Prof. Wole Soyinka

Prof. Wole Soyinka

Prof. Wole Soyinka is best-known Yoruba speaker—BBC report  


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has said the best-known speaker of Yoruba language is Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka. The BBC said this in its findings towards the launch of BBC Igbo and Yoruba services.

The same findings said late literary giant and author of ‘Things Fall Apart’, Prof. Chinua Achebe was the best-known speaker of Igbo language.

Two new language services have been launched by the BBC World Service for Igbo and Yoruba speakers in Nigeria and West and Central Africa.

The BBC listed seven unique things about Igbo as follow: “Best-known Igbo speaker was Chinua Achebe, regarded as the founding father of African literature; Estimated to have more than 30 million speakers, mainly in south-eastern Nigeria; A word with the same spelling can have different meanings, for example “akwa” is bed, egg, cloth or burial rights – depending on its tone; An Igbo secessionist movement sparked a brutal civil war in 1967

“The caffeine-rich kola nut is all important in Igbo culture – always offered to welcome guests; A famous proverb: “Onye wetara ọjị, wetara ndụ” meaning: “He who brings kola, brings life”

 Seven things about Yoruba: “Best-known Yoruba speaker is Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize-winning playwright and poet; More than 40 million speakers, mainly in south-western Nigeria; A word with the same spelling can have different meanings, for example “owo” is money, honour, hand or broom – depending on the tone; More people practise the traditional Yoruba religion in South America and the Caribbean than in Nigeria – as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

“A thriving Yoruba film and music industry powers Nollywood A famous proverb: “Ile laawo k’a to s’ọmọ lorukọ” meaning: “You should name your child to reflect your family background”.

The Corporation’s World Services for Igbo and Yoruba digital content is mainly aimed at audiences who use mobile phones.

Igbo is primarily spoken in south-east Nigeria and Yoruba in the south-west, as well as in Benin and Togo.

The new services are part of the World Service’s biggest expansion since the 1940s, following a government-funding boost announced in 2016.

In total, 12 services are being launched by the BBC in Africa and Asia. 

Editorial Chief, Nigerian Bureau

Kings UBA is a Nigerian journalist and writer. I have reported for major local and international news organisations. I write satire. In 2017, I started contributing stories primarily to Discover Africa News Network. I can be reached on I currently manage Discover Africa News social media handles