Soyinka predicts extinction of book reading and writing

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 15 November 2014 | 3,528 times

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Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has predicted an end to the culture of reading and book writing, saying that with the world being rampaged by revolution and the invention of the internet, as well as mechanical devices like computers and IPAD, among others, individuals’ inert abilities to imagine would be destroyed.

Speaking as Guest Lecturer at the 3rd Annual Zik Lecture held yesterday at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, Soyinka said that the sun remains the magic lantern of the entire universe which gives life to the earth.

According to him, the mechanical magic lantern had been sealed and projected and had nothing magical in it but that the life projector is synonymous with such communication gadgets like computers and IPAD.

In his words, “These gadgets are capable of bringing an end to the culture of book writing and reading. The end point, however, should be how to find a way of collaborating between book writing and use of internet knowledge.”

He, however, reasoned that their partnership may have witnessed a revolution in the communication world which has essentially destroyed the realm of imagination in young people.

He lamented that these inventions have smashed the kaleidoscope of the mind, which is the true magic lantern.

Soyinka, who spoke on the theme, ‘The Magic Lantern, Excursions in the Creative Realm’, added: “World humanity today is faced between this kaleidoscope and the mechanical; Taboo, utopia ideas and secular which, in turn, breed intolerance among different adherents and believers in what should and what should not. The mission of creative humanity extends beyond the realm of creative writing.

“This intolerance, for instance, is the root cause of the rape on ancient cultural, historical artefacts and heritages by perhaps born again Christians in some communities who out of ignorance commit sacrileges.

“Affected communities should rise against such impunities that these religious relics can’t be destroyed by any spiritual inclination.”

The doyen of literature noted that intolerance, like tolerance, shares in Nigeria’s present predicament with both collaborating to create the worst order.

He cited as an example the kidnapping of school children grappling to develop their mind which, according to him, is a rudimentary destruction of their inert imaginative abilities and the future of the country.

“Boko Haram can prosecute knowledge wherever they found them, destroy stored literature of ancient wisdom and libraries, materials of learning but can neither reach the moon nor the sky,” he said.

The literary giant called on young people to tap their potentials and not allow certain primordial factors within their environment to inhibit them.

Speaking earlier, sponsor of the Zik lecture series and Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter Party Affairs, Senator Ben Ndi Obi, had said the project was started three years ago to immortalise Nigeria’s first President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, after whom the federal university in the Anambra State capital is named after. He described Prof. Soyinka’s lecture as unique and thought-provoking.

Obi described the lecture series as a turning point in the process of actualising his childhood dream of immortalising Zik, a reason he endowed N10 million in 2010 with an additional N2 million over a five-year period for research in honour of this “icon and legend of all times.”

He said: “Zik’s faith in intellectual resources as a problem-solver stands tall in all his classical statements and actions as his Lincoln experience re-affirmed his belief in education as a constructive social force which could be harnessed for social progress.”

Also speaking, Vice-Chancellor of NAU (also knoan as UNIZIK), Prof. Joseph Ahaneku, said the lecture series was named after Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe more fundamentally because he was the doyen of African nationalism and the struggle to liberate the continent from the shackles of imperialism for which he earned the sobriquet “Zik of Africa”.

In his remarks, chairman of the occasion, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, said the lecture was to honour Zik’s legacies and initiatives, adding that people knew him as a great inspirer of nationalism and Africa’s fight against colonialism mainly with his pen, first in Ghana and later, Nigeria.

Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, NAU, Prof Jude. O. Ezeokana, a Reverend Father, said the Zik’s lecture series was inaugurated as one of the faculty’s numerous contributions towards the attainment of a just Nigerian society.

Photo shows Prof. Wole Soyinka.

Source: News Express

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