Archive for June, 2009


June 6, 2009


Rural Community Support USA
«»‘Study Africa In Africa’ – Tempo Newspaper (Lagos)

– 17 November 1999
An African village, it is gradually expanding to become the most
profound centre of information on Africa and its people. OLUMIDE IYANDA presents
the brain behind Africa’s ‘authentic research centre’

“Very soon the whole world will know about Adeyipo Village.”

Those were the words of Dr. Bayo Adebowale, director and founder of Africa
Heritage Research Library, the first rural community-based African studies
research library. Adeyipo, the rural community that hosts the library, is a few
kilometres away from Ibadan, capital of Oyo State. The road that connects the
village to the city demands much resilience from visitors in its rough surface.
Every dawn, a horde of local farmers at Iyana-Irefin in Ibadan boards buses to
Adeyipo through Kufi, Idi-Igba, Idi-Ogun and Akobo. The environment presents a
commune of rural centres where farming dominates daily activities. The only
diversion is the one created by Dr. Adebowale in his library of African history.
The library is currently under intense construction towards expansion. Yet, it
boasts of three existing large halls lined with over 100,000 books and other
research materials. It is observedly a centre dedicated to research works on the
African continent and the blacks in the diaspora.

It stocks materials on subjects as diverse as politics, government, history,
arts and law.

The centre is a product of an event of eleven years ago. Adebowale was then a
lecturer at the former Oyo State College of Education, Ila- Orangun, Osun State.
One fateful day in 1988, he sat before his desk, going through an academic
journal. A particular article fascinated him. In the write-up, a foreign writer
“made a lot of disparaging remarks on Africa and Africans.” He portrayed Africa
as a continent on an endless rat race. The conclusion was most alarming. The
writer insisted that most African countries were not yet ripe for independence.
Adebowale saw many contradictions in the article. He, on his own, concluded that
the writer must have been a victim of sincere ignorance. But Adebowale was not
going to cast aspersion on the article and its author. He realised that the most
appropriate solution to the problem of the writer and many others in similar
shoes is enlightenment. There and then, a project was conceived towards proper
education on Africa, its history and ways of life of the inhabitants of the

Adebowale also recalled a case of a friend on a Ph.D. project in Yoruba. The
subject of the thesis was the Yoruba publication, Aworerin. Adebowale was
particularly disappointed that the friend could not find the publication in
Nigeria. He had to travel to Norwich, England, where it was discovered that a
library in the city had all the editions of the publication. These disappointing
experiences and the realisation that researches on Africa are best done in the
African natural environment, prompted Adebowale to kick off the library with his
own personal collection of 500 books. The idea was to bring students and
researchers on Africa to the continent, not only to read books but also to
experience the reality of the subject of their researches.

Adebowale got a good helper in Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade, an African-
American who was also working as chief librarian at the College of Education in
Ila-Orangun. She is currently the chief librarian at the African Heritage
Research Library. She takes care of the technical aspects of the library work.
As it was at the inception, the current goal remains aggressive book acquisition
programme. This includes an exchange agreement with libraries all over Africa
and other parts of the world. Many individuals have also donated books across

Although the centre’s special interest is in African studies, it does not
discriminate in its book acquisition policy. It stocks books by writers from all
over the world and exposes its researchers to all views, leaving them to draw an
informal conclusion.

One subject that receives a lot of attention at the centre is music. The
library is a well-stocked store of materials on living and dead music legends.

A section of the library stocks pictures of jazz music greats of African
origin. There are also audio tapes of African artistes at home and in the
diaspora. An auditorium for music of Africa is under construction. Adebowale
says the auditorium is conceived to enhance appreciation of music as a means of
entertainment and education.

Musical audio tapes are being assembled to teach the history of Africa. “When
people listen to Haruna Ishola singing about Ojukwu’s war, they will remember
the Civil War of 1967 to 1970 and will reflect on its impact on their lives
now,” Adebowale insists.

The centre has a demonstration farm to inculcate in local farmers alternative
techniques in crop cultivation and control of pests. The idea of the centre had
sounded unrealistic, even crazy, at the conception. But Adebowale is today proud
of the level of awareness created even among the local farming population. The
centre has a board of Advisers constituted by eminent scholars from Nigeria and
abroad. These include Professors Niyi Osundare, Akinwunmi Ishola, Femi Osofisan,
Sam Asein, Elechi Amadi and Goke Adeniji from Nigeria. Foreigners on the board
include Ngugi Wa Thiong’o of Kenya, Oliver B Johnson and a host of other African
American intellectuals. Adebowale himself is a veteran in the field of research.
He attended the University of Ibadan between 1971 and 1974 for a Bachelor of
Arts in English. In 1976, he got a post-graduate diploma in Applied English
Linguistics. In 1978, a master’s degree in English, majoring in Stylistics was
added at the same university. He got his a doctorate from the University of
Ilorin. After many years of sojourn through various academic environments, he
was appointed the deputy rector of The Polytechnic, Ibadan last month.
Adebowale’s most impacting experience is rooted in those years at the rural area
where he had his elementary education. He has written many poems and books. Some
of these have won awards at home and abroad. His most recent novel is Out of His
Mind, published by Spectrum Books.

Presently, he spends 70 per cent of his earnings on the library and is intent
on bringing the attention of everybody to Adeyipo to sip from the ‘fountain of
authentic African research centre situated in the heart of the continent.’
P.O.Box 36330,Agodi,Ibadan,Oyo State Nigeria
Publication Date: November 25, 1999

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 17th, 1999 at 1:17 am and is filed under Uncategorized.