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Saro-Wiwa, Ken

Saro-Wiwa, Ken (Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa) sä´rō-wē´wä [key], 1941–95, Nigerian writer and environmental activist, b. Rivers state, grad. Univ. of Ibadan, 1965. He was a government administrator in the early 1970s before he worked as a journalist, author, and television producer. A member of the Ogoni ethnic minority, he was a founder (1990) and leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, which opposed the destructive environmental impact of the Royal Dutch Shell's oil facilities on Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta, and sought a greater share of the oil profits and increased autonomy for the area. Twice held for weeks without trial, he was charged in 1994 of colluding in the the deaths of four Ogoni chiefs at a political rally; he and eight others were convicted and sentenced to death. The trial was criticized by human rights organizations; witnesses later admitted to accepting bribes. Saro-Wiwa's writings include the novels Songs in a Time of War (1985) and Sozaboy (1985) and a prison diary written before his execution (1995).

See studies by A.-R. Na'Allah, ed. (1998), O. Okome, ed. (1999), K. Wiwa (2001), and J. T. Hunt (2005).

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