A Conversation with Nigerian Playwright and Public Intellectual Ahmed Yerima
Keywords:public intellectual, Ahmed Yerima, Abobaku, Elesin Oba, commentator
The concept of the public intellectual is yet to be well engaged in Nigerian scholarship. While it has been implied in many critical works on writers, activists, journalists, lawyers, and others, the concept of the public intellectual has not been exclusively engaged to study historic and current Nigerian public figures. In this article, although much of it is an interview with the award-winning and prolific Nigerian playwright, academic, former Artistic Director of the National Troupe, and Director General of the Nigerian National Theatre, Ahmed Yerima, I briefly establish the public intellectual history in Nigeria before engaging the playwright on this subject and interrogating his status as a public intellectual or cultural critic. During the course of the interview, Yerima also touches on other subjects facing Nigeria and the intersection between one of his plays, Abobaku (2015), and Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman (1975).
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