Friday, July 13, 2018 3:40 pm
By Jahman Anikulapo
At Professor Wole Soyinka’s Autonomous Residence of Ijegba (A.R.I), Idi Aba Estate, Abeokuta., 84 students from 21 states of the federation are currently writing the annual essay competition. In a reality show kind of setting, the 84 finalists selected from obver 300 entries collected nationwide, are writing analysis of three of Soyinka’s poems based on the year’s theme: “Flowers for my Land”; Children of this Land, and Harvest of Hate — taken from three of Soyinka’s poetry collection: A SHUTTTLE IN THE CRYPT; SAMARKAND & THE OTHER MARKETS I HAVE KNOWN, and IDANRE & OTHER POEMS.
The theme for the year is “THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH: Lies and the National Psyche”, which is to examine the destructive and destabilising effects of “LIES” (including the trending reign of FAKE NEWS) in national discourse and politics; in particular, its ‘violent” effects on our collective humanity. The theme is inspired by Soyinka’s consistent interrogation of the prevalent incidents of “untruths” in the country as captured in his recent body works — the INTERVENTIONS and the INTERINTERVENTIONS” series.
The latest edition was officially released on July 3rd and will be publicly unveiled August 3rd in Lagos.
The Special Guest of Honour of the Wsice Zmirage is Master MERCY SOBANDE, the 10-year old student of Federal College of Education Staff School, Abeokuta, who just released his first book, PRINCESS SARAH & OTHER STORIES, who paid visit to the finalists while in the reality-like Essay Writing competition.
The programme continues this afternoon with the students visiting Abeokuta’s famous tourism site, OLUMO heritage site. In the evening, they will have a session of free creative expressions under the event item: DO YOUR OWN THING.
Tomorrow, the 14th, is a full day of activities with Mentoring and Workshop sessions on creativity.
A special Poetry writing and performance session will be held for the 84 finalists and 1000 students drawn from over 100 schools in Ogun State, courtesy of the Ministry of Education. The workshop will feature members of the Ogun State chapter of Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA led by the chairman, Dada Olanipekun
In the course of the workshop, the finalists and 1000 Ogun students will be visited by the Governor of Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun and members of his cabinet as part of the Mentoring. Announcement of the winners of the essay writing programme, and presentation of awards will be done by the Governor.
For the climax, the “birthday boy” Wole Soyinka will play host to the 1,084 students-guests (84 finalists plus 1000 Ogun State students) at the newly upgraded 400-seater Amphitheatre, which was launched four years ago, and has been playing host to the WSICE events every year. The amphitheatre now has guest charlets and tree houses, upping its picturesque ambience