COINCIDENCES: Between UK and Nigeria: Of Winston Churchill and Wole Soyinka

Posted by Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth | 6 February 2013 | 4,477 times

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There are interesting developments between Britain and Nigeria in respect of one-time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and renowned Nigerian literary personality Wole Soyinka. 

Winston Churchill and Wole Soyinka both won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Churchill was a reporter and relatedly Soyinka was an editor

Churchill was a soldier and Soyinka is a hunter – both involving the use of guns.

Churchill was captured during the Boer war and Soyinka was imprisoned during the Biafran war.

Churchill had special interests in bricklaying and painting and Soyinka has special interests in architecture and photography.

Churchill has been described as egotistical and Soyinka publicity loving.

Churchill and Soyinka have both been described as risk takers.

Churchill has been described as a war-monger and Soyinka is an exponent of the myth of Ogun, the Yoruba god of war.

Churchill was an Admiral of the Air and Sea and Soyinka was Chief Road Marshal and Head of the Sea Dogs.

Churchill has been described as a hard drinker while Soyinka has been described as a connoisseur of wine.
Soyinka comes out as a refined form or a modern version of Churchill.

Wole Soyinka’s best known work, Death and the Kings Horseman, according to an interview published in The Washington Post (April 27, 2006), was fuelled by a confrontation with Sir Winston Churchill. Soyinka informed that he was coming down the stairs at Cambridge’s Churchill College and encountered this bust of Winston Churchill, the great colonialist.

The Washington Post wrote that whenever Soyinka walked past the bust, he found himself wanting to topple it with an accidental push.

On this day, feeling especially irritated with its presence, his mind suddenly went from Churchill to colonialism to the colonial experience and to a historical event, “which I had known for a very long time.” He went to his room and in a few days, he had written Death and the King’s Horseman.

COINCIDENCES is a weekly column that appears on Wednesdays. The columnist, Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth, is based in England, Britain, but can be reached via e-mail through or

Source: News Express

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