Atelewo Holds Prize for Yoruba Literature


Tijani Abdulkabeer

Atelewo, a Yoruba cultural advocacy group, last Saturday, held an award ceremony to celebrate winners of the third edition of the ‘Atelewo Prize for Yoruba Literature’.

The Award ceremony which was held at the BNI Youth Centre, U&I Building, was part of the series of programmes to celebrate this year’s International Mother Language day.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Bode Oje, a Yoruba author and science-fiction writer and Veteran Broadcaster at FreshFM, Arojinle advocated for the embracement of the Yoruba genres in literary works, adding that Yoruba writers, folklorists and authors should also incorporate new approaches into their work.

Mr. Babatunde Shittu, who was announced as the overall winner of the contest said his emergence is an acknowledgment of the efforts he put into his work.

“I know that I’ve really done wonderful work because I sat to criticize the work from the beginning to the end. I wrote a playwright book titled Láàdì. Láàdì is one of the greatest myths in Ile-Ife,” he said.
Other shortlisted winners who received prizes are: Jimoh Lateef Aderoju for his manuscript ‘Àròfọ̀ Àsìkò; Alimi Adeniran Omosalewa for her translation of Women of Owu by Prof. Femi Osofisan; Rasheed Malik Adeniyi for his manuscript titled ‘Nǹkán Yan.’

In a separate remarks, Oredola Ibrahim, one of the founders of the Atelewo group explained that the group was founded as a response to the challenges facing the Yoruba genre of Literature. He further called on government and other important stakeholder to make policies that would mandate African languages up to the secondary school level.

“If we want to protect our culture and promote it, we need to promote it at the early stage. We will need to teach the language from the home. As teachers, we need to encourage the teaching and learning of Yoruba in schools.”

“As Government, we need to actually put up policies that encourage young people to learn the language and culture. We need to publish more books in Yoruba language for people to read. And as a society, we need to support Yoruba writers as a society by buying and reading their works” he added.

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