COVID-19 disrupts two Soyinka events

by Araayo Akande

 The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt arts activities as two events associated with, and directly involving physical participation by Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, have been postponed indefinitely.
The World Poetry Day event themed ‘Voices in the cause of Earth’, organised by PROVIDUS Bank and presentation of Prof. Soyinka’s latest book, ‘Beyond Aesthetics’ by his publishers, Book Craft, have both been postponed indefinitely. 
A statement announcing the postponement from the Bank read: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Lagos State Government directive banning all gatherings above 50 persons, we are compelled to postpone our earlier advertised World Poetry Day event with the theme: ‘Voices in the cause of Earth’. 

“We apologise for all inconveniences. We urge everyone to follow all safety and health protocols laid out to stem the spread of the virus.”

Announcing the postponement of ‘Beyond Aesthetics’, Bankole Olayebi of Bookcraft Publishers, wrote: “You have by now, of course, received our invitation to the exclusive presentation of Professor Wole Soyinka’s latest book, ‘Beyond Aesthetics’ which was scheduled for Thursday, 26th of March.

“Given the recent statement by the Lagos State Government advising against large gatherings, Bookcraft Publishers jointly with Professor Wole Soyinka has taken the painful decision to postpone the event indefinitely.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused. A new date will be communicated in due course. Please keep safe and observe all safety and medical protocols to stem the spread of this virus.”

Activities at the New Africa Shrine were suspended during the week because of the virus. The 2020 iREPRESENT International Documentary Film Festival (IREP) and Point of View 6 of the Ben Enwonwu Foundation were also postponed indefinitely.

There are 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria at the moment, and the Lagos State Government advised against gatherings of over 50 people as part of efforts to contain the virus. Schools have been shut while some religious organisations have also announced the suspension/modification of services in obedience to the government’s directive.

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