Meet Professor Wole Soyinka’s Wife and Children

Professor Wole Soyinka’s wife is Folake Doherty Soyinka. He has been married three times and has eight children from his marriages. His children are Olaokun, Moremi, Iyetade, Peyibomi, Ilemakin, Oreunlewa, Bojode, and Eniara.

Professor Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian-born novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist in the English Language. With over 50 pieces of work, he was the first Nigerian to be awarded the Noble Prize for Literature for his prowess in the field. He is also known for his outstanding efforts in the history of Nigerian politics, his fight against British colonization, and corrupt leadership in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Aside from these, Professor Wole Soyinka’s wife and children are other important aspects of him that everyone should know.

How Many Wives Does Wole Soyinka Have?

Professor Wole Soyinka has been reportedly married to three women with whom he shares children. He has not had it rosy when it comes to marriage. Below are the women he has been married to and his present wife:

Who Is Wole Soyinka First Wife?

His first marriage and love story was with a British writer Barbara Dixton. The duo met at the University of Leeds in the 1950s and got married in 1958 while Wole Soyinka was still a student. After five years of marriage, their marriage started experiencing a hard time, leading to a divorce. The first wife of the professor died sometime in the 2000s. The duo had a son, Olaokun.

His Second Marriage was to Olaide Idowu

The literature icon got married for the second time to Olaide Idowu in 1963. The wedding was an extravagant affair that was graced by dignitaries from Nigeria. Olaide was a librarian at Ogun State University at the time of marriage. Professor Wole Soyinka’s marriage to her lasted for about ten years before coming to an end. Their union produced three daughters and a son, but one of the daughters died in 2013 after an undisclosed illness.

Who is Wole Soyinka’s wife?

Professor Wole Soyinka’s current wife is Folake Doherty Soyinka, whom he married in 1989. The two met at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) when she was still a student while Wole was a professor. They couldn’t go into an affair at this stage of their life though they felt their mutual interest and attraction to each other. After completing her university education, she left for her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Kaduna State.

While serving her fatherland, she met an old friend who told her that the professor was interested in her and was on the search for her. After completing NYSC, she secured a job at the Guardian, where Professor Wole Soyinka met her again and they kicked off their relationship. However, her relationship wasn’t rosy as her parents were not in support because of the fame and success that was attributed to Professor Wole Soyinka as of then.

Though Folake’s parents did not support the relationship, her brothers and sisters stood by her because her happiness mattered to them. Despite all these, the love birds still got married. A few months after their marriage, her parents grew to love the professor till their death. Asides from her parents, outsiders also had their opinions on their relationship, especially when he won the noble prize in 1986. The union has lasted to date and has produced three children.

Who are Wole Soyinka’s Children?

Professor Wole Soyinka has a total of eight children who are all successful. He, however, lost one in 2013 after an undisclosed illness.

1. Doctor Olaokun Soyinka

  • Gender: Male
  • Date Of Birth: 11 November 1958
  • Age: 65 Years old
  • Occupation: Medical Doctor, Activist
  • Education: University Of London
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Olaokum’s Wife: Lola Shoneyin
  • Olaokum’s Children: Seven Children
  • Olaokum’s Parents: Professor Wole Soyinka and Barbara Dixton

Professor Wole Soyinka’s Wife

Olaokun Soyinka is the first child and son of Professor Wole Soyinka and his ex-wife, Barbara Dixton. He was born on 11 November 1958, the same year that his parents got married. He attended his primary and secondary school in Ibadan before moving on to the University of London where he obtained a degree in medicine.

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Olaokun has since worked as a medical doctor and has once served as Ogun State’s Commissioner for Health. Aside from being a medical practitioner, he has also embraced his fathers’ footsteps in activism. He is a member of the Nigerian Pro-democracy Movement and has published a pro-democracy newsletter with Dr. Kayode Fayemi under the NigeriaNow media platform.

Doctor Olaokun Soyinka is currently married to Lola Shoneyin, a poet and novelist with whom he shares seven children with.

2. Moremi Soyinka-Onijala

  • Gender: Female
  • Occupation: Politician
  • Olaokum’s Parents: Professor Wole Soyinka and Olaide Idowu

Moremi Soyinka is the second child of the professor born to him by his second wife, Olaide Idowu. Information about her education, personal life, and children is unknown. However, she is a known politician who has served as a Special Adviser on Migration and Humanitarian Affairs to former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. Moremi also served as the Senior Special Assistant when Goodluck Jonathan was still the Vice President.

3. Late Iyetade Soyinka

  • Gender: Female
  • Date of Birth: 6 November 1965
  • Date of Death: 2013
  • Occupation: Medical Doctor, Activist
  • Education: University Teaching Hospital
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Olaokum’s Children: 2 – Oreofe (daughter), Adeoto (son)
  • Olaokum’s Parents: Professor Wole Soyinka and Olaide Idowu

Professor Wole Soyinka’s Wife

Iyatade Soyinka is the third child of the professor and the second child of his ex-wife Olaide Idowu. Information about Iyatade’s education is unknown, but she also treaded in the path of her father as a poet. She was also a scientist though she left the field in England for the theatre.

Iyatade died in UCH in Ibadan due to an illness. Before she died, she gave birth to Oreofe and Adeoto.

4. Peyibomi Soyinka

  • Gender: Female
  • Occupation: Professor of African and International Politics
  • Olaokum’s Parents: Professor Wole Soyinka and Olaide Idowu

Peyibomi Soyinka is the fourth child of Wole Soyinka and the third child of Olaide Idowu. Information regarding her educational background, marriage, and others are unknown. However, just like her father, she is known to be an African and International Politics professor. She majored in socio-political memory, the politics of disaster, critical development, theory, and the politics of African Cinema.

5. Ilemakin Soyinka

  • Gender: Male
  • Occupation: Media and Theatre Consultant
  • Olaokum’s Parents: Professor Wole Soyinka and Olaide Idowu

Ilemakin is the fifth child of the African literature guru and the fourth child of Olaide Idowu. He has decided to keep much information about himself away from the public’s prying eyes. The second son of the professor is a media and theatre consultant. Ilemakin is the founder of Barollo Production, a media company that specializes in TV, radio, art, and film production.

6. Oretunlewa Soyinka

  • Gender: Male
  • Occupation: Media and Theatre Consultant
  • Spouse: Nneka Ekechukwu
  • Oretunlewa’s Parents: Professor Wole Soyinka and Folake Doherty Soyinka

Professor Wole Soyinka’s Wife

Oretunlewa is one of the sons born by Professor Wole Soyinka’s wife Folake. He obtained his high school education in California before moving on to Stanford for his undergraduate studies. Oretunlewa furthered his education in pre-med at Harvard University and completed his medical degree at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. He gained public attention after he got married to his long-time love, Nneka Ekechukwu, in June 2017 at Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Though the lavish wedding which was said to be sponsored by his wife was kicked against by his father, it was still well attended by dignitaries.

Professor Wole Soyinka’s Other Two Children

The other two children – Bojode and Eniara are from Professor Wole Soyinka’s wife, Folake Doherty Soyinka. Though few pieces of information about his other children are known, the professor does not make information about his family public. He has, however, kept information about his two other children away from the public.


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