The eldest son of a primary-school headmaster and a devout Christian mother, Wole Soyinka lived a comfortable life in the Aké parsonage in Abeokuta. Ake: The Years of Childhood is author Wole Soyinka’s autobiographical account about events in his childhood between about and in the town of Ake. Wole Soyinka was a bright, curious child and his account of his early childhood in the town of Abeokuta in Western Nigeria is enchanting.

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How do I love thee? What a mistake to underestimate the rationality of children while overestimating that of grown-ups! Most importantly, accidentally, during this phase of Soyinka’s life events which marked perhaps scarred history were taking place -The 2nd World War, Colonialism Nigeria under Britain and, the Women’s Movement in Egbaland. Each and every sentence is more of a beam than a part, interchange of far reaching wave and concentrating of particle as Soyinka conjures up his childhood in as delightfully subsuming a manner as the best fiction often does.

So, pay attention, because this work brings to mind that languid tidal wave in all the right ways. I love how like these books about boyhood, thou doesn’t t tell me anything in particular, yet thou tells me everything.

When he is old enough he is forced to move from his father’s room to the crowded communal mat where the rest of the children sleep, where a child’s random arm over his chest could translate to a nightmare in which Wole is attacked by a python.

I’ve almost finished teaching “Things Fall Apart” with this year’s 10th graders, so that story was still fresh in my mind while I read this memoir by another Nigerian writer. Wole’s mother, called Wild Christian by most, is a strict disciplinarian, never failing to provide lashings for the slightest offenses. How can one ever forget the memorable qke hilarious characters that peopled its pages, characters like Osiki, You-Mean-Mayself and even the author himself, to mention a few.

Ake by Wole Soyinka | : Books

And the young Wole was nothing less than a typical child, but was even of a precocious kind, living under the shades of a religiously conservative mother Wild Christian and a disciplined, scholarly and garden obsessed father, SA, a name the boy coalesced as ESSAY. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Individually, any experience is unique; it does not need to be dramatic, violent, broken or ecstatic to be special.


Wole’s mother eventually co-founds a women’s union, dedicated to social issues and eventually an end to excessive taxation. Myth, Literature, and the African World. Being young and incredibly inquisitive and curious, Wole gets into lots of trouble, both physically and emotionally.

Aké: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka

A Voyage Around “Essay”Ibadan: Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work that “in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence. Not less daring was his involvement with the women in their fight against unjust taxes and the despotic feudal lord, the Alake of Abeokuta.

Brit landlord in Ethiopia’s bookshelf. He didn’t win the Nobel Prize for nothing, I can tell you that. This study guide contains the following sections: Anyway, he manages to convey to us the spirit of his growing up under the influence of two different cultures, that of his native tribe and its extended family, and that of the white man — especially the white missionaries.

The young narrator was endearing, though, and I especially loved his descriptions of his parents’ interactions–they sound like a pretty amazing family. In addition, I had made some vague, intuitive connection between school and the piles of books with which my father appeared to commune so religiously in the front room, and which had constantly to be snatched from me as soon as my hands grew long enough to reach them on the table.

Jul 13, Aubrey rated it it was amazing Shelves: The first few pages are a little bewildering, before you sink into the comfortable flow of humorous, tender, wondering memories. Delightful little vignettes of Soyinka’s childhood, ages 3 to 12 or so, growing up the headmaster’s son in rural Nigeria around WWII.

We also see him dealing with the superstitions of his Yoruba tribe and trying to reconcile them with the teachings of the Christian brothers.


In Ake he has produced an account of his childhood as a Yoruba in western Nigeria that is destined to become a classic of African autobiography, indeed a classic of childhood memoirs wherever and whenever produced If a child is telling you a story, wouldn’t you say that it’s best they be both precocious and all too young, offering up tales of strange exploits combined with the most precious of thoughts?

To read my paper “Wole Soyinka’s Feminist Awakening” please visit: Chapters 4 and 5. Yes, I mean you. He is punished and rewarded. And then, just as if you were suddenly thrust into a bustling market that you have to find your way out of, you begin to notice a certain order beneath the chaos.

Chapters 6 and 7. He writes with his adult voice, but maintains the child’s perspective and understanding throughout, the one exception a nostalgic contrasting of street-fronts then and now. I wouldn’t hold your breath if that’s your main incentive for reading, though. Nov 09, Laolu rated it it was amazing.

Aké: The Years of Childhood

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka. Autobiography is not a genre I’m that keen on, but this is a definite exception. His is a soyinoa of great transition, with traditional pagan spiritualism giving way to Christianity, and the local language of Yoruba becoming mixed with the English of Mother England.

His vivid evocation of the colorful sights, sounds, and aromas of the world that shaped him is both lyrically beautiful and laced with humor and the sheer delight of a child’s-eye view. This progression is not only because he is growing older, but because he has been given a political foundation from which to actively process and engage with his surroundings.

Expectation demanded something special, something revelatory perhaps, from the formative years of a man who grew up to be one of the greatest writers of all time.