Two cultural giants, Mrs Francesca Yetunde Emanuel and Professor Akin Euba, died on 11 April and 14 April. Mrs Emanuel, nee Pereira, was appointed the first female Permanent Secretary in the Federal Public Service of Nigeria in July 1975. She was a standout performer not only in the various ministries where she served but, more impressively, even on stage where she acted in many plays directed by Wole Soyinka. She was also a gifted singer.
After her secondary school education in Holy Child College, Lagos, she went to the University of Ibadan where she earned a B.A. in Geography. In 1964 she got married to Dr Leonard Abosede Emanuel, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who later wrote the award winning book, ”Ifa Festival.” Muyiwa, a son, is the only product of their married life.
Mrs Emanuel won many awards including the Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON. A book titled ”A Woman’s Steady Strides” by Dr Ogochukwu Promise is a very comprehensive account of her very rich life. She was 86.
Professor Akin Euba, who was also born in Lagos 84 years ago attended Trinity College of music, London, where he studied composition before he went off to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he obtained his B.A. and M.A. in Music.
In 1974, he earned his PhD in ethnomusicology at the University of Ghana in Legon, Ghana. He later worked as professor of music at the University of Lagos, University of Ife, University of Bayreuth, University Pittsburgh and University of Cambridge. His works include ”Chaka: An Opera in Two Chants,” ”Olurounbi,” ”Scenes from Traditional Life”, among numerous other great pieces.