Two things. I read over a decade ago, from no less a book that sought to teach students better English, that every adult has at least one book in their brains. The author advised that everyone should try and write at least that one book before they die. It could be a book about your profession, or experience of something or the other. It could be a book on skills you had learnt about something, or a distillation of philosophical takes. Whatever it is, write that book! It could as well be the story of your life. Everyone has one unique story about their struggles, including those who will complain that, ‘Dad died and left me a mere one million dollars! What do I do with that? It was incredibly tough making it in life.’ Those peculiar guys aside, many will narrate their ups and downs, valleys and peaks, in this uncertain life where we have grown to set ourselves one hurdle after another. Anyone who quickly finds a plateau; a comfort zone, in today’s world; a place to start relaxing; an end to ambition, is deemed a failure. So, on the basis that Mr Oluwadele has found the time to write his own book, to put his thoughts to paper, he has done a great thing, something which 99.9 per cent of the earthly population fail to do in their lifetimes. That is remarkable.
The second big issue here is that we, Africans, always complain about how our history was stolen. Yes, the period of slavery and colonisation was a great period of plunder for us. Yes, our artefacts and other treasured asset were stripped and taken away (one of them – a Queen Idia mask, among items plundered from the ancient Benin Kingdom, was once listed for £4.5 million at London’s Sotheby’s gallery!) Yes, there were confirmed attempts and initiatives to ensure we do not remember where we are coming from – for a people’s history is not only about where they are coming from but a compass to where they need to be heading. Yes, we were traumatised. But I have challenged a great many friends that we should ensure we write our own modern history while we have the time on our hands. If we do not write what will become tomorrow’s history today, then in 200 years’ time whoever is around as our descendants will continue to learn the history of the colonisers that we complain about. For just a very few of us are writing materials that could stand the test of history. Way too few. Mind you, a people’s history is not just their genealogy, or records of ancestry or economic or sociological data. A people’s history is everything they are able to leave in preserved form for their children. I did a google search of ‘The Diaries of…’, and what came up were… “The diaries of Anne Lister, Franz Kafka, Adrian Mole, Lord Lugard, Lizzy Bennet, Bridget Jones, Carrie Bradshaw, Vampire Bonnie, Courtney Love, Lewis and Clark” etc. Enough already. I didn’t see the diaries of any of our direct descendants. We must also view history from the point of view of data, for in our world today, data is king. Meaning that history is king. In time, those who know history will own finance. This book is therefore a book of history. But it is far more than mere history.
This book explores the fecund and extremely productive mind of the author, taking readers through a voyage in economics, politics, sociology, philosophy and of course history. The author also throws in a couple of poems. That is one area I have never tried my hands on, for I believe it takes a deep person to write and understand them – especially to write them. It takes an incredible amount of patience and creativity to write poetry, and the author demystified that by showing how eclectic and talented he is.
By every means, the village boy shines through in this book, as the author does not forget his origins. The book is interspersed with anecdotes from his cultural background, stories that stir a sense of euphoria and others that try to jar us awake to our immediate responsibilities. Mr. Bolutife bares his life in this book – which I reckon is his first. He does not forget his love for football (soccer as they call it elsewhere), and the global perspectives he has acquired as he sojourns in North America. Through this book, I see a generous soul, who seeks the best for humanity and believes (like I do) that life could be a whole lot better for millions of our people. He has deployed his pen in that direction, as a potent force and weapon for change and the emancipation of millions of our most disadvantaged peoples.
One last thing about this book. I think the book falls into a new genre that is a necessity, especially for Africans. Ours is the most deprived and disadvantaged of continents. Our subregion (sub-Sahara) is even more so. I personally do not believe that we have more natural resources than everywhere else on earth. What I am sure of is that our resources are the most open; the most documented; the most explored and exploited. Nobody will tell us what they have under the ground in Europe and the Americas. So, this new, absolutely-important genre is what it is; a genre where people write their minds freely and fully, not trying to conforms with the whims, caprices, standards and desires of some publishing house. There is nothing wrong with self-publishing, and peer-review sometimes, may lead to the perpetuation of the same family of ideas, which basically keep the world rotating in a comfortable axis of control for those who presently hold the aces. Mr. Oluwadele is what we call a ‘table-shaker’. He has written this book, touching on life and living, history, the present and the future, as he sees it. And I reckon he is unapologetic about his views. He is only focused on improvements in humanity.
‘Tope Fasua, is an economist, author, blogger and entrepreneur.
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