Soyinka Talks the Dangers of Religion, Calls Pope Francis a Yoruba at Heart
In a new interview with Stefaan Anrys, Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka answers many important questions about his current endeavours as a writer and his views on religion.
The revered author also gives his opinion on the islamist sect, Boko Haram, and its abduction of over 200 girls from Chibok Secondary School in Borno state as well as the failures of the past administration led by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in that respect.
Soyinka reasserts his description of former lady, Dame Patience Jonathan as a ‘shepopotamus’ explaining that he invented the term to describe his perception of her greed.
Asked if poetry is the only thing he still practices since his last book is from 2006, Soyinka replies:
“I don’t think one ever completely stops writing and composing. I don’t think that one day goes by without composing something. Not everything gets put down on paper, there is just so much of human tumult around one. We never completely stop writing.”
Expressing his views on religion, Soyinka stressed that there were too many problems in the society without adding religion to them and that while religion can be checked, it has become a tool for oppression and delusion.
“I have watched brilliant people being captured by religion giving up the potential of themselves as individuals and the potentials of their contributions to the society,” Soyinka said.
Soyinka links the destructive instincts of terrorist groups like Boko Haram to the illusion of things outside actuality created by religion which makes people think they can destroy things they can see.
The highly revered literary icon however praised the worship of deities associated with the Yoruba culture noting that the ‘orisa’ religion successfully crossed the Atlantic in the heart of slaves over to the Caribbean, Latin America and other areas in spite of harsh reprisals from slave owners.
To Soyinka, the orisa religion syncretised with the Roman Catholic religion. He added on a lighter note that he believes the present Pope Francis will be the most successful being from Latin America and a “Yoruba at heart.”
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