#EndSARS: UK author under fire over claim she named protesters ‘Soro Soke’

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‘Soro Soke’, a Yoruba phrase, which means speak louder in English, was a popular term used by Nigerians during the #EndSARS protest in October 2020.

The protest, which lasted for about two weeks, was aimed at ending police brutality and excesses of operatives of the now-disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) in the country.

In the book, Lorenz examined the bravery of youths who led the movement and featured the views of some Nigerians who took part in the demonstration.

The Berlin-based journalist had taken to Twitter to celebrate the project which was published on May 26. She also said the book won her the 2021/2022 Nine Dots Prize — which honours creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues.

But in an interview on the book, the author had claimed she was the one who named the protesters “Soro Soke generation”.

“This cohort exhibits a confident outspokenness and a tendency for creative disruption, leading me to name them the Soro Soke generation (Soro Soke means ‘speak out’ in the Yoruba language),” she said.

Her claim has, however, provoked a chorus of backlash from many Nigerians on Twitter.

Several users accused her of trying to take credit for the term despite the fact that she did not initiate it.

“You named us Soro Soke generation. How? This is how these writers publish false and not so authentic stories. The next generation will read this and believe that Trish Lorenz a white woman, gave a name to Nigerians fighting for their right,” a user wrote.

“This is exactly what the white people did to our ancestors. Took many African heritages and forefathers, and claimed it to be theirs. Trish Lorenz @mstrishlorenz didn’t tweet once for the #EndSARS struggle in 2020 but this is 2022 and she’s appropriating the soro soke generation!”

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