The eldest son of a primary-school headmaster and a devout Christian mother, Wole Soyinka lived a comfortable life in the Aké parsonage in Abeokuta. Ake: The Years of Childhood is author Wole Soyinka’s autobiographical account about events in his childhood between about and in the town of Ake. Wole Soyinka was a bright, curious child and his account of his early childhood in the town of Abeokuta in Western Nigeria is enchanting.

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To a child, the grown-up rules and routines, their ideas and dogmas, seem overwhelmingly crazy. When he is old enough he is forced soyonka move from his father’s room to the crowded communal mat where the rest of the children sleep, where a child’s random arm over his chest could translate to a nightmare in which Wole is attacked by a python.

If some of us cringed under the weight of any rebukes from adults, the young Wole weathered through with a pristine innocence that was yet stubborn. Moreover, the contrast in the beliefs of his parents I think paints a better picture of some of the factors which shaped the mind of th Wole Soyinka’s Ake: Kuti against the taxation of women and the failure of the Alake and his follow traditional rulers to act in response soyinak the aoyinka demand was observed through the eyes of the young Soyinka who happened to be the courier for the Women’s movement is beautifully narrated in the book.

Lists with This Book. The opening pages of Ake did not grip me. And then, just as if you were suddenly thrust into a bustling market that you have to find your way out of, you begin to notice a certain order soynika the chaos. The dramatic scenes that really come alive with humor and truth.

He eats plenty of good food and, by no means uniquely, but certainly eloquently, describes the multicultural reality of colonial West Africa. His father was the headmaster of the local school for young children, and his mother ran a akee shop. In writing a wolle impressionistic, sensually described narrative, Soyinka, it feels, is trying to capture the sense of infant discovery, of not entirely understanding your surroundings and the way the world works.

In Ake he has produced an account of his childhood as a Yoruba in western Nigeria that is destined to become a classic of African autobiography, indeed a classic of childhood memoirs wherever and whenever produced And the young Wole was nothing less than a typical child, but was even of a precocious kind, living under the shades of a religiously conservative mother Wild Christian and a disciplined, scholarly and garden obsessed father, SA, a name the boy coalesced as ESSAY.

The Years of Childhood is author Wole Soyinka’s autobiographical account about events in his childhood between about and in the town of Ake in present-day Nigeria. There are local concerns, sometimes wider ones.


The dynamics within the family is indeed a blend of tradition and the ‘modern’. It did not take long for him to enter my consciousness simply as Essay, as one of those careful stylistic exercises in prose which follow set rules of composition, are products of fastidiousness and elegance, set down in beautiful calligraphy that would be the envy of most copyists of any age. Soyinka’s narration gets right inside his childish mind, and readers are left to interpret events through those eyes and whatever context we can come up with.

I also love that he talked about the historical events that happened as a child. The coloured maps, pictures and other hangings on the walls, the coloured counters, markers, slates, inkwells in neat round holes, crayons and drawing-books, a shelf laden with modelled objects – animals, human beings, implements – raffia and basket-work in various stages of completion, even the blackboards, chalk, and duster He listens to a leader of the women complain bitterly against the racist behavior of the whites using the “inhuman weapon” upon the Japanese when they should have bombed Germany instead.

For all the times the novel makes me crack up laughing, or even be nostalgic for a time I’ve never lived in in a country I never visited and a culture I was never part of, there’s always the sly adult Soyinka somewhere behind it, using his young self as an only mostly reliable narrator to describe how we come to understand – and challenge – the world.

Ake is essentially a if-you-close-your-mind-you’ll-miss-it slingshot into the Yoruba side of the story of Pre-colonial Nigeria. In a rousing rally, the women storm the local governor’s mansion demanding action, eventually staging a sit-in until their demands are met. Soyinka’s childhood memoirs are so detailed and finely drawn that the question has to be asked how much is true memory and how much owes itself to the adult writer’s creativity.

His earliest memory — as far as I could tell from the book — was from when he was two-and-a-half. I suppose it also helps to have close family members with recollective memories as well. The time period was, roughly, from to There are no discussion topics on this book yet. The narrative is episodic, following the patchiness of childhood memories. Loved the portrayal of a worldwide fear and resentment of Hitler, how a drunk Hitler in army fatigues, came all the way to the small Nigerian town of Ake and peed in the water pot.

I love how like these books about boyhood, thou doesn’t t tell me anything in particular, yet thou tells me everything. He was curious and troublesome, and made me laugh on quite a few occasions. One scene killing and cooking a snake on a neighbouring farm brings together all those revelatory emotions, the joy of being part of the natural world, a little like Arthur Ransome evokes that childish sense of adventure which is so much more thrilling and innocent than the adult variety.


The first few pages are a little bewildering, before you sink into the comfortable flow of humorous, tender, wondering memories. But around this potentially unlocatable family, there exists an eclectic mixture of Yoruba tradition, imported educational values and imposed colonial rule.

How often do I call something ‘Proustian’?

Aké: The Years of Childhood (Wole Soyinka) – book review

But most especial where the weighing realizations on how so many things turned out the way they did in today’s Nigeria. Jul 13, Anne Lutomia rated it really liked it Shelves: Always stubborn, always questioning, always following his interests both physical and intellectual, viewing the admonishment of various adults as guidelines he is fully free to evaluate qole critique in as vocal a manner as is woole.

A good read to relatively understand the lives of Africans who grew up on the 40s and 60s as well Soyinke shares with the world memories of his childhood in Ake and later going to school. Eole was a good read. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. The part where his sister died on her first birthday was quite rough.

Aké: The Years of Childhood

Can I get a fre copy of this book from anyone? Seen from soyonka child’s perspective, none of this is the least bit didactic or laboured, but it makes for fascinating social history all the same.

His personal story includes imprisonment, a death sentence and a madcap escape on a motorbike. The story of how he causally began school and his inquisitive spirit is just astonishing and amusing at the same time.

Aké: The Years of Childhood Summary & Study Guide

The Biography of a Place. Soyinka makes no concessions, and that’s great. Mar 18, Temi Sanusi rated it really liked it Shelves: There are no overt descriptions of war, hardship, oppression and hunger.

Also, Achebe’s book deals with the time right before colonization really took hold, and “Ake” takes place during World War II; by bby, many British customs were entrenched in the schools, government, etc. The young narrator was endearing, though, and I especially loved his descriptions of his parents’ interactions–they sound like a pretty amazing family.

His grandfather was a pagan, and there are many references to the more superstitious parts of the traditional religion — Soyinka did not become interested in the religion seriously until somewhat later.