Wole Soyinka is going back to America, less than a year after he tore his green card following the emergence of President Donald Trump.
He will be delivering the Richard D. Cohen Lectures at Harvard University Centre for African Studies from November 14 to November 16.
“I’ll go in as an alien, an alien from outer space. I love that designation,” Soyinka said in an interview with Financial Times of London published on Friday.
The lectures will be in three parts, under the theme: ‘BEYOND AESTHETICS: Use, Abuse and Dissonance in African Art Traditions’.
The first part, The Acquisitive Eye: ‘Oga, I swear its Original Fake’ will be delivered on 14 November.
On 15 November, Soyinka will speak on: ‘Heirs to the Procreative Deities – the Yoruba at Large’. He ends the talks on Thursday 16 November with the third lecture: From Aso Ebi to N****YWOOD.
The venue for the three lectures is Thompson Room, Barker Center, 12, Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA. Richard Cohen lectures
Before the emergence of Trump, Soyinka had spent much time in the US, where he taught at a number of universities and lived in California with his wife, Folake.
“My life has been involved with the diaspora on a very personal and visceral level,” he said of his interaction with prominent African-Americans.
Donald Trump’s election marked an end to his US sojourn. In what has become known among Nigerians as “Wolexit”, he cut up his Green Card.
“To have some redneck ride into power on the steed of racism was for me too much,” he told the Financial Times.
In a statement in 2016, he detailed why he chose to drop the Green Card:
“I was in New York during the run-up to elections. I watched this face, its body language, listened to his uncouth, racist language, his imbecillic harangues, the insults to other peoples, other races, especially the Hispanics, Africans and Afro-Americans, even citing once – I was told – Nigeria as an instance of the burdensome occupation of global space. I watched and listened, disbelievingly, since this was America, supposedly now freed to a large extent – as we like to believe and have a right to expect – from its lamentable history of racism.”