Journalism in the service of society

The man died

(A tribute to Prof Kole Omotosho)

I BECAME a protégée of Prof Omotosho in 1973 , when I was admitted to UI and was taking elective courses in the Theater dept.

In 1974 , he accepted me into his house and gave me the boys quarters to stay along with one Keith Gittens. Who later re named himself Koffi
A student from Trinidad.
I stayed in this house for a year. The off campus year.

Prof got married to his delectable wife , Maggie ,a West Indian in my presence.
May her soul rest in peace.
He had Akin his first son in my presence. Akin today is one of the most prolific film directors in Africa.
He’s work in progress still.

Through Prof Kole , I became very close to his band of Afrocentric professors . Biodun Jeyifus, Abiola Irele , Femi Osofisan , Sumbo Marinho etc.

I was in his house the night Wole Soyinka crept in at night dodging from the military Government of General Gowon.
National alerts were being made for Soyinka to be arrested on sight . He had written a book THE MAN DIED. Which was a scathing expose of his prison experience and the terrible things from the execution of the Biafran war by the military.

WS was going to escape into Ghana.
The manuscript of the book needed to be hidden.
That night , it was buried within the Kole Omotosho official quarters he shared with Prof Osofisan.
We dug the ground.

The last time I saw Professor Omotosho was around twelve years ago.
I wanted to buy a house in Southafrica.
Prof had a fantastic one by the beach in Durban .
He offered to sell to me at discount price.
In fact when I was coming back to Nigeria , he drove all the way to JoBurg airport to see me off.
We retired to a small coffee shop because his presence was causing so much attention.
He was the face of the popular Southafrica GSM network . VODACOM.
His character was YEBO GOGO.
His face adorned billboards and every TV Station in South Africa.
The anti immigrant riots shortly after killed my interest in buying a house in Durban.
Prof Omotosho is a member of an endangered specie. A specie of African literary giants that gave life to our spirit of Afrocentrism. These are the African sons that re interpreted the image of the African spirit which was badly painted by the western PR machine.
A throwback to the colonial era .
A giant has gone to sleep , yet the town crier is fast asleep.
The expected ovation in the village square is missing.
But we cannot be caught napping. Because we drank from the spring of his essence.
And it made us become drunkards of creativity. Although the man actually died, but his tomb is the temple of creativity for generations! Forever!

*Alabi-Hundeyin (DUDU) is a film and TV producer and public administrator

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