African leaders are guilty for the continent’s woes – Wole Soyinka

A Nobel Literature Laureate, Professor Wole Sonyinka, says African leaders are as guilty as the colonialists for the current state of the continent.

According to him, there is a limit to what extent Africans could blame the colonialist and neo-colonialists for their woes.

Prof. Soyinka was speaking on the topic: “Race and Solidarity in a ‘Versus’ Syndrome” at a ceremony to mark the 17th International African Writers’ Day.

The ceremony, organized by the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) was under the theme: “Language, Literature and Society in a Fractured World.”

“Africa’s inability to progress beyond liberation from colonialism is due to the lingering slave mentality of its leaders and intellectuals”, he said.

He maintained that even though African countries have long gained independence from western powers, “the slave mentality continues to govern our thinking and our writings”.

Prof. Soyinka noted that African writers and intellectuals have a duty to move away from what has held Africans bound and to focus on how the people of the continent could harness their rich resources for their progress.

The Nobel Laureate said the “we and they syndrome” have assumed a new characteristic, saying, it was not just about Africans and the west but also more so about Africans and their own leaders.

“We can blame the west for a lot of things but we can’t blame them for what is happening in Zimbabwe right now – neither can we blame them for one man’s attempt to truncate rule of law in Nigeria and stay in power for a third term,” he said.

Source: GNA