When Wole Soyinka, the first African writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, won the prize, Nelson Mandela was still in prison for his opposition to the apartheid policy in South Africa.
Although it seems that the world has changed a lot since 1986, when he won the highest literary prize on the planet, the things that have worried Soyinka for decades, such as migration, corruption and inequality, are still there and refuse to go away.
“Migration is one of the biggest crises that exist in the world; it is always a consequence of hunger, which should not surprise us. In the experience of the African continent in particular, it is a legacy of imperialism and colonialism.
“The migrant population is a consequence of both slavery and colonialism, of the destruction of organic production rhythms, which leads us to massive unemployment and the devastation of natural resources and, in the most radical cases, to the famine”, argues Soyinka in an exclusive interview.
For the Nobel laureate, originally from Nigeria from where he went into self-exile after being imprisoned for 22 months due to his political ideas, the rulers do not escape this responsibility, even if it has been inherited from their predecessors.
“The blame has expanded and should include the governments of the countries that were colonized, because if these leaders tried to seek welfare for their people, if they didn’t act in the alienated way that they do, many of the civil wars currently bleeding Africa would not have happened.
“It is true, some are the product of foreign intervention and corruption, yes, but African leaders are responsible now; they have had at least three-quarters of a century to reverse the tendencies of alienation and exploitation into which most have fallen,” says Soyinka.
With a slow and deep voice, the author of books like Chronicles from the country with the happiest people in the world either the man is deadhighlights that the behavior of certain leaders of developing nations is not very different from that of the former colonizer, which replicates the state of exploitation of people who have no choice but to seek opportunities far from home.
“Now we talk about internal colonialism, in which the leaders behave in the same way as the external emperors who formerly held power.
“I refuse to accept that leaders cannot stop this painful and senseless migration. If they had the will, it could be solved in a matter of years: just look at the resources of the African continent, both natural and human!” exclaims the essayist, playwright, novelist and poet.
For Soyinka, who in his work takes up real cases to complement them with the traditional narrative form of his people, the Yoruba, the temptation of corruption is one of the main causes that lead rulers to this kind of blindness with respect to their people. .
“The problem with corruption is that every time it pulls more people in and, once they are there, they lose their soul. They can manipulate resources in a very cynical way from the state, and the state gives them favors and resources.
“Personally, I regret the situation in which we currently find ourselves, with this balloon of corruption of incredible dimensions with more and more people inside and that fills up again and again; if it makes you wonder how is it possible, what will happen to the last person left out, how can it continue to function?” concludes Soyinka.
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Migration is always a consequence of hunger: Wole Soyinka