Throwback Thursday: The Literary Lion
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What did the stew pot say to the fire?
Back in July 2007, I wrote the piece below about how I missed an opportunity to meet Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka
While we were studying The Lion and the Jewel in secondary school, I was living with my parents and brothers in Gbagada Phase I, Lagos. My parents went out and left me in charge of my younger brothers. Later, one of them excitedly came to tell me that the man who wrote the book that I am always reading is outside our window. I thought it was another one of the numerous tricks that they were wont to play on me but was curious enough to look out of the window. And truly, there he was – Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka was having lunch alfresco with some friends in the compound next to us. From our position upstairs, we could see right into the compound and there was no mistake that it was him. My initial instinct was to grab my copies of The Lion and the Jewel, Brother Jero, Death and the King’s Horsemen plus my dad’s copy of The Man Died, run down the road, bang on the gate and ask for an autograph on each book. Alas, the voice of my mother was ringing in my ears. Strict instructions had been left that not only were we not to step out of the house (unless there was a fire, which she instantly rebuked), we were not supposed to open the door of the house for anyone except her or my dad. It took me a while to ponder this, especially since we had never met our neighbors where the literary icon was having lunch. Sad as it is for me to write this, I obeyed my mother and missed that opportunity to meet him. Fast forward to hours later that day and my brother was excitedly telling my parents who came for lunch next door and the first thing my mother said to me was – “Ah! Ah! Why did you not go now?” I am still looking forward to the day I get to meet him.