The son of Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka has weighed in on the debate about whether his father should have been forced to move from an aeroplane’s window seat by a much younger man.

The incident inspired a lot of social media commentary earlier this week as some interpreted it as the youth of Nigeria standing up for themselves. It began to take on a metaphorical edge as it was seen as a microcosm of Nigeria today.

It seems that Soyinka, 84, mistakenly sat in the window seat and was later told to move by the person who had been assigned the seat. A nearby passenger relayed the incident on Instagram.

Now Soyinka’s son, Olaokun Soyinka, has written a letter to take issue with the “social media warriors” who have congratulated the young man who made the Nobel Laureate move.

“Do our online youths see it as a badge of honour to avoid the courtesies that we see traditionally extended to our elders?” he asks.

Giving up a space for an older person is not only convention but common sense, he adds, as we will all be old one day.

Then relating how his father fought for the democratic rights of Nigerians Olaokun Soyinka says “respect for our senior citizens is also about history”.


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