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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This study guide contains the following sections: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka.

The Years of Childhood is author Wole Soyinka’s autobiographical account about events in his childhood between about and in the town of Ake in present-day Nigeria. He begins his life in a parsonage compound.

Aké: The Years of Childhood

His father is Essay, Headmaster of the local equivalent of an elementary school, a man who delights in arguing. Wole’s mother, called Wild Christian by most, is a strict disciplinarian, never failing to provide lashings for the slightest offenses. Despite his toddler-aged stumbles he gets knocked out playing see-saw, and nearly loses an eye to a grass-cutting scytheWole develops into wols keenly curious and intelligent boy.

His is a time of great transition, with traditional pagan spiritualism giving way to Christianity, and the local language of Yoruba becoming mixed with bt English of Mother England.


To many, the old ways still reign, with superstitions rampant, a world where gourds can be magical, amulets can make one invulnerable to harm, and forest creatures called ghommids live just beyond the nearby stream.

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.

Growing up is a sometimes difficult process for Wole. When he is old enough he is forced to move from his father’s room to the crowded communal mat where the rest of the children sleep, where a child’s random arm over his chest could translate to a nightmare in which Wole is attacked by a python. He also endures a tribal rite of passage, held down while an elder slices his wrists and ankles with intricate symbols.

Ake by Wole Soyinka | : Books

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. Wole graduates to Grammar School, which is led by his uncle, the fierce and larger-than-life Daodu. Like Wild Christian, Daodu prefers to teach with punishment, though he soyinkx his school like a court of soyinkx, where evidence is presented and witnesses are questioned for every accused offense.


Wole’s mother eventually co-founds a women’s union, dedicated to social issues and eventually an end to excessive taxation.

In a rousing rally, the women storm the local governor’s mansion demanding action, eventually staging a sit-in until their demands are met. The book ends with this protest at a standstill, and Wole leaving to interview for College. Read more from the Study Guide. Browse all BookRags Study Guides. The Years of Childhood from BookRags. The Years of Childhood from Amazon.

View the Study Pack. View the Lesson Plans. The Years of Childhood Study Guide. Chapters 2 and 3. Chapters 4 and 5.

Aké: The Years of Childhood Summary & Study Guide

Chapters 6 and 7. Chapters 10 and Chapters 12 and Trials of Brother Jero. This section contains words approx. View a Bt sample. More summaries and resources for teaching or studying Ak: The Years of Childhood.

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