By Rev. J.O. Soyinka

Early Life

I was born into a nominal Christian home, where it was customary and compulsory for children in the family to go to church every Sunday. That was how I was brought up. In a way, we had the fear of God in our lives but we did not know more than that as far as Christianity was concerned. I was born in the year 1930, on the 4th of January. I started schooling in 1936 and I finished my primary school in 1946. I started work in that same year as a village school teacher. In those days you were either a teacher or a clerk in a company. The most common job at that time was teaching and I had only standard six certificate. I made efforts between 1946 and 1952 to further my education (educational facilities in those days were few). I was frustrated, because I wanted to progress but there was no way. I appealed to my parents that they should find me another job and through one of my uncles, the father of the Ewumis, I was brought to Lagos. He secured a job for me in the former Nigerian Farmers' Bank. By July 1952, I got employed with financial security of 100 pounds borrowed from a money lender. It took nearly all the resources of my father and my uncle to secure the 100 pounds. I was in that employment from July to 12th December when the bank went into liquidation. That was the end of my 100 pounds paid into that bank. That was how I started my life in the city of Lagos. My parents pleaded with me that I should return home but I asked them to let me remain in Lagos.