ADEYEMO: Preserving History In Comics
IN 2007, Ronke Adeyemo co-founded House of Treasures Comics with her husband, the object of which was to encourage the culture of reading among youths. Added to it was the desire to project and celebrate the positive aspects of