Ken Saro Wiwa, the infamous Ogoni leader, was born on this day October 10th in 1941.
An award-winning activist, his impact in the struggle for the cleanup and improvement of the lives of Ogoni people have continued to remain unmatched.
Saro-wiwa was not just the mouthpiece of his people; he was a firm believer in everything he set his heart to do and did so with excellence and justice.
On this day as we remember him, here are some of his most memorable quotes:
- I am more dangerous dead
- I’ve used my talents as a writer to enable the Ogoni People to confront their tormentors. I was not able to do it as a politician or a businessman. My writing did it… I think I have the moral victory.
- The writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely x-ray society’s weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved shaping its present and its future.
- I tell you this, I may be dead but my ideas will not die.
- I saw the people who were singing, young young boys like myself, all of them with gun and uniform. It is that uniform that I like very much. When I see how they are all marching, prouding and singing, I am very happy but when I see all their uniform shining and very nice to see, I cannot tell you how I am feeling, immediately I know that this soza is wonderful thing.
- The men who ordain and supervise this show of shame, this tragic charade, are frightened by the word, the power of ideas, the power of the pen.
- I have no doubt about the ultimate success of my cause no matter the trials and tribulations which I and those who believe with me may encounter on our journey. Neither imprisonment nor death can stop our ultimate victory.
- In this country (England], writers write to entertain, they raise questions of individual existence…but for a Nigerian writer in my position you can’t go into that. Literature has to be combative.
- Whether I live or die is immaterial. It is enough to know that there are people who commit time, money and energy to fight this one evil among so many others predominating worldwide. If they do not succeed today, they will succeed tomorrow.
- The stories that I tell must have a different sort of purpose from the artist in the Western world…and art, in that instance, becomes so meaningful both to the artist and to the consumers of that art, because you do not just depend on them to read your books, you even have to live a life that they can emulate.
- As we subscribe to the sub-normal and accept double standards, as we lie and cheat openly, as we protect injustice and oppression, we empty our classrooms, denigrate our hospitals, fill our stomachs with hunger and elect to make ourselves the slaves of those who ascribe to higher standards. (Guardian)