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WSICE Celebrates Wole Soyinka At 85

By Guardian Life 11 July 2019   |   4:40 pm

Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange

The annual Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange, WSICE clocks 10 on July 13, 2019, having staged its maiden edition in July 2010 – to mark the 76th birthday anniversary of Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Akinwande Soyinka, who is also 85 on July 13, 2019.

The WSICE, a prime project of the OpenDoor Series, is essentially anchored around Soyinka’s humanist principles as enunciated in his body of works and his consistent patriotic engagement with the socio-political and cultural affairs of Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

The programme directorate of the WOLE SOYINKA INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL EXCHANGE, WSICE, has scheduled Friday July 12 -Monday July 15 for the celebration of the great Man; and as well to mark a decade of consistent programming, which has featured over 10,000 secondary students and more than 200 local and international resource persons, who have served as either speakers, artistes, mentors to the students and youths among others.

Co-Executive Producer of the WSICE, Teju Kareem, stated,

“The OpenDoorSeries/WSICE is not to be misconstrued as a mere celebration of Wole Soyinka’s date of birth — the man is not, in anyway, really interested in such vanities as staging a party to celebrate his yearly birthday — but the project is designed to celebrate the quintessential artiste as an eminent promoter of the good of humanity. And especially to set his exemplary philosophies and visionary ideals as promoted in his works and lifestyle as veritable examples for peoples across race, gender, age, religious and political persuasions, especially the young ones, who need models they can relate to.”

Remarkably, the 2019 edition will also mark a grand return of the OpenDoorSeries/WSICE to Lagos, where its maiden edition was staged, then at the MUSON Centre. Also, as was the design at its birth, the Project will extend its programming beyond its traditional base in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

While the mostly students/youth-focused programmes like Essay Writing, Workshop, Youth Creative Expressions (Do Your Own Thing ,DYOT) etc. would still take place in Abeokuta, Ogun State, which had served as traditional base of the programme in the past eight years; the mentoring session will hold in Akure, Ondo State. The adult session – Advocacy session, drama, dance and poetry performances, film screening, book presentations etc. would hold at the Freedom Park in Lagos.

Programme Outline:

FRIDAY, JULY 12:

i. 11am: Advocacy session – exploring Soyinka’s body of works to reflect on the concepts of Rights, Honour, Respect, Patriotism, Toleramce & Humanism. It will hold in the Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery, Freedom Park.

ii. 1pm: Formal presentations of books:
Memo on our Future: Essays by Nigerian Children as inspired by Wole Soyinka’s Visions” — a compilation of winning essays by past winners of the annual WSICE essays competition
Igho goes to School, a children book by the culture journalist, Anote Ajeluorou, which reprint has been facilitated by the WSICE — to be distributed to about 1000 students across the country.

Introduction of The Soyinka Impulse: Essays on Wole Soyinka (ed. Duro Oni and Bisi Adigun; published by Bookcraft Publishing) – a collection of presentations by various scholars during an international conference held on occasion of the 80th birthday anniversary celebration of Soyinka five years ago.

ii. 2pm: Children/Youths Programme — presentation of Childe Internationale by Creative Majesty theatre company. Venue: the Kongi Harvest’s Art Gallery/Amphitheatre.

iii. 4pm: Projection Theatre —held in collaboration with the American theatre artiste, Rebecca Jackson-Moeser, an interdisciplinary artist and activist based in Los Angeles, California.

iv. 6pm: Musical and Poetry session, featuring a coterie of performers at the Food Court.

SATURDAY, JULY 13

Essay Writing Competition (Ijegba, Abeokuta)

85 students from various schools around Nigeria, preselected to (as has been the tradition since inception of the OpenDoorSeries/WSICE) symbolically signpost the 85th birthday anniversary will participate in the essay competition.

Do Your Own Thing & Sightseeing ((Ijegba) & Abeokuta city)

The 85 student-finalists are given an opportunity to exhibit their innate talents through other mini competitions like Spelling Bee, Dancing Competition, fashion Parade, Debates and cultural exhibitions.

Presentation of Childe Internationale by Creative Majesty in collaboration with ParkTheatre, AmphiTheatre; Freedom Park, Lagos 7pm
SUNDAY, JULY 14.

One on One with WS and announcement of Results – (Ijegba, Abeokuta).

The 85 finalists are hosted by Professor Soyinka at his Ijegba Residence, where they engage him in conversations, and draw from his fountain of wisdom, and knowledge. Announcement of the winners of the Essay competition will made at the event.
Presentation of WSICE @ 10 books: Memo to our Future… & Igho Goes to the Farm

Projection Theatre in collaboration with Rebecca Jackson-Moeser – Ijegba, Abeokuta.

Drama: Presentation of Death & the King’s Horseman, by Live Theatre Lagos in collaboration with ParkTheatre.

MONDAY, JULY 15

10am: Mentorship (in AKURE) by the first lady of Ondo State, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu.

Presentation of WSICE @ 10 books: Memo to our Future… & Igho Goes to the Farm

6pm: Formal presentation of The Soyinka Impulse: Essays on Wole Soyinka (ed. Duro Oni and Bisi Adigun; published by Bookcraft Publishing) – a collection of presentations by various scholars during an international conference held on occasion of the 80th birthday anniversary celebration of Soyinka five years ago.

Film Screening

Interview Documentary on Prof Soyinka; in collaboration with Freedom Park Film Club and iREP international Documentary Film Forum.

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