A 3-Day International Conference has commenced in Akure, Ondo State Capital in memory of one of the pioneers of African literature and fiction in indigenous languages Chief Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa.
The conference which has the theme:”D.O Fagunwa: 50 Years On” was organised by Ondo State Government in conjunction with The Centre For Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Lagos; the D.O Fagunwa Foundation and the Fagunwa Study Group.
The opening ceremony of the conference chaired by the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin attracted many dignitaries from within and outside Nigeria including late Fagunwa’s family members, academicians, politicians, literary icons and top government officials.
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who was the keynote speaker, delivered a lecture on Fagunwa’s Forest Tapestry: Heroes, Heroics, Morals and Moralists in which he x-rayed the characters in some of Fagunwa’s books and linked them to the ills in our society today.
Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in their addresses commended the virtues of Late Fagunwa.
Mimiko said there was the need to encourage the use of mother tongue and the development of the culture of the people.
According to him, the state government had recommended the use of the books of Fagunwa in secondary schools across the state, saying the books were capable of preserving Yoruba language and culture.
He noted that many of Nigerian authors had contributed to the socio-economic development of the country and should, therefore, be celebrated.
Also speaking, Fayemi said the contributions and impact of Fagunwa’s poetry prowess could not be over-emphasised.
He said efforts should be made to ensure that indigenous languages were not allowed to die in the country.
Born in 1903 in Oke-Igbo, Ondo State; Late Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa was one of the pioneer authors in indigenous African languages.
He wrote his first novel, “Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole” in 1938; and later authored 4 other fascinating novels all in Yoruba Language. He died in 1963, at the age of 60.
Some of his books have been interpreted into English language.