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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Aké: The Years of Childhood Summary & Study Guide

As the story progresses you come to feel as if you know the narrator, his impudence, playfulness and resilience. He displays the kind of wonderment and delight that we can only hope to have in fully grown adults.

Wole Soyinka gets rave reviews as a writer. In his refusal to bow to authority ‘just because’ you can see faint echoes of the man who would question and speak out against tyranny and dictatorship. In contrast, yes there are mentions of colonialism, racism, sexism, and usual age old mix of -isms and co. The dynamics within the family is indeed a blend of tradition and the ‘modern’.

I don’t generally like stories told from the perspective of young children, but this book was incredible; since it’s nonfiction it’s not required to be tragic, but it’s not all nostalgia either; akf is just fun to read, Soyinka comes across a bright, somewhat mischievous child; his parents, “Essay” and “Wild Christian” — apparently its a cultural norm to refer to close relatives by nicknames — are very interesting characters.

Paperbackpages. Nov 05, Zack rated it really liked it.

Aké: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka

Rex CollingsRandom House. This was a difficult book to read because of all of the cultural references I didn’t understand. I concurred principal, and there being no time like now because action speaks louder than words time and tide waiteth for no man opportunity once lost cannot be regained saves nine, principal, and finally, one good turn deserves another so, with these thoughts for our guide, we spread out, closed in on this cock in order to catch it and restore to the poultry yard from which it escaped.


If the defense meets Daodu’s, the esteemed Winston Churchillesque principal himself, standards, the accused goes free, the obviousness of their crime or the absurdity of their argument having little to no impact on the decision.

The autobiography of the Nobel prize winner from about three or four to eleven. Trials of Brother Jero. If a child is telling you a story, wouldn’t you say that it’s best they be both precocious and all too young, offering up tales of strange exploits combined with the most precious of thoughts? Open Preview See a Problem?

Aké: The Years of Childhood

This surprisingly reasonable stance leads to eloquence regarding the matter of a stolen chicken being conducted along the lines of: He was the first African to receive such an honour.

Not that often, yes? Raised by an educator, what we would now term as a feminist and a community of well meaning adults allows for him to position and give importance to the characters equally and raise intersecting issues such as social justice, mental illness, class, ethnic differences, colonialism, race relations to name a few.

I recommend this book to you. Being young and incredibly inquisitive and curious, Wole gets into lots of trouble, both physically and emotionally. View the Study Pack.

That means that at times Ake is dense to the point of being a drag, but when realisation shines through Soyinka creates moments of true beauty. 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. Young Wole must also suffer a scare from his father who nearly dies, and who Wole promises to get an education and go to college, the boy’s ultimate goal.

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 the young Soyinka. Wole navigates this world with a mixture of child-like ignorance he once marches with a band to a distant town, getting completely lostmischief he cannot resist a taste of powdered milk, even at the promise of mother’s lashingsand maturity, crying when his baby sister dies on her birthday.


This book has many memorable incidents, and the writing is wonderful — although events are seen from a child’s perspective the language soyihka in no way simplistic. May 27, Adrienne Wyker rated it really liked it. View all 8 comments.

Seen from a child’s perspective, none of this is the least bit didactic or laboured, but it makes for fascinating social history all the same. I also love that he talked about the historical events that happened as a child. The narrative is episodic, following the patchiness of childhood memories.

Aké: The Years of Childhood – Wikipedia

A relentlessly curious child who loved books and getting into trouble, Soyinka grew up on a parsonage compound, raised ny Christian parents and by a grandfather who bu him to Yoruba spiritual traditions. His father is Essay, Wloe of the local equivalent of an elementary school, a man who delights in arguing.

That latter audacious insight leads to rampant classifications, formation of definition for everything from the ‘without time’ guava tree to his own parents, the nickname of his father of especial note: The death of his sister on her first brithday makes use of that initial confusion to create a powerful sense of tragedy and shock when Wole sees her in her coffin woel realises what has happened.

Also, Achebe’s book deals with the time right before colonization really took hold, and “Ake” takes place during World War II; by then, many British customs were entrenched in the schools, government, etc. Wild Christian becomes prominent in the Union and begins a series of talks with the Alake of Egbaland, a native administrator.

He is the son of a very strict headmaster and Wole is expected to act appropriately at all times.

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