Soyinka Speaks On Nigerian Stripped Of Visitor Status By Oxford, Cambridge Universities

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Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has reacted to the stripping of a Nigerian filmmaker and author, Onyeka Nwelue of his Visitor status to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Soyinka’s reaction on the development was contained in a statement he made available to the media on Monday.

He wrote: “I feel compelled to intervene without further delay in this affair, having come across the following in Onyeka Nwelue’s efforts to ‘set the record straight’ over his entanglement with the British university establishment, Nwelue revealed in his response that:

“‘The first message I received, when the article was published, was from my Canadian publisher…. telling me, they will remove my book, The Strangers of Braamfontein from their list. It shocked me, honestly….

“‘The South African publisher, who was supposed to publish The Strangers of Braamfontein since 2021, will no longer publish it. They have not communicated to me, but they have informed those who pre-ordered the book.’

“If Nwelue was shocked, I felt both shocked and appalled. This is over-reaction in the sententious mode, a dangerous, extra-curricular response. The charges against this author do not involve plagiarism or other literary offence, nor any crime against humanity. Would his film documentaries – including his prize-winning latest be up next for the Censorship Index? Do we proceed to burn copies of that sociological expose and raunchy read – The Strangers of Braamfontein – already in our possession?

“At the risk of this being interpreted as an attempt to lure attention away from, or diffuse culpability into a loose perspective, it is essential – and this is addressed largely to his society (and mine) – to emphasize that, beyond Nwelue, that very society is indicted and summoned to some intense soul-searching, involving remedial action. Public figures are often the creations of that promiscuous facility known as Internet or Social Media, and unfortunately, some such figures of marketable interest fail to exercise caution, refuse to apply the brake on the media runaway vehicle on which they are launched. It is rather ironic, but while Nwelue permitted himself to ‘go for the ride’, so to speak, he appeared to have been more concerned for others –certainly for this ‘Prof’!”

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