A group, Atelewo Cultural Initiative, celebrated the fifth anniversary of promoting Yoruba language and culture on Wednesday.
The group advocated the promotion of indigenous practices as a response to the myriad challenges and threats facing the preservation and survival of Yoruba culture and language.
In a press release issued by its co-founders, Rasaq Malik and Ibrahim Oreola, they noted that a majority of Nigerians and Africans as a whole were beginning to turn away from reading and writing in their African languages. natives, adding that it was not as helpful. by educational policies that did not require students to learn an African language up to secondary level and the decreasing presence of quality literary materials in these languages.
“On June 1, 2017, we launched the ÀTẸ́LẸWỌ́ Cultural Initiative in response to the myriad challenges and threats facing the preservation and survival of Yorùbá culture and language.
“We started the initiative ́to address some of these issues by making it a dedicated platform for reviving and repositioning Yorùbá culture with a mission to provide a platform to spark interest and generate fulfilling engagements. with the dynamics of Yorùba culture ́ through regular competitions, conferences, dialogues and encounters; providing a platform for the documentation and preservation of ancient Yorùba knowledge, culture and language ́ keeping pace with progress technologies; and to rekindle people’s interest in Yoruba literature by organizing readings, making Yoruba literature ́ accessible and publishing new voices in the Yoruba language ́.
“For five years we have consulted and provided valuable support, ideas and advocacy for various Yorùbá projects and initiatives nationally and internationally. For five years we have provided a platform for those passionate about culture and language to engage in rich dialogues on issues relating to and affecting the Yorùbá people,” the statement read in part.
Atelewo listed his achievements between 2017 and 2022 that had helped promote the aims and objectives of the initiative, including his Yoruba Literature Prize, which would also take place in 2023.
Atelewo Prize for Yoruba Literature
“In line with our aims and objectives, Atelewo launched the “ÀTẸLẸWỌ́́ AWARD FOR YORÙBÁ LITERATURE” in 2020. The competition is open to unpublished writers working in the Yorùba language. It is instituted to solve some of the problems – engaged publishers, distribution, culture of engaged readerships, etc. – to which creative writing is confronted in Yorùbá. The ÀTEĹẸẈ́Ó AWARD FOR YORÙBÁ LITERATURE aims to rejuvenate the more than century-old, vibrant, universally praised and unquestionably rich Yorùbá literary culture.
“For the first edition, entries were open to writers to submit to the poetry, prose and drama categories. After the hotly contested contest, we had a total of five winners. Mustapha Sherif emerged as the big winner for his manuscript “Orin Ewì Akọdan”. The other winners are Ṣeun Adéjàre (T’ẹníkú Ló gbé), Amos Ọlátúnjí Pópóọlá (Akínkanjú Ọdẹ Nínú Igbó Àmọ̀tẹ́kùn), Sodiq Lawal (Koówè Ń kéé), Agboọlá Àyánd́́ፁ́ፓ́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́́̂ The overall winner received a cash prize of N50,000 while the other winners received plaques and books.
“For the second edition, we added a new category called ‘Translation’ for entries that translated works in other languages into the Yorùbá language. And at the end of the process, we also had five winners. Waliyullah Tunde Abiimbola came out on top for his manuscript, Oko Ẹranko, a Yorùbá translation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. (Igbeyin Owuro) and Abdulkareem Jeleel Ọlasunkanmi (Ewì Kòbọḿjọjọ) The overall winner received a cash prize of N100,000 while the other winners received a plaque and N50,000 each.
“Today, we are happy to announce the launch of the 3rd edition. And we call on unpublished writers working in the Yorùbá language to put their works. We will be accepting submissions from June 1 through October 30. The judging process will begin from November 1 to January 30 while the award ceremony will take place in Ibadan on February 21, 2023, in commemoration of International Mother Language Day.
“With the support of our stakeholders, we are also happy to announce that the prize has increased and the top winner will go home with 250,000 Naira and his book will be published in hard copy, while three other winners will go home. with 100,000 naira. everyone,” he said.
Looking ahead, the band said, “Over the next five years, in addition to sustaining our existing works, we also plan to build a state-of-the-art Cultural Innovation Center dedicated to advancing the course of African cultures while leveraging innovation and technology. The Cultural Innovation Hub will be a place where young people can collaborate physically and virtually to develop the next startup, idea, project and initiative that promotes African cultures and languages.
“At ATELEWO, we believe that the future of the world is both technology and youth, and if we want to preserve and promote African culture and languages, we must create the right environment for young people to develop assets in order to that they can take on the agency for the responsibilities around the construction for the culture.
The statement concluded by appreciating the lovers of the Yoruba language and culture, adding that “much of what we have done would not have been possible without their support.
“First, we would like to thank Professor Adeleke Adeeko, Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Acting Chair of the Department at The Ohio State University. our various activities over the past three years.We would also like to thank Mr. Ọládélé Onílé-Ere for his support to the organization, more particularly in the development and maintenance of our annual award for Yorùbá literature.
“Others we will like to appreciate are Prof. Àrìnpé Adéjùmọ̀, Dr. Tosin Gbogi, Dr. James Yeku, Dr. Gabriel Bamgbose, Jumoke Verissimo, Molara Wood, Kola Tubosun, Akin Adesokan, Damilọ́lá Adébọ́nọ̀jọ, Prof. Moyọ̀ Òkédìjí, Fatoba Onala, Gbenga Onala Adeoba, Ayo Adams, Deji Akomolafe, Professor Saheed Aderinto, Odolaye Aremu, Musiliu Dasofunjo and many others too numerous to mention.
“Equally, we would like to appreciate organizations such as Goethe-Institut, The Artivists, Oyo Insights, Yoruba Name, Distrifoods, Building Nations Initiative, HueNation Agency, Petspoint Recycling and others,” Atelewo concluded.
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