from africanliterature.wordpress.com BAYO ADEBOWALE,EXTREME RIGHT,WITH OLOYE AFE BABALOLA ATI IYAAFIN YEYE AKILIMALI FUNUA OLADE (ABOVE)
BAYO ADEBOWALE:BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
By Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade
Bayo Adebowale, poet,novelist,short story writer,critic, teacher and librarian,was born in Adeyipo Village, Lagelu Local Government Area of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, on 6th June, 1944,to a peasant farmer and traditional drummer, Alagba Ayanlade Oladipupo Akangbe Adebowale. His mother, Madam Abigael Ayannihun Atunwa Adebowale is a traditional rara chanter and dancer,who hails from the neighbouring Apon Onilu Village,Ibadan, Oyo State.
Bayo Adebowale attended St. Andrew’s Kindergarten School at Kufi I Village, and St. Andrew’s Senior Primary School, Bamgbola, Igbo-Elerin District of Ibadan, where he obtained his Grade A Primary School Leaving Certificate in December, 1955. Thereafter, he was admitted to the Local Authjority Secondary Modern School, Aperin, Ibadan, between 1956 and 1958. In 1959,he became a pupil teacher at St. Mathias Primary School, Busogboro,Oluyole Local Government Area, Ibadan. The need to be trained as a teacher took him to Ilesa where he was admitted to St Peter’s Grade III Teacher College between 1960 and 1961. He was headmaster of St. Michael’s Primary School,Eko-Ajala,near Ikirun, Osun State, from January 1962 to December 1964. He was transferred to head another school in 1965-St. Andrew’s Primary School, Ilawe,three miles from Ifon, Osun State.
In 1966, the year of Nigeria’s military coup,Bayo Adebowale gained admission to Baptist College, Ede for his Higher Elementary Grade II Teacher Training Programme, which he finished in 1967 with Merit in ten subjects, including English Language, English Literature and Music. At Baptist College, Ede, Adebowale’s creativity boomed. He was a College House Prefect, the Secretary Literary and Debating Society,and the Editor of the College magazine,The Echo . He was a voracious reader of English and African novels;an ardent reader of the works of great writers like Gerald Durrel,Rider H.Haggard,Jane Austen, Daniel Defoe,John Buchan,R.L. Stevenson,Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens,Cyprian Ekwensi, Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Alan Paton, Peter Abrahams and Amos Tutuola. Bayo Adebowale’s creative ebullience was kept alive as a Higher Elementary (H.E.) teacher at Baptist School, Afolabi Apasan (near Araomi Akanran)Ibadan,between d1968 and 1970 and also at Ibadan City Council Primary School, Agugu, between 1970 and 1971.
In October,1971,he was admitted to read English at the Universtiy of Ibadan, having passed his General Certificate of Education(GCE) at both the Ordinary and the Advanced levels, between 1968 and 1971. He graduated Bachelor of Arts (Hon.) English in 1974 and had his National Youth Service Corps at St. Augustine’s Teachers’ College, Lafia, Benue-Plateau State, Northern Nigeria, from July 1974 to July 1975.
Bayo Adebowale was employed as an Education Officer (English) by the Western State Public Service Commission Between August, 1975 and August 1979 when he was posted to the Government Trade Centre at Oyo as an English Instructor. But in-between, Adebowale was given admission to the University of Ibadan for his Post Graduate Diploma in Applied English Linguistics (1976) and his Master of Arts Degree in English, which he successfully completed idn December 1978. His higher educational status qualified him for employment at the Oyo State College of Education,Ilesa,where he was appointed a Lecturer I in English in September 1979. He was posted back to St. Anderew’s College(then a Campus of OYSCE Ilesa) to head the School of Arts as the Deputy Dean,in 1981. He became athe Acting Dean of the School of Arts in Oyo State College of Education,Ila-Orangun in 1987. After the creation of Osun State(out of Oyo State) in 1991,Bayo Adebowale returned to his State of origin, with other officers of Oyo State indigenes working at OYSCE Ila-Orangun and was redeployed to The Polytechnic,Ibadan where he,at various times, as a Senior Principal Lecturer,was a Head of Department, and Acting Dean, and the Deputy Rector of the Institution between 1999 and 2003. Bayo Adebowale completed his Doctor of Philosophy Programmed in Literature in English at the University of Ilorin in May,1997.
To date, Bayo Adebowale has published over one hundred short stories in magazines, journals and papers in Nigeria and abroad.He admires a lot the works of distinguished writers, in the short story genre, like Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, Ernest Hemingway, Somerset Maugham, Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, O. Henry,Jack London, Stephen Crane, Judith Wright, Agnus Wilson, Chinua Achebe,Eyprian Ekwensi, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o,Ben Okri, A.G.S. Momodu, Rasheed Gbadamosi,Lekan Oyejide, Nadine Gordimer, Lekan Oyegoke and Danbudzo Marechera.
