Posted on Wednesday 23rd January 2013
The Life Story of Me, Segilola, of the fascinating eyes, she who had a thousand lovers in her life caused a sensation in colonial Lagos when caused a sensation in colonial Lagos when it was published in 1929. Years later, our Professor of African Cultural Anthropology Karin Barber has caused a similar sensation launching the first critical and scholarly edition of The Life Story...
Presented as a series of letters to the Akede Eko, a popular Yoruba language weekly newspaper, it was believed by many readers to be the true confessions of a former good-time girl repenting on her death-bed. Today, The Life Story... is recognised as a work of fiction written by the newspaper’s editor Isaac Babalola Thomas – and in fact, as the very first Yoruba novel. The nephew of I.B. Thomas was fittingly present at the launch of Professor Barber’s volume which includes a new, complete translation and readers’ letters, editorials, commentaries, and poems about Segilola. Organised by former Cadbury Fellows Professor Funke Adeboye and Dr Patrick Oloko (University of Lagos) and former British Academy Visiting Fellows Dr Oyeniyi Okunoye and Dr Sade Hunsu (both of Obafemi Awolowo University) and Dr Remi Ajala (University of Ibadan), the celebration was generously hosted by the University of Lagos.
Professor Tunde Lawuyi, University of Ibadan, was joined by eminent scholar, playwright, poet and novelist, Emeritus Professor Akinwumi Isola and Karin Barber who gave a talk on the cultural background of The Life Story... The Reverend Adetunji Adebiyi, representing the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fasola, and the illustrious novelist and playwright Oladejo Okediji were also in attendance along with many leading Yoruba scholars.