Ògbóǹtarìgì is a project inspired by our experiences at the height of the pandemic. During the COVID-19 restriction, as an alternative to our physical Jomitoro Cultural Meetup, we started a Yorùbá Book Reading on the zoom platform as many are at home and movements are limited. In this zoom event, we curate fantastic Yorùba ́literature to read and we have other people from within and outside Nigeria join us. In one of the sessions, after we finished reading Eégún Alaŕé, an operatic Yorùbá novel authored by Lawuyi ̀ Ògúnníran, and we were having a virtuapost-readingng discussion as usual and because many of us read the novels while in secondary schools, some people on the virtual suggested that the author was late. Another participant immediately countered this notion and said emphatically that the author was still alive.
This prompted us to do more research about him and we found out that indeed he was alive. We paid him a visit and during that visit we realised how he and his art have been under-appreciated looking at the low level of online visibility, relevace, recognition and respect that have been accorded a writer of his worth who has written over 15 powerful Yorùbánovels that have impacted the lives of millions of school children in Southwestern Nigeria. So, we decided to correct this and on the 5th of September, we went to his house to shoot a mini-documentary documentary on him (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2iaSyKBco8) as a way to retell his story and showcase his vast contributions to Yorùba ́literature. We also gave him an award in recognition of his contributions to Yorùba ́literature. Unfortunately, the author died just 2 weeks after we shot this documentary.
Fortunately, we had already completed the documentary and the documentary became of the very few works on the life of the author that will allow people a peek into his life and contributions to Yorùbá culture and literature. While we were able to do this for Lawuýi Ògúnniran,́ others before him were not so lucky and we have countless other old veteran Yorùba ́authors whose arts and contributions are being largely underappreciated. This is why we launched Ògbóǹtarìgì as a project to identify and celebrate old veteran Yorùba ́authors who have made very great contributions through their works and life activities to Yorùbá literature via YouTube documentaries, interviews and visibility on online platforms like Wikipedia.
- To cast a spotlight on each of the selected authors and to showcase their contributions with respect to Yorùbá literature and culture to the world.
- To inspire younger generations about the feats and works of the selected veterans and to also motivate them to want to contribute to the development of Yorùba ́literature and culture.
- To increase the visibility and representation of Yorùbá authors online thereby contributing to helping to achieve decolonising the internet by telling the stories of these underrepresented people on the internet.
Bàbá Láwuyì Ògúnníran
Bàbá Láwuyì Ògúnníran is an outstanding Yorùbá writer who contributed immensely to the propagation of Yorùbá indigenous language, culture and tradition. He wrote many sublime books that distinguished him from the crowd. Apart from his widely acclaimed book titled “Eégún Aláré,” Láwuyì Ògúnníran wrote other canonical texts such as: Ọlọ́run ò màwàdà, 1991 Frontline, Ìbàdàn Mẹ̀siọ̀gọ̀, 2000 Vantage, Igi wọ́rọ́kọ́, 1998 Lolyem, Ààrẹ Àgò Aríkúyẹrí, 1977 MacMillan, Eégún Aláré, MacMillan, Ọmọ Alátẹ ìlèkè, 1996 Lolyem, Abínú ẹni, 1997 Lolyem, Ẹrù ìfẹ, Lolyem ́ , Ọ̀nà kan ò wọjà, 1991 Longman, Níbo láye doríkọ, 1980 Longman, Ogún ọ̀kẹ́ mẹfà, MacMillan ́ , Àtàrí Àjànàkú, 1987 Evans, Aaro mẹta àt ́ ọ̀runwá, 1993 Vantage, Bó o láyà o sẹ̀kà, Adédẹ̀wá among others.
These books are captivating books, and they shape our thoughts about societal happenings. Like his contemporaries, Láwuyì Ògúnníran displays acute understanding of the Yorùbá world through his faultless deployment of language to paint the portraits of our society. One of his books, “Eégún Aláré” voyaged successfully and fed young generation about important values and ideals of being a Yorùbá. Many people attest to the boundless love and admiration they have for the book and other books written by the author. And aside from being a successful author, he also made remarkable contributions to Southwestern Nigeria as a historian, researcher and journalist.
All his life, Láwuyì Ògúnníran worked passionately towards promoting our culture and practices through his books. Láwuyì, like his fellow cultural vanguards—Prof. Akínwùnmí Ìshọ̀lá, Baba Adébáyò Fálétí, Baba Ọládẹ̀jọ Òkédìjí and others—will go down in history as an illustrious Yorùbá son who gave all he had in contribution for the sustainbility of our mothertongue.
He died on the 21st day of September, 2020.
