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Copyright ©2018. Oladele Olusanya. All Rights Reserved

A NEW AGE

Book 3: Itan - Legends of the golden age.

A NEW AGE comes to Yorubaland, spearheaded by events in Lagos, the capital of the new nation of Nigeria, of which the Yorubas are now a part. Our heroes and heroines are thrust into the modern world as they interact with modern Yoruba pioneers such as Herbert Macaulay, Israel Ransome-Kuti, Obafemi Awolowo and Tai Solarin. New frontiers are blazed in art, music and education as told in vignettes about such personalities as Ajayi Crowther, D. O. Fagunwa, the controversial Col. Victor Banjo, Suzanne Wenger, Austrian artist turned Osun priestess, and the trend-setting musicians, Bobby Benson, Roy Chicago and Fela. A cultural revolution takes place as the old gods of Yorubaland slip into the twilight. The Yoruba people must adapt to new ways of philosophy, thought and worship as they strive to reclaim their past glory and adjust to an uncertain future in a new country buffeted by disparate forces and competing interests.

A NEW AGE, BOOK 3 OF THE TRILOGY 'ITAN - LEGENDS OF THE GOLDEN AGE' WILL BE RELEASED IN 2019 BY XLIBRIS BOOKS, USA. IT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN HARDCOVER, SOFTCOVER AND E-BOOK FORMAT FROM THEIR WEBSITE AND ALSO ON AMAZON, BARNESANDNOBLES AND OTHER ONLINE STORES.

 

Reviews

"I couldn’t resist the excitement in the prose. The book is very enjoyable. In the segment about Yoruba music in the 1960's, the fiction thinly disguises the exploration of the music. I really enjoyed the long essay of Nigerian music from highlife to juju and back. Quite frankly, I almost imagine the conversation with Roy Chicago was real..." - Dami Ajayi, Lagos. Poet and author of 'Clinical blues' and 'A womans body is a countrY

Click to watch the book video of
'GODS AND HEROES'.

EXCERPT FROM 'A NEW AGE': 
THE STORY OF TAI SOLARIN FROM CHAPTER 5: 'THE WORLD OF THE BLACK PRINCE.'

 

The pilot had just received his flying wings after training at the famous Royal Air Force station in Biggin Hill, Kent. He was the first black African pilot in the RAF and had been received personally at Buckingham Palace by King George VI. He had become the toast of London and was even invited to lunch at the country home of Lord Tedder, Marshall of the Air Force. He befriended prim white English girls and took several of them on dates to visit the theater at Piccadilly and enjoy afternoon walks at Coventry Gardens. He went to the London promenades, in a city full of bomb shelters, whistled tunes in the shower from the popular music of the day, and learnt to dance. He danced with one of the girls, one arm around her slim waist, the other holding a dark brown curved pipe filled with a sweet-smelling tobacco from India called ‘Old Holborn.’ At the same time, he whispered in the girl’s ears witty observations about the war, society in general, and nothing in particular. 

Now, on this bright sunny afternoon late in the war, he was flying over the green fields of northern France. ‘A fair wind to France’ his Wing Commander had quoted as they climbed into their planes and headed into a blustery English summer sky. The fighter pilots were in a jovial mood and chatted over the intercom. They were escorting a fleet of Lancaster bombers on a daytime raid of a railway junction in Normandy. But they now found themselves entangled in a dogfight with hostile German fighters who suddenly appeared on the scene. The black pilot told himself he was ready for this. His bright colored Spitfire Mk 1 darted in an out of a mass of enemy fighter planes as lazy, fluffy, white clouds drifted lazily around them. The clouds hid the flying war machines of the two warring nations for brief moments, aloof from the conflict and oblivious of the ferocity and hatred in the hearts of men who had come of age in a time of war. 

