MAN OF HIS WORD

Africa’s first Nobel laureate for literature “threw away” his green card and won’t be part of Trump’s America

Obsession
2016
Quartz africa
Obsession
2016
Quartz africa

Days before the US election, Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel prize winner for literature, promised that if Donald Trump won the presidency, he would cut his green card into pieces. Soyinka was living in New York City at the time. After Trump’s win, Soyinka did not walk back on his pledge and said he’d rip the green card on the day of Trump’s inauguration.

Turns out Soyinka, 82, can’t wait that long. “I have already done it,” the 1986 Nobel prize winner told AFP. “I have disengaged [from the United States]. I have done what I said I would do.”

Soyinka has lived in the US for more than 20 years. Most recently, he was a scholar-in-residence at New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs.

“I had a horror of what is to come with Trump… I threw away the card and I have relocated, and I’m back to where I have always been,” he said, possibly referring to his hometown of Abeokuta, in southwest Nigeria.

Although he has chosen not to live in Trump’s America, Soyinka described the green card as “useful in many ways” and was quick to tell others not to follow his lead. “I wouldn’t for one single moment discourage any Nigerians or anybody from acquiring a green card but I have had enough of it.”

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