Tao turns his late father’s request over to a journeyman raconteur – Tola Adenle

Thank you for the update on “Yoruba Engagement Aso Oke” stats. 

We must consider the next phase of my dream: a campaign to strengthen our Yoruba consciousness.  I have always kept close to my heart the wishes of my late father, Olaomiitan, guided me to encourage all capable Yoruba:



Above two scanned documents are what’s left of the cover and front pages of Rev. Samuel Johnson’s History of the Yorubas, 1937 ed. Depo & Tola Adenle’s Library.

·         To own, by age 50 in their wardrobes, a set of Etu, Sanyan/Fuu – off-white silk, and Alaari; He used to say, Igba yen ni nwon to di agba! [That’s when they really become adults!]

·         Secondly, they should have, by age 40, copies of –

          Johnson’s “History of the Yoruba;

          Fagunwa’s great classics,

          Amos Tutuola’s Classics, and

          The Yoruba Pharmacopeia by Odumosu.

Happily, these books are all still available at Booksellers Association at Jericho, Ibadan.

Ogboju Ode“Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole” translated by Wole Soyinka into English Language:  “The Forest of a Thousand Demons.

Below is “Ireke Onibudo.  Both books- like all Fagunwa titles, narrate the stories of mythical epic journeys.

Ireke Onibudo

Above, the very poorly-produced, including illustrations, of the latest editions of two of Fagunwa’s classics by his publishers, Nelson, Ibadan, Nigeria.  [Purchased August 17, 2013]

Please put your blog to work on this cause on my behalf, on behalf of all of us, and in memory of a man who cherished our heritage like most of our departed older generations.

Be well. Mo kun f’ope, o. [I’m full of thanks]



Thanks for this.  


I almost pass your Papa’s challenge requirements for Yoruba clothes!  I had my first sanyan at 41 although I had earlier purchased a hybrid in 1969 as one of two aso oke I first bought.  The real one was worn at our father’s funeral but I now own two.  The first alaari occasion needed etu but would not be ready for occasion – I was at 52 and etu, also at 52, six months after alaari.

Dr. Adenle and I had Johnson’s “History of the Yoruba” in 1969 as a gift ( see http://emotanafricana.com/2012/03/21/the-manuscript-that-got-lost-remembering-the-rev-samuel-johnson-ayinla-ogun/),

a couple of months before we got married and by 1998, I had bought and read multiple times 3 sets of the whole Fagunwa classics.  Only one of my kids was really excellent at reading Yoruba but even then, she could never do justice to the intricate descriptions, idioms and proverbs employed by the story teller which meant I used to read the books to them. They loved them enough that one of them, a 14 year-old, decided to do a water color rendition of the duel in Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole between Akara-Oogun and Agbako for an international competition in 1987. The illustration was included in the 50th anniversary write-ups on Fagunwa:


I recently gifted myself with Ogboju-Ode & Ireke Onibudo for the 50th Anniversary of Fagunwa’s translation. They cost N500 (five hundred Naira) each, and I spent Wednesday this week re-reading Ogboju-Ode.   Still greatly entertaining, though surprisingly at my age, still eerily and seemingly real enough to be scary! I would have purchased the whole set at Book Sellers, Jericho, Ibadan same day but the re-run quality is incredibly so poor I wondered if they were photocopied. The redoubtable old Nelson Publishers could not have purchased bootlegged copies, or could it?  


And Tutuola?  Purchased and read The Palm Wine Drinkard twice but that was years ago; have to get my hands on a copy, again.  Reading it, though, was nothing like watching The Master, Duro Ladipo act Lanke Omu, the drunkard.  When he would lift an empty gourd from the ground to his mouth, his struggle with a supposedly full gourd of palm wine would reduce him to sweat – I saw the play more than once at Ibadan – AND joy, as the palm wine touched his lips that it would seem all so real!


Now, Odumosu’s YORUBA PHARMACOPEIA is new to me!  Title sounds too Pharmacology, academic and intimidating!  Herbs?


I hope Yoruba people here and in Diaspora would avail themselves of the wealth of information, knowledge and norms in these books recommended by Mr. Tao’s late father to learn as well as for entertainment.  Read or re-read how kolokolo –  the fox, of course – tricked the tiger back into the cage and saved a stupid “generous” by-passer from being eaten.  How about the story of Ajantala that we all loved in elementary schools?  I laughed and laughed at how the spit of a child who started raising hell from the day she was born turned the lion, the elephant- yeah, rulers of the jungle – into lily-livered cowards; and she was never up to two feet tall!


Okay, my own request from Tao and all my readers who can:  Get your hands on Ekwensi’s The Passport of Mallam Ilia for a re-read but if you’ve SOMEHOW never read it, get ready for an un-putdown-able little great book!  How many times have I read it and how many young people have gotten it as gifts from me? 


That, SIR, is like asking how many times I watched From Russia with Love; The Sound of Music – just at the old Scala, Ibadan, not counting post-1960s, or The Godfather … OR  Love Story with Ali McGraw & Ryan O’Neal in 1971 alone?


Abo mi re e, o, enyin ore mi.  E jowo e ba ‘mi gba oro Oloogbe ye wo, o.  Emi na kun f’ope, o! 

[Your wish, Tao – like most that I can handle on anything Yoruba – was a command/Here I must stop!  And, Dear friends of this blog  AND blogger, please let’s honor the memory of the dearly departed Papa Tao by checking out some of these ideas which are noteworthy.  I, too, am full of thanks!]

Regards, as always,


Please remember to check out these two:




FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013.  1:48: 25 p.m. [GMT]


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6 Comments on “Tao turns his late father’s request over to a journeyman raconteur – Tola Adenle”

  1. rafiu Says:

    Thanks a lot.



  2. rafiu Says:

    Ok, very nice piece. While we are at it, can you guys find a copy of Owe L’Esin Oro,Yoruba Proverbs-Their Meaning and Usage, by Isaac Delano, 1966? I will be greatly obliged.



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