In 1972,Adebowale’s short story,”The River Goddess” won the Western State Festival of Arts Literary Competition, in Ibadan, Nigeria and in 2002,he edited a collection of new Nigerian short stories-Talent-involving the words of fifteen Nigerian writers,including those of Femi Osofisan, Wale Okediran, Akeem Lasisi,Lekan Oyegode, Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade,and Amos Tutuola. Adebowale’s short stories had appeared in important Anthologies like Frontiers:Nigerian Short Stories (1992)d;A Passage to Modern Cicero (2003) and Horizon Journal,University of Ibadan (1975). Adebowale’s short stories are collected in book form in Iron Hand,Girl About Town; and Book Me Down. His collection A New Life was published in 2006 by Bounty Press,Ibadan.
Over ninety per cent of Bayo Adebowale’s short stories have rural setting, and deal with local community people in Nigerian villages and hamlets. A common trend of culture runs through them, stretching into his poetry and his three full-length novels.
For Adebowale the so-called modern society has nothing to offer to communal African village life “except chaos, corruption and other manifestations of of western narcissim”. Africa,for Adebowale,is a passion. “The contemorarisation of the mystic of the African essence is an addiction”.
Bayo Adebowale exhaustively examines the theme of culture in his poetry. Village Harvest,his first book of poetry,bears testimony to this. All the fifty-eight poems in the collection discuss sceneries,seasons,people,places, experiences,events and beliefs of the rural community people. This same trend is discernible in his second book of poetry,A Night of Incantations; where Yoruba traditional incantations are broken into three broad categories, viz: Malevolent Incantations;Benevolent Incantations and Propitiatory Incantations. In 1992,Bayo Adebowale’s poem, “Perdition” won the Africa Prize in the Index on Censorship International Poetry Competition in London. Quite a good number of his poems have been anthologized in Poetry for Africa 2(United Kingdom),Index on Censorship Journal (United Kingdom),African Literature Association Bulletin(Canada);Poetry Drum (Nigeria) and Crab Orchard Review(United States of America).Adebowale’s latest collection of poems, African Melody (2008) gives a realistic literary repositioning of the African Continent and has been acknowledged as”deeply reseached and a compotently crafted work of art”.
Today, Bayo Adebowale is most well-known as a novelist. His first novel,The Virgin, has been adapted into two home videos under the titles of “The White Hankerchief” and later as a thirteen week National Television Serial under yet another tile- “The Narrow Path” -all by the Main Frame Film Organization of Lagos under the directorate of the ace Nigerian cinematographer-Tunde Kelani. Adebowale’s second novel,Out of His Mind has several tiimes also been adapted for the stage. Both novels have been used by researchers as final-year Long Essay Projects in Colleges of Education, and for the Bachelor of Artrs degree final-year research and for Master of Arts dissertations in Nigerian Universities. His third novel, Lonely Days is probably his most ambitious literary endeavour to date. The novel predictably deals with an important aspect of the African culture-widowhood- and has its setting, predictably also, in African rural environment. Adebowale has two other yet to be published novels:Sweetheart and Lone Voice Bayo Adebowale has been described variously as “an advocate of the grassroots people”,”a village novelist” and “a protagonist of the African culture and tradition”and “Africa’s Charles Dickens”.
His pet project, The African Heritage Research Library (at Adeyipo Village, Lagelu Local Government Area,Ibadan,Oyo State,Nigeria) is the first rural community-based African studies research library on the Continent. The objectives of the Centre are (i) to serve the educational needs of students, researchers, scholars, documentalists, and archivists in Africa and all over the world;and (ii) to serve the socio-cultural needs of the local community people:peasant farmers,local artisans, craftsmen and women in African villages and hamlets. Adebowale’s Centre at Adeyipo Village, now incorporates the cultural aspect of the life of the people with the introduction of a Music of Africa Auditorium,a Medicinal Herbs Garden and a Talking Drum Museum.
The establishment of the African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre (AHRLC) has helped a lot to enhance the quantity and quality of Bayo Adebowale’s literary output.The African Heritage Research Library has a formidable Board of Advisors which include eminent scholars and writers all over the world like Ngugi Wa Thiong’o,Elechi Amadi, Niyi Osundare,Bernth Lindfors,Akinwumi Isola;Femi Osofisan;Sam. A. Adewoye,Lekan Oyegoke, Tony Marinho and Niara Sudarkasa.
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Tags: BAYO ADEBOWALE:A GREAT AFRICAN WRITER, BLACK NOVELISTS, BLACK WRITERS
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