Afonja Comes Alive in Lagos this Sunday


Discussion on Yoruba history especially as it concerns Afonja, a onetime Aare Ona Kakanfo of the Oyo Empire, will be at the front burner at Musson Center, Lagos this Sunday, as historians and top culture enthusiasts, including a leading Yoruba Storyteller and Cinematographer, Tunde Kelani, take a look at Yoruba history and life and times of Afonja and Alaafin of Oyo – Aole Arogangan.

The roundtable talk is being organised to launch a book –Afonja: The Rise, written by Tunde Leye, a former staff of Interswitch, whose person for writing has produced four good books.

According to the author of the book, the discussion is being organised to further give hindsight into the history of the Yoruba before the colonial masters came to give the people alternative government.

On what informed his reason to write the book, Leye said he was compel to research and put the story together because of the poor knowledge people of his generation has about Yoruba history.

“I’ve always loved history generally not just the Yoruba version. Before my sojourn into this, I took it for granted that everybody knows our history. I have a couple of friends and we discussed history but most of what we discussed was Western history. Of course, they were very knowledgeable at it. One day, I just mentioned Kiriji War and they looked at me like; what is Kiriji War? Meanwhile, these are guys that if you ask them about the battle of Waterloo, they will tell you the type of Calvary and artillery used. I became confused that how could they be knowledgeable in other people’s history and as Yoruba guys, they didn’t know about Kiriji War,”

The author, who expresses his regret over the way young men and women today in Yoruba nation, engage history as if it started when the white men came, said with the Sunday roundtable talk, stakeholders will appreciate the need to protect the African culture and history.

 So when you mention history they tell you about the Amalgamation and those things, but are unable to tell what happened before the white men came. I realised that I wanted to write about Kiriji War, but when I started researching, it became very clear to me that I can’t start the story from Kiriji War because something led to the Kiriji War. During the research it became clear that the magical point to start the story was from the decline of the Oyo Empire. And everybody says that the person responsible for the decline of the Empire is Afonja. So this story is my take on who Afonja is and his role in the decline of the Oyo Empire.

While calling on Yoruba leaders to attend the roundtable talk, Leye recommends the book, which is written as a novel, for scholars, students and Yoruba elites who are passionate about their culture.