For some time now, he and three of his RAF friends had engaged half a dozen German fighters in combat. His eyes were hard and cold as he fixed his eye on his prey, whom he had singled out. This was a Messerschmidt pilot who was always slow in coming out of a dive, the last to break out of the clouds as the Germans swooped in after a lull in the fighting. His killer’s instincts tensed in his body like a coiled spring. Soon, he saw his chance. Coming out of a cloud in which he had momentarily hidden himself, he swooped down on the German plane, his 1,000 horsepower Rolls Royce engine in full throttle. Too late, the young blonde Luftwaffe fighter pilot in the Messerschmidt Bf 109 tried evasive action. But the black RAF pilot was dogged and skillful as he maneuvered his craft to bear in on his hapless foe. He locked his sights on his target, steadied himself. and pressed the trigger. He watched with a dull, horrified fascination as the Messerchmidt lurched violently to the right, then the left, rapidly lost height, and with its tail spinning rapidly like a top, went down with a plume of dark smoke trailing behind it. 

The pilot did not look down to see the huge flame of fire that exploded in all directions as the German plane hit the hay field below. He banked sharply and stuck his right arm out with the thumb pointed cockily upwards in a victory sign. He performed a victory loop and turned for home across the English channel. He thought of the gods of Ikenne. Orishanla, Sango, Ogun, those warlike deities of his ancestors. Had they been watching out for him?

Taiwo woke up with a start. He had been dreaming. In the semi darkness, he looked around him in the hut but he could barely make out the muffled figures of his fellow recruits in their bunks to the left and right of him. They were all Royal Air Force trainees asleep in this large tent-like hut that was their dormitory. Although it was true he had left Ikenne to enlist in the RAF, he was not at that moment in Biggin Hill in Kent, England. Neither was he flying sorties against German fighters over France. He was four thousand miles away in Canada based in an RAF training field just outside Edmonton. He did not like the cold or the indifference of his Canadian officers and fellow trainees, who looking at his dark skin, saw nothing but a savage. How could he tell them that he was a son of proud Ikenne by the Uren, a great town of the proud race of the Yorubas, whose civilization was just as old as that of the British? Eventually, he got his wings. But rather than letting him become a fighter pilot to shoot down German planes over France or the Atlantic, his British officers made him a navigator. And that was he did until the war ended, after which he attended the Universities of Manchester and London, got his degrees in Education, and married his English sweetheart named Sheila.

Under the influence of his wife Sheila, Taiwo became an international socialist. His heroes were H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw and Lord Bertrand Russell, modern English writers and philosophers who preached that there was nothing Man could not do once he was freed from the dogma of religion and superstition. Later, Taiwo would write his personal manifesto in the form of a song for his students.

We can become 

Whatever we choose to be,

No king, no lord, no knave can say us nay.

For we believe that a man is a potential doctor 

or crook or dwarf or giant,

Whichever he set his mind to be.

We shall be giants

And therefore we shall work!

 

He came back to Ikenne to set up a landmark school named Mayflower School which would set a standard for the whole nation in innovation and youth education. Excelling not just as an innovative educator, Tai as he was called by everyone, even his students, embarked on a well-marked career as a social activist. He was a constant gadfly and thorn in the side of successive governments of his native country. He was jailed several times for his effort. He was also a prodigious writer, poet, song writer and journalist who wrote a weekly column for the Daily Times, then the leading newspaper not just in Lagos, but throughout Nigeria. It was titled, ‘Thinking with you by Tai Solarin.’ And thinking with Tai meant that the reader had to be ready to abandon the comfortable and well accepted ideas of the time. Tai was unabashed in unapologetically spreading and defending his unorthodox views. 

People all over Yorubaland appreciated the work Tai did for the education of young kids in his school in Ikenne, even if they did not agree about his views on religion. For his part, Tai did not disappoint his many admirers and friends. He saw himself not so much as a teacher or a leader but a warrior. 

‘I fight with an indomitable spirit, my back to the wall. Defeat is for those who accept it,' he once said to a journalist who interviewed him for the Daily Times. 

And though he came to be known as the foremost educator and social activist of his generation in Nigeria, and though he actually fought for the British not Yorubaland, Tai Solarin was a fighter and hero in the mold of the most celebrated Yoruba warriors of the past.

 

 

COPYRIGHT PROTECTED: NO EXCERPT OR PART OF 'ITAN - LEGENDS OF THE GOLDEN AGE' TRILOGY OR ANY OF ITS COMPANION VOLUMES MAY BE COPIED, TRANSMITTED, PUBLISHED OR DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF DR. OLADELE OLUSANYA WHO HOLDS THE COPYRIGHTS THEREOF

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