A playlet performance, feminism discourse and music organised by the Department of English, Lagos State University, Ojo for a pioneering lecturer and literary scholar, Dr. Omolola Ladele made her 60th birthday ceremony a very colourful experience. Yinka Olatunbosun reports
An assembly of academics, students and well-wishers witnessed an afternoon of fun activities as one of the founding lecturers at the Department of English, Lagos State University (LASU) , Ojo was honoured for her belatedly 60th birthday. Born on December 26, 1959, Dr. Ladele hails from Osun State. After her secondary school education at the Methodist Girls High School, Yaba, she proceeded to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Ilorin and later completed her post-graduate education at the University of Ibadan. In 1985, she joined the Department of English at LASU and has remained committed to advancing scholarship in feminism, women and gender studies.
Her students, both old and new, in partnership with the Departmental authorities prepared a very decent party in her honour which featured a playlet that celebrates Dr. Ladele as an unapologetic disciplinarian and passionate teacher. A young, tall bespectacled lady walked in from the aisle as students scampered for their seats on the stage. The mood was set as this female character reenacted the mannerisms of this strict lecturer who is a compulsive teacher and life coach all rolled into one. The show drew a lot of laughter and applause from the audience as they reminisced about their encounters with the celebrant.
In his keynote address, Dr. Adetunji Azeez of the Department of Theatre, Film and Cultural Studies spoke on feminism with the theme, “The Elephant called Feminism and the Nigerian Feminist.” He problematised the concept of feminism, dug into its western understanding and situated it in the context of African cultural worldview. He observed that feminists concerns are not just for women. His recommendations include equal education for both gender, profound research on the girl-child and a LASU- based centre for gender studies; populated by people who are knowledgeable in the area.
Clad in a peach, flowery dress, Dr. Ladele spoke briefly about what made her stand out in her line of career.
“I like to add panache and colour to what I do. My greatest fulfilment comes from the fact that when I explain things to students and they understand them, they come back to challenge me,” said the lecturer who has committed 35 years into teaching. Some of her writings had been part of local and international journals. She has supervised over 200 graduates and her intellectual incursion into the works of female playwrights such as Zulu Sofola and Ama Ata Aidoo has spurned more conversations on feminism in African literature.Her writings include titles such as, “New Perspectives in Linguistics and Literature”, “Aspects in the Study of Female Playwrights” amongst others.
In her closing remarks, Dr. Ladele expressed her gratitude for the honour.
“I was supposed to be a lawyer but I decided that I love literature. And this is where literature has brought me. I am strict with my students because I am irrevocably committed to them. And they organised this. I am grateful to them,” she said.
The event was anchored by Dr. Wunmi Oni-Buraimo.