Winners of the essay competition organised by the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) will be announced at a ceremony on 14 July 2020. The competition, in its 11th year, is part of activities marking Prof Soyinka’s 86th birthday and will be hosted virtually on the zoom platform.
The competition, conducted in June, is in two categories — Junior (12-16 years) and Senior (17-22) — with participation from five language zones of the world: Anglophone (English), Francophone (French), Cinophone (Chinese), Hispaphone (Hispanic) and Lusophone (Portuguese).
Participants came from Nigeria, South Africa, Nepal, Pakistan; Ghana, Uganda, Angola, Barbados, Brazil, The Gambia, United States of America, Cuba, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, China, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe.
The theme of the competition was: I AM because YOU ARE, inspired by UBUNTU, the Southern African cultural philosophy on the principle of interdependence of the Human Family. The theme is especially relevant now in the era of covid-19, which has ruptured the fabric of collective humanity, in particular due to its protocol of social and physical distancing.
According to a statement sent to The Daily Report and signed by Haneefat Ikharo, the essay writing competition represents the Students/Youths section of the annual project.
The organizers received more than 2000 entries, which went through four levels of adjudication involving 12 judges appointed from the various language zones, most of them in the academic and cultural advocacy sectors. The longlists were then sent to external judges to serve as auditors of the decisions arrived at by the adjudicators.
“We went through that long, elaborate process to ensure transparency of the competition, and integrity of the entire project,” said Teju Kareem, Executive Producer of the WSICE. “Though the two virtues of transparency and integrity have always been our core principles since inception of the project 11 years ago, they have become even more imperative now that we have taken the project to the global stage.”
Interested members of the public can join the zoom party using the following details: Meeting ID: 835 7543 6744; Password: WSICE2020.
The WSICE began in 2010 in Lagos with a three-day programme, when Soyinka was 76, and has run every year since then at its permanent home in Abeokuta, Ogun State, with satellite events in Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Rivers and other states. It has also been staged in London, Ghana and Barbados.