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Nigerians sign petition against German writer who claimed ‘Soro Soke’

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Nigerians have signed a petition against German author, Trish Lorenz, who claimed to have coined the word “Soro Soke generation” to describe Nigerian youth.

The author, who has written a book called ‘Soro Soke’, said in an interview, “This cohort exhibits a confident outspokenness and a streak of creative disruption, which led me to call them the Soro Soke generation.”

But more than 500 Nigerians have signed a petition asking the author to remove ‘Soro Soke’ from publication, saying she has no right to claim ownership of the phrase, which stood for ‘Speak up’ in Yoruba language.

The petition was titled “Remind ‘Soro Soke’ from publication – The author cannot CO-OPT and steal from a Nigerian movement!”

It said in part: “Soro Soke means Speak Up/Do not be Silent in the West African Yoruba language. It was a cry, a battle chant, a movement used in the #EndSARS campaign by Nigerian protesters fighting against police brutality from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in October 2020.

“The phrase signaled that the Nigerian people would no longer put up with bad governance and would speak out boldly. Demonstrations and community rallies were held for “Soro Soke” (Talk)

“Unfortunately, during the protests, the authorities responded with the military and more than 50 Nigerians lost their lives. Many protesters and activists are still in prison, some in exile. Nigerians have not recovered from the aftermath.

“In all of this, Trish Lorenz, a white woman from Germany, decides to expropriate and abuse the name of the struggle which recalls the actions of her ancestors at the Berlin conference of 1884/5.”

The petition described Lorenz’s book as “a theft of intellectual property and a gross disrespect to Nigerians”, thus calling for an end to its publishing processes.

The signatories of the petition also demanded from the author a public and written apology to Nigerians as they also asked the platform on which she conducted the interview, Crassh, to withdraw their story or remove the false statements from the author.

At the time of filing this report, approximately 55 people have signed the petition, which is expected to reach 1,000 signatures.

Speaking on the development, Yemi Adamolekun, executive director of Enough is Enough, a youth advocacy group, noted that white women have more preference in the African history publication.

“If you want to write a book about such an epic moment in history, why is the white woman writing the book? They can’t ask a Nigerian to write the book? questioned Adamolekun.

Lorenz claiming she coined the phrase in an interview, however, sparked young people regarding the post, Adamolekun noted.

The attorney further stated that although the interviewer misquoted Lorenz, no word was received from the author or publisher refuting the claims.

She said: “It’s been a few days now and I haven’t seen a statement from her or Cambridge University Press correcting this. It’s quite significant, although she didn’t say so in the book. It also speaks to the fact that we (as Nigerians) need to be deliberate in telling our stories.

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