Professor Tejumola Olaniyan, 60, dies of heart failure in US

Professor Tejumola Olaniyan, 60, dies of heart failure in US

Saturday, November 30, 2019 11:10 pm



Tejumola Olaniyan

Tejumola Olaniyan, one of the most brilliant and accomplished Professors of English, African Literature and Black Studies in the world, died Saturday afternoon, 30  November, 2019,  at his home in Madison of heart failure.

He was about to set out for a trip to Europe for a conference.

He turned 60 on 3 April this year.

He was the Louis Durham Mead Professor in English and the Wole Soyinka Humanities Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Tejumola Olaniyan

His works include: ”Scars of Conquest/ Masks of Resistance; ”Arrest the Music: Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics”; (co-edited with Ato Quayson) ”African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory; (co-edited with John Conteh-Morgan) ”African Drama and Performance”; (co-edited with James H. Sweet) ”African Diaspora and the Discipline”, (co-edited with Peter Limb) ”Taking African Cartoons Seriously: Politics, Satire and Culture”; and edited ”State and Culture in Post-colonial Africa.” He was until his death editor of ‘Journal of the African Literature Association’. Professor Tejumola Olaniyan was putting finishing touches to his magisterial book on African cartoons before his death.

He has produced many successful scholars. He was well-loved by many of his students for his rigour and his kindness. Indeed, Professor Olaniyan hosted many of them at the last Thanksgiving holiday.

Between 7 and 10 August this year, he was one of the arrowheads of a celebration of Wole Soyinka in Akure by The Fagunwa Study Group. He is survived by his wife, Mojisola Olaniyan, a Dean in the Faculty of Law, University of Wisconsin, Madison, two daughters, Bolajoko and Olabimpe

Professor Tejumola Olaniyan earned his BA, MA in Ife, MA and PhD in Cornell University.

Reacting to his death Professor Wole Soyinka said, ”Devastating, and even now still incomprehensible. I was with him in Cambridge  -with Awam Amkpa, Okey Ndibe, Mrs Irele, Skip Gates, Bankole Olayebi  – only a week ago. Not one wisp of premonition that we had all been fortuitously brought together for the implacable rites of a last Supper. I deeply mourn with his wife and the family. It is such a cruel order of going.” Read more here.

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