December 10, 2023

LAGOS – Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has expressed concern over the seamy side of technology, especially the internet culture made possible by technology, lamenting that it is creating new generations of illiterates in Nigerian society.

Soyinka pointed this out at the CANEX Live Theatre closing ceremony of the 3rd Intra-African Trade Fair, IATF 2023, in Cairo, Egypt on Friday.

The fair was convened by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union and AfCFTA.

The Nobel laureate said, “Simultaneously, it’s a very large subject, and we can go on for the next seminars over the next few weeks over this issue. I want us to understand that, on the other hand, there’s a new culture taking place about which we have to be very careful; I call it the Internet culture.

“This is a marvelous technology; this is a liberating technology. The so-called Arab Spring, for instance, among many movements, was able to take life and be successful where they’ve been utilising that culture of instant communication; these are positive.

“However, as a new, tyrannical, insolent, and abusive culture, the culture of submental humanity in our midst, which you can give the rough name of the new Internet culture, in which real creativity is being downgraded, even despised for cheap, populist, nasty, subversive, humanly subversive culture.

Continuing, Soyinka added: “It’s creating new generations of the illiterate, who believe it’s up to them that it’s sort of noble, progressive, and populist to despise what I call the real meaningful culture that improves the mind of humanity, expands our horizons, offers numerous alternatives or interpretations of phenomena, et cetera, and leads to a new construct of a genuine new being.

Now we have to watch this network-facilitated abuse of culture. I speak very specifically to my society, especially the Nigerian society, the greatest abusers of that kind of culture, where you have the real degradation of the real meaning of culture, facilitated by Internet technology.

“So that’s why I said it’s a large subject, which we must not trivialise. We shouldn’t take the easy way out. We shouldn’t go on the axial, black and white, and so on. It’s a work in progress, but we must not let the barbarians get away with this new project.”

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