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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue
Title:D.A. Obasa (1879-1945): a Yoruba poet, culture activist and local intellectual in colonial Nigeria
Author:Akinyemi, AkintundeISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Nigeria
oral traditions
About person:Denrele Adetimikan Obasa
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972016000668
Abstract:This article examines the works of one of the earliest Yoruba poets, Denrele Adetimikan Obasa (1879-1945), a member of the local intelligentsia in colonial Nigeria. In this assessment of the poet as a culture activist and local intellectual, the author draws on biographical information, extensive archival research and relevant textual illustration. The central argument of the article is that Obasa exploits Yoruba communal oral resources for ideas, themes and other linguistic influences in his poetry. Therefore, the essay explores the creative ability of Obasa to preserve different forms of oral literary material in his poetic composition and how he uses the folkloric materials as instruments for raising the social consciousness of his readers. At this level, the article argues, Obasa transforms oral traditions into metaphorical and symbolic language that best articulates his political or philosophical positions. Thus, orality is not static, but dynamic, flexible and adaptable to change. The main article offers translations of excerpts from Obasa's poetry, while the online supplementary material offers more complete samples of Obasa's poems. Bibliogr., notes, ref., summary in English and French. [Journal abstract]