greater the betrayal encountered. Look at what happened, EndSARS is another manifestation of this novel. You know, it is something coming to the fore and which has to be expunged. So take the novel, yes, just another feature of SARS.
“This society needs to be told some truth and told in some very harsh, rigorous way. When I say society, and I am not talking just about government, I am talking about the society which accepts, and has programmed, or which has programmed itself to accept the rape of children, the butchery of humanity for money rituals, the lynch mentality which has also become common.
“No other word for it. North-East 100 deaths, another comes from the south, 50. People have been butchered. In the meantime, within that society are those who are doing very well for themselves. The normal pressure of contradictions within the society has to find expression in one way or the other.
“The title (of the novel) is meant to be deliberate. It is a negative title. It doesn’t talk about the happiest people, and it has no intention of talking about the happiest people. I’m glad you mentioned the title. How do ideas for creative work come into being? Sometimes, it’s just something somebody said. But somebody says that thing in a particular context. And it distracts you so very forcibly.
“So, there is a deliberate irony about….the happiest people. Let’s see what constitutes happiness. But, also we have a habit of swallowing bile in this nation, which is putting a brave face on things. The danger of that is it comes to a point the veneer shatters completely, and it manifests itself as I said in EndSARS movement.”