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African Writers, Exile, and the Politics of a Global Diaspora

Tejumola Olaniyan


“Twice Bitten: The Fate of Africa’s Culture Producers,” is the title of a lecture Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian Writer and Nobel Laureate, delivered at a gathering of African leaders in 1988. Noting the concern of the gathering for the epidemic of “brain drain” specialist expertise and cultural workers then sweeping all over Africa, Soyinka, himself a one-time famous exile, replied with scorn: “Lucky drainees! The brains of their stay-at-home colleagues will be found as grisly sediments on the riverbed of the Nile. Or in the stomach linings of African crocodiles and vultures” (112). This is vintage Soyinka; the distasteful and stomach-churning imagery was deliberately selected and served up for the consumption of the distinguished gathering composed, as it were, of many guilty African leaders or their representatives.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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