Wole Soyinka reveals how he almost killed himself with his father’s gun at 10

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Professor Wole Soyinka who recently turned 80, has said his glorious life would have been cut short when he ignorantly pulled the trigger of his father’s dane gun 70 years ago.

“I used to go with my father when he hunted. It was a mere air gun, but was good enough for squirrels, the wild pigeon and occasional rabbit. I was just curious. One day, I sat in the house’s frontage waiting for him to come out of his bedroom, so I could accompany him.”

“I just felt there was something about that part of his gun which he used to pull. I tried the same motion and it just exploded; but he knew it was his fault so he never chided me. He knew he should never have left that gun loaded and he knew me enough to know that I had learnt that lesson and I didn’t need to be reminded of it. Of course, there was a sort of mutual standoff; I was not rebuked but he knew I was not going to do it again.”

Wole Soyinka said this during his 80th birthday celebration in Abeokuta, Ogun state on Sunday.

Reminiscing on his childhood years, the renowned playwright, Soyinka said his early school days still remain fresh in his memory on how he was able to cope with older boys as a 10 year-old scholarship student at Government College, Ibadan, he said

“Those school mates of mine, they were bullies. They were terrifying because they looked big. Some of them, I am sure, had children already. Some had moustaches and so they shaved every morning.”

“The ‘over-confidence’ that my mother used to complain of saved me and put me in trouble also. Because they were big, they felt they should trample all over me. I had no hesitation in taking them on.”

“It was a very good training because you defeat people like that largely with moral persistence. They knew they were misusing their power.

“Whenever they turned on me, being really small, the bullying got really intense because these big boys could not stand the idea that this rondo (small) boy was sitting while others were standing. They couldn’t stand it. They intensified the bullying, which made me even more aggressive.” he stated

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