Olóyè Ọládàpọ̀ Ọlátúbọ̀sún
Chief Ọlátúbọ̀sún Ọládàpọ̀ is a veteran Yorùbá writer, playwright, oral/performance poet, record producer, publisher and broadcaster. He was born in Ìkèrèkú, near Ọlańlá in Ìbàdàn on September 19, 1943. Because of his oral poetry works, he is widely known as Odídẹrẹ́ Ayékòótọ́ Akéwì, a loquacious parrot-poet. He attended Phillip’s Primary School in Arárọ̀mí Òwu in 1950, then St James’ Ọ̀lańlá in Akínyẹlé, Ìbàdàn (1951–54). He also underwent training at St. Luke’s Teachers’ Training College, Ìbàdàn. From there, he went to the University of Lagos where he had a Diploma in Yorùbá Studies in 1975. Ọládàpọ̀ has published over 30 books, including the serial Àròyé Akéwì (in three parts), Òṣùpá Ìfẹ́ (2013), Àjẹ́ Ọlọ́mọ, Òṣùká Fẹ́ P’ẹlẹ́rù (2015), Ẹgbẹ̀ta Òwe series (2006) amongst others. His plays Ògún Lákáayé and Ẹ Gbádé F’áládé won the second and third prizes at the Oxford University Press drama competition in 1970.
In 1969 Ọládàpọ̀ joined The Sketch Newspaper via GboùnGboùn, its Yoruba arm, where he worked for a year before moving, in 1970, to Western Nigeria Television (WNTV), Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service (WNBS). He later resigned in 1977 to found Olátúbọ̀sún Records, whose mission was to seek out, promote and produce indigenous-language artists and folk poets across the Yorùbá country. Through the outfit, he produced about 200 artistes’ records across Yorùbáland, including the late Ògúndáre Fọ́yánmu, Odòlayé Àrẹ̀mú, Àlàbí Ògúndépò, Dúró Ládiípọ̀, among others. In the year 1979, Ọládàpọ̀ began publishing Ọ̀kín Ọlọ́jà, a current affairs news magazine in Yorùbá with the late Láwuyì Ògúnníran as the Editor-In-Chief.
In all, Ọládàpọ̀’s life and work has been defined by a commitment to the craft of poetry through the facility of language and performance. He continues to write, broadcast and advocate for the promotion and development of Yorùbá literature and orature.
Ọ̀jọ̀gbọ́n Àrìnpé Gbẹ́kẹ̀lólú Adéjùmọ̀
Professor Àrìnpé Adéjùmọ̀ is a veteran teacher of Yorùbá literature, academic, researcher, critic, Yorùbá playwright, poet, translator and administrator. She was born on March 4, 1964 in Wá-Ká-Jayé Gbọ̀ngán in Modákẹ́kẹ́. Professor Adejumo holds B.A., M.A. and PhD in Yoruba Language and Literature of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (1985, 1988 and 1995 respectively) and joined the University system at the then Ondo State University (now Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti) in 1988 as a Graduate Assistant. She joined the University of Ibadan in 2003 as a Senior Lecturer and rose to become a Professor in 2010.She is the past Head of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Professor Adéjùmọ̀ is the author of the play, Afàgò Kéyin Àparò and Ròóre, a collection of poems. She is the author of the first book length study of dramatic satire in Yoruba language, Ìṣẹ̀fẹ̀ Nínú Àwọn Eré Onítàn Yorùbá (2001). In addition, she co-edited Ọ̀tun Ìmọ̀ Nínú Ìtàn Àròsọ D. O. Fagunwa (2016), a volume of essays to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of D. O. Fagunwa’s death. As a seasoned academic, researcher and administrator, Professor Adejumo has numerous academic publications to her credit in reputable local and international journals. She is also involved in collaborative research programmes with colleagues both within and outside Nigeria. She is a Member, Nigerian Academy of Letters; Secretary, Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria (YSAN) (2006-2010); Editor, YORUBA: Journal of Yorùbá Studies Association of Nigeria (2010-2014); and Co-Editor, Yoruba Studies Review (an International Journal of Yoruba, jointly sponsored by University of Texas in Austin, University of Ibadan, and University of Florida.
She is currently the Deputy Provost (Academic), University of Ibadan Postgraduate College.
Olóyè Bánjọ Akinlabí
Chief Bánjo Ebenezer Akinlabi is a veteran Yorùbá author, broadcaster, journalist, teacher, publisher and Yorùbá cultural advocate. He was born in 1953 to a Yoruba family in Ibadan. He had his primary and secondary education at Saint James Primary School, Dagbolu, in Ibadan and Oba Akinyele Memorial High School in Ibadan respectively. After his secondary education, he proceeded to St.Andrews College, Oyo and finished in 1976. In the quest for more education, Chief Akinlabi also has two degrees in Yorùbá Language and Guidance and Counselling from the University of Lagos and University of Nigeria, Nsukka respectively.
He has written extensively in both Yoruba and English Languages and many of his Yorùbá Literature works have been widely adopted for teaching in schools across the South-Western region in Nigeria. Some of his works include “Tìrẹ Lẹ́yìn Ikú”, “Nǹkan Aṣírí”, “Àìsàn Ìfẹ́”, “Àtùpà Ọ̀sán”, “Ọmọge Oníróbó”, “Ìrìn Àjò Ìfẹ́”, “Ìrònú Akinlabí” amongst tens of other publications. Chief Akinlabí has been widely celebrated and award for his great works in promoting the Yorùbá literature.
After retirement from his teaching career, he currently runs his own publishing company at Ebby Publisher in Ibadan and regularly presents on Impact Business Radio FM as well as God’s Own Broadcasting Network where he talks about Yorùbá literature and culture.