In the course of reading Oyin Ogunba’s “The Movement of Transition”, I came across a case of Achebe making fun of Soyinka. It strikes me as odd that I have not come across more incidences of these two Titans of African literature interacting (writing about each other, citing each other, fighting - anything). They are, after all, from the same country and period. Then again, I haven’t read nearly all their works and, given the passage below, I have probably missed the incidences I have come across.
We were met outside the exhibition hall by the president of the writer’s society, a fellow I used to know fairly well at the University. In those days before he became a writer he had seemed reasonably normal to me. But apparently since he published his novel ‘The Song of the Black Bird’ he had become quite different. I read an interview he gave to a popular magazine in which it came out that he had become so non-conformist that he now designed his own clothes. Judging from his appearance I should also say that he tailored them. He had on a white and blue squarish gown, with a round neck and no buttons, over brown, striped, baggy trousers made from the kind of light linen material we sometimes called ‘obey the wind’. He also had a long untidy beard.
This is satirizing Soyinka’s designs of the Mbari shirt.