Cultural group marks five years promoting Yoruba ideals
Cultural group marks five years promoting Yoruba ideals
A group, Atelewo Cultural Initiative, on Wednesday, celebrated the fifth anniversary of promoting the Yoruba language and culture.
The group advocated the promotion of indigenous practices as a response to the myriads of challenges and threats facing the preservation and survival of the Yoruba culture and language.
In a press statement issued by its co-founders, Rasaq Malik and Ibrahim Oreola, they noted that a majority of Nigerians and Africans at large were beginning to draw back on reading and writing in their indigenous African languages, adding that this was not also helped by education policies that did not mandate students to learn an African language up to the secondary school level and the waning presence of quality literature materials in these languages.
“On June 1, 2017, we started ÀTẸ́LẸWỌ́ Cultural Initiative as a response to the myriads of challenges and threats facing the preservation and survival of the Yorùbá culture and language.
“We started the initiative ́to solve some of these problems by making it a platform dedicated to the reviving and repositioning of the Yorùbá culture with the mission to provide a platform for stoking interest and generating fulfilling engagements with the dynamics of the Yorùba ́culture through competitions, lectures, dialogues, and regular meetups; to provide a platform for the documentation and preservation of Yorùba ́ancient knowledge, culture, and language in keeping pace with technological advancement; and to rekindle people’s interest in Yoruba literature by organising readings, making Yoruba ́literature accessible and publishing new voices in the Yorùba ́language.
“For five years, we have consulted and provided valuable support, insights, and advocacies for various Yorùbá projects and initiatives nationally and internationally. For five years, we have provided a platform for culture and language enthusiasts to engage in rich dialogues about issues relating to and affecting the Yorùbá people,” the statement partly read.
Atelewo listed its achievements between 2017 and 2022 which had helped to promote the aims and objectives of the initiative, to include its prize for Yoruba literature, which would also take place in 2023.
Atelewo prize for Yoruba literature
“In line with our goals and objectives, Atelewo launched the annual “ÀTẸLẸWỌ́́ PRIZE FOR YORÙBÁ LITERATURE” in 2020. The competition is open to previously unpublished writers working in the Yorùba language. It is instituted to address some of the problems–committed publishers, distribution, cultivating invested readerships, etc.–that creative writing in Yorùbá faces. The ÀTEĹẸẈ́Ó PRIZẸ FOR YORÙBÁ LITERATURE intends to rejuvenate the more than the century-old, vibrant, universally praised, and unquestionably rich Yorùbá literary culture.
“For the first edition, entries were opened for writers to submit to poetry, prose, and drama categories. After the keenly contested competition, we had a total of five winners. Mustapha Sherif emerged as the overall winner for his manuscript “Orin Ewì Akọdan”. Other winners are Ṣeun Adéjàre (T’ẹníkú Ló gbé), Amos Ọlátúnjí Pópóọlá (Akínkanjú Ọdẹ Nínú Igbó Àmọ̀tẹ́kùn), Sodiq Lawal (Koówè Ń kéé), Agboọlá Àyándìran (Ó Já Sọ́pẹ́). The overall winner received a cash prize of 50,000 Naira while the rest of the winners received plaques and book prizes.
“For the second edition, we added a new category called “Translation” for entries that translated works in other languages to the Yorùbá language. And at the end of the process, we equally had five winners. Waliyullah Tunde Abiimbola emerged as the overall winner for his manuscript, Oko Ẹranko, a Yorùbá translation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. Other winners are Kafilah Ayọ̀bámi Fashola (Àbẹ̀ní), Bákárè Wahab Táíwò (Atewolara Akewi-Akowe), Anífowóṣe Zainab Olúwafúnmilọ́lá (Igbeyin Owuro) and Abdulkareem Jeleel Ọlasunkanmi (Ewì Kòbọmọjẹ́). The overall winner received a cash prize of 100,000 Naira while the rest of the winners received a plaque and 50,000 naira each.
“Today, we are happy to announce the launch of the 3rd edition. And we’re calling on previously unpublished writers working in the Yorùbá language to put in their works. We’ll be accepting submissions from the 1st of June to the 30th of October. The judging process will commence from November 1 to January 30 while the award ceremony will happen in Ibadan on February 21, 2023, in commemoration of International Mother Language Day.
“With the support of our stakeholders, we are also happy to announce that the prize has increased and the overall winner will be going home with 250,000 naira and his book will be published in hard copies, while three other winners will go home with 100,000 Naira each, ” it stated.
Looking forward, the group said, “For the next five years, in addition to making our existing works sustainable, we are also looking at building a state-of-the-art Cultural Innovation hub dedicated to advancing the course of African cultures while leveraging innovation and technology. The Cultural Innovation Hub will be a place for young people to collaborate physically and virtually to develop the next startup, idea, project, and initiative that promotes African cultures and languages.
“At ATELEWO, we believe that the future of the world is both Tech and Youth, and if we want to preserve and promote African culture and languages, we need to create the right environment for young people to develop assets so they can take up the agency for the responsibilities around building for culture.”
The statement concluded by appreciating lovers of the Yoruba language and culture, adding that “much of what we have done would not have been possible without their support.
“First of all, we will like to appreciate Professor Adeleke Adeeko, Humanities Distinguished Professor & Department Interim Chair at the Ohio State University. Professor Adéẹ̀kọ́ is our patron and he has done a lot to provide us with guidance, network, and support for our various activities in the last three years. We will also like to appreciate Mr. Ọládélé Onílé-Ere for his support for the organisation, most especially in the development and sustenance of our annual prize for Yorùbá literature.
“Others we will like to appreciate are Professor Àrìnpé Adéjùmọ̀, Dr. Tosin Gbogi, Dr. James Yeku, Dr. Gabriel Bamgbose, Jumoke Verissimo, Molara Wood, Kola Tubosun, Akin Adesokan, Damilọ́lá Adébọ́nọ̀jọ, Professor Moyọ̀ Òkédìjí, Fatoba Onala, Gbenga Adeoba, Ayo Adams, Deji Akomolafe, Professor Saheed Aderinto, Odolaye Aremu, Musiliu Dasofunjo and many others too numerous to mention.
“Similarly, we will like to appreciate organisations like Goethe-Institut, The Artivists, Oyo Insights, Yoruba Name, Distrifoods, Building Nations Initiative, HueNation Agency, Petspoint Recycling, and others,” Atelewo concluded.