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Saturday, 4 November 2017

By all logic I should have been dead by now – Wole Soyinka

By all logic I should have been dead by now – Wole Soyinka

Professor Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate said he ought to have died going by his lifestyle.

It was the shocking response by the 83-year-old professor of literature and political activist to a question by the Financial Times of London, on how long he intends to live.

“By all logic I should not be alive right now because of my lifestyle,” he replied.

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“I flout everything they teach at medical school, including the fact that I don’t drink water. I eat only when I want to. I don’t obey the rules of cholesterol,” he added during the conversation with David Pilling, the FT Africa editor, at the Pescatori restaurant in west London.

Soyinka, gulped in between his meal, a bottle of Arneis Langhe wine valued at £45 and two glasses of another wine Montepulciano valued at £27.80.

Even though Soyinka indulges himself with wine, he is by his own admission a non-smoker, an indulgence that could have created a possible health problem for him.

He said he used to smoke hard cigarettes such as Gitanes, Gauloises, cigars and cheroots, but he had quit smoking.

” I lost interest several years ago,” he said, also revealing an argument he once had with the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro on the perils of smoking.

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“I had an argument with Fidel Castro about it. By that time Castro had got religion about the perils of smoking and he rounded on a guerrillero, saying, ‘This is bad for you.

I have medical evidence.’ He started bullying him. I said, ‘Wait a minute. Leave the man alone. Let him find his own time.’ ” Soyinka says this triggered a two-hour discussion.

“Castro loved to argue. But I think that day he met his match.” The two called it an evening and Soyinka retired to bed. “The following morning a box of cigars — Cohiba — arrived at my hotel.

It just said, ‘With compliments of the Cuban government.’ Who did it? To this day, I’ve no idea. But I still have some of them in Abeokuta. That’s the story of my smoking career.”

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