DR. OLADELE OLUSANYA
'Itan - Legends of the Golden Age' Trilogy.
Dele is a life-long bibliophile who has written many articles and essays on medical, social, and general themes before embarking on his career as an author. His trilogy, 'Itan - Legends of the golden age,'' is a ground-breaking blend of fantasy, myth and history that tells the 1,000 year story of the Yoruba people of West Africa in a unique and captivating way in the form of a historical novel.
As a physician, Dele trained in some of the best teaching hospitals and postgraduate training centers all over the world. He worked as a physician in 4 different continents before settling in the United States where he currently runs a very busy Family Medicine practice in Dallas, Texas. Learn more about Dele's medical practice at www.chartermedicalcenter.com
Dele is an accomplished artist in pencil, water-color and acrylic on canvas. He draws his themes and subject matter from the masks and sculptures that depict various aspects of Yoruba history and mythology such as the paintings of Moremi, Ajantala and Oluronbi that grace the covers the books of the 'Itan' series. He has also promoted the arts of brilliant young Nigerian artists since he founded the Sinsemillia Gallery in Lagos, some of whom, like Sam Ovraiti and Hassan Aliyu, have gone on to achieve fame on the world stage. Visit www.charterartcenter.com
Dele and his wife Kim are active in organizing charitable projects to benefit their community, including non-profit organizations that help victims of domestic violence and prevent gun deaths in children. Dele has been a driving force behind the revival and promotion of the language and culture of the Yoruba people in the Dallas area. www.actionwithcompassiondallas.com
When Oladele was born in 1952, Nigeria was a colony of Great Britain. Oladele knew early in life that he was part of the great civilization of the Yorubas, whose ancient glories, including the empire of Oyo, were told in fables and legends. From his childhood, he was regaled with stories of the internecine wars that tore up the city-states of Yorubaland in the nineteenth century, stories of the slave trade and the coming of white men from England, who had put the proud Yoruba people under their dominion as a colony of the British queen. The major influence on Oladele’s early years was his grandmother, Efunyemi, with whom he lived since he was a year old. From his grandmother, Dele learnt the myths, fables and songs of the Ijebus, their clan of Yorubas who lived near the coastland to the south of Yorubaland. Efunyemi regaled him with tales of her hometown, Ikenne in the Remo part of Ijebuland, where the river sacred to the goddess Uren flowed. The second set of influences were those of his mother Adedotun and his father, Olayide, who imbued in him a love of education. A brilliant child, Oladele was at the top of each class in every school he attended. His early love of reading allowed him to explore not just the stories and fables of his people but to learn about other people from other parts of the world. He developed a knack and love of languages. Later, he would read and write proficiently in Yoruba, English, French, Spanish and Arabic. These early influences also spawned in him a lifelong fascination with travel. The third set of influences came from his contact with traditional Yoruba art and music which found expression in his own natural talent in fine art and literature.
Oladele’s parents were Gabriel Olayide Olusanya, nicknamed ‘the Black Prince’ and Florence Adedotun Olusanya, nee Odusanya, from Ita-Ntebo, Ijebu-Ode. Dele was the third of seven children by his mother. His father was a scion of the Oremadegun royal family which ruled the town of Odogbolu in Ijebuland from the nineteenth century when the town was founded as a farming and trading settlement. The Oremadegun clan itself claimed origin from a sixteenth century prince of a royal house in Ijebu-Ode, the capital city of Ijebuland. On his mother’s side, his family hailed from the town of Ikenne in Ijebu-Remo, where his maternal great-grandfather, Solesi, Efunyemi’s father, was a boy-soldier who was captured in battle by Ibadan warriors during the Yoruba civil wars of that nineteenth century ‘time of troubles’ and was brought up by an Ibadan warlord. His Ikenne family trace their origins to ancestors who lived in the Iremo quarters in ancient Ile-Ife.
Oladele started his primary education in 1958 at St James’s Primary School, Oke-Bola, Ibadan after spending some time at the ‘nursery’ school run by the YMCA in Oke-Ado. The next year, his family moved to Lagos, where he was enrolled at St. Paul’s Anglican school in Idi-Oro on the Lagos mainland. Academically, Oladele was at the top of every class in every school he ever attended. At the age of 11, Oladele left for a boarding secondary school when he still had 2 years to go in elementary school. His mother, Adedotun had made him take the entrance exam merely as a test of his intellectual capabilities. He was briefly in Mayflower School, whose Principal was the famous Tai Solarin, the self-declared atheist and Nigeria’s most famous educationist and social activist of his time, before proceeding to Government College Ibadan, an elite boarding school for boys established by the British colonial government to produce intellectuals, administrators and professionals for its then colony of Nigeria. Wole Soyinka, black Africa’s only Noel laureate in Literature, was a product of the school.
In 1970, Oladele gained admission to the University of Ibadan, the doyen of institutions of higher learning in West Africa. As one of the ten best students from all over Nigeria in the qualifying exam that year, Oladele was given the National Award, which allowed him to complete his 6-year university course tuition-free. On graduating from the University of Ibadan medical school in June 1976, he obtained a Distinction in Preventive and Social Medicine. He also received the Dr. Oluwole Prize in Community Medicine.
Oladele has two adult children from his previous marriage - Yetunde (Yetsy), who became a physician like her father, and Olaide, a lawyer by training who works in Computer Science. Dele married Kim Leigh Stephens in 2010. They had a set of twins, a girl, Dara, and a boy, Deji, in 2012. Deji died tragically in a gun accident in in 2016 at the age of 4 years, after which Dele and Kim decided to preserve his memory with the non-profit Deji Olusanya Foundation established in his name. The mission of this foundation is to prevent gun deaths in children. Dele's subsequent literary, artistic and community efforts, such as the writing of the story of the Yorubas in the 'Itan - legends of the golden age' series and his contribution to the establishment of the Yoruba language school in Dallas, have been dedicated to the memory of his son, Deji.
WITH WIFE KIM - Vignettes of domestic bliss..
HONORS AND AWARDS
National Award, University Ibadan, 1970
Dr Oluwole’s Prize in Community Medicine, University of Ibadan, 1976
Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 1996
First Fellow by examination, West African College of Surgeons
Teaching Exhibit Award, American Academy of Family Physicians, 1997
America’s Top Family Doctor, Consumer Research Council, 2004
Yoruba Cultural Ambassador (O’odua Image Award), 2018