Wednesday, September 10, 2014

OLABISI AJALA: An African Abroad

I read this book twice when I was entering my teens; this was one of the prized books in my father's superb library long ago. Later on as a young adult I read this work again... 

It is a very impressive book, published some 50 years ago by an authentic African journalist who had travelled the world essentially on a motor cycle or scooter. The book is in no way fiction, as anybody who has actually read it will easily vouchsafe. 

What would strike the reader immediately is the sheer brilliance, professionalism and savvy of the author as an international journalist. Each chapter is prefaced by superb political backgrounds of pertinent countries - visited by the protagonist. 

The author got to meet several very important political leaders at the time in several countries. Yes, he was something of a rarity in these countries but arguably considering the era he was treated civilly and very well wherever he travelled to.

I still remember that at Immigration in Australia the author speculated aloud as to whether he was being "discriminated" against because of the colour of his skin; whereat he was told that there was nothing special about his colour and officials met his type regularly!

There are many photos reproduced in the book complementing the lurid accounts of the author in diverse countries. For those interested in world history, geography, politics etc, this is a magnificent work.

The publication of this book so many decades ago overseas is a triumph too! I will urge current Nigerian publishers to pluck this book from obscurity and re-publish it, so that the new generations(s) can appreciate the feats of an early eclectic Nigerian journalist and globe-trotter. It would also be a tribute to the now departed, illustrious Chief Ajala.

 - O Bolaji

1 comment:

raheem oluwafunminiyi said...

Dear Mr Bolaji, I found your piece on Olabisi Ajala quite fascinating. I grew up at a time I knew nothing about him except in Obey's song Ajala travel. I dont know how I could lay my hands on the book. I hope there is a library or bookshop in Nigeria I can consult to get it. Thanks. My email is