On Monday, an account supposedly belonging to Abdulrazak Gurnar, winner of the 2021 Nobel prize for literature, said Soyinka is dead.
“I got a call from Nigeria. Wole Soyinka died suddenly a few minutes ago. A terrible news,” the post read.
The first red flag was the use of a countable noun article for “news” — “a… news”.
Grammatically, “news” is uncountable and a Nobel laureate would know that.
The post garnered over 150 retweets and 250 likes in a short while.
This tweet has since been deleted
But when TheCable contacted his family, Ilemakin, his son, laughed it off.
“The rumour has been going round since last week. Soyinka is alive when last I checked,” he said.
The account which made the post was created in August 2021 and already has 14,000 followers.
In announcing Gurnah’s Nobel prize win on Friday, BBC had tagged the fake account, but Lola Shoneyin, a Nigerian author, quoted the tweet, pointing out that Gurnah is not a Twitter user.
“During my short exchange with Prof Abdulrazak Gurnah a few minutes ago, he stated, I am not a Twitter user. Please take note,” the post reads.
The post about Soyinka’s “death” attracted numerous comments from users, some expressing their condolences but many contended that the news is fake and the account does not belong to Gurnah.
All posts on the page have been deleted.