Wole Soyinka is a legend in the world of literature. He was Africa’s first Nobel Laureate and Nigeria’s only laureate till date.
In this article, we take a peek into his personal life with specific details about his children. Although, he says he doesn’t count his number of children but as at last count we were able to identify 9 biological children of this legendary poet.
Wole Soyinka’s Children
Soyinka has been married three times and divorced twice. All his marriages have produced children. His first marriage was to the late British writer, Barbara Dixon. She’s the mother of his first son, Olaokun who is a Nigerian medical doctor.
Olaokun was the former commissioner of the Ogun State Ministry of Health. He was born on the 11th of November, 1958. He attended the Government College in Ibadan before travelling to the University of London where he qualified as a doctor in 1982. Also, he got an MBA from the Cranfield School of Management in 1986. He was a practising physician in the U.K before founding and publishing the British Journal of Cardiology.
He was an activist for a couple of political movements. These included being a member of the Nigerian prodemocracy movement and as well occupying the position of General Secretary of the National Liberation Council of Nigeria (NALICON).
Also, he was also a member of New Nigeria Forum where he collaborated with Dr Kayode Fayemi to publish NigeriaNow, the prodemocracy newsletter. Additionally, Olaokun worked with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Kayode Fayemi and Wole Soyinka to establish the Radio Free Nigeria which was later renamed Radio Kudirat, a shortwave station, which broadcasted daily to Nigeria. He would later return to Nigeria in 1998, following the death of the military dictator, Sani Abacha.
Olaokun is currently married to poet and novelist Lola Shoneyin and they have seven children together.
Wole Soyinka second marriage was to Olaide Idowu with whom he had 3 daughters Moremi, Iyetade and Peyibomi and a son, Ilemakin.
Moremi attended the Obafemi Awolowo University and would later become the Senior Special Assistant to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Migration and Humanitarian Affairs. Also, she was the Senior Special Assistant to Goodluck Jonathan when he was vice President.
Iyetade was born on the 6th of June 1965 and she died in 2013 at the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital of an undisclosed ailment. She had her primary education at Staff School and her secondary school at Queens School, Ibadan. She went on to study medicine at the University of Ibadan. She is survived by two children.
Peyibomi is a Professor of African and International Politics with interests in socio-political memory, the politics of disaster, critical development theory, human rights and the politics of African Cinema.
Wole Soyinka’s second son, Ilemakin is a media and theatre consultant. He is the founder of Barollo Production, a film TV, radio and arts producing and promotion company.
Wole Soyinka is currently married to Folake Doherty, his former student at Obafemi Awolowo University and they have 3 boys from this union.