June 6, 2020

UBUNTU Theme for Wole Soyinka Festival 2020

The Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE), is set to hold its annual programme from July 12-14, 2020, coinciding, as usual, with the birthday of the legendary Nigerian writer.

This year’s edition will take place entirely in the digital space.

The theme: I AM because YOU ARE, is drawn from the concept of UBUNTU, the Southern African philosophy which epitomises the principle of shared values that ensures the sustenance and survival of the human family.

This subject is inspired by “observed factors and motives behind the responses of peoples and governments across the world to the challenges pushed forward by the rage of the pandemic. In particular, the obvious interdependence of our collective humanity has been brought to the fore in the way people and States have risen to support others experiencing the dire effects of the pandemic”, according to Teju Kareem, the project’s kickstarter.

Advocacy Session & Conversation

The main programme item, the Advocacy will run for two days, and will focus on the topic: Pandemic: Pursuit of individual Happiness and our common Humanity.

The first day will feature the main conference paper by Prof Lilly Cheng of Chinese Cultural institute, San Diego University, USA, who would speak on the lead theme: I AM because YOU ARE, espousing on the interdependence of our collective humanity as evinced in the incidences and situations around the covid-19 pandemics.

The second day will have three respondents and a lead paper: REIMAGINING OUR WORLD AFTER COVID-19 to be delivered Professor Segun Ojewuyi, a theatre and culture scholar, who aside being the head of Directing at the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA, is also co-Executive Producer of the WSICE. This will be followed by five contributing papers to be presented by eminent culture researchers and scholars from Trinidad&Tobago, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, United States of America, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom.

Essay Competition

The second and integral part of the year’s cultural exchange is the essay competition which targets the youth, and is open in two categories:

  • Junior — Ages 12-17 — Secondary/High School students (350-400 words)
  • Senior — Ages 17-22 — College, University and Tertiary level students (800-1000 words).

The submission of essays will start on the 5th of June and close on the 26th of June.

The competition is open to participants in five linguistic zones — English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese. A Winner and a Runner-up will emerge from each of the zones. Also a Global Winner will emerge in the two categories

The winners from each category and linguistic zones will be announced on the 14th of July during a scheduled Meet & Greet session with Professor Soyinka in the same virtual/digital space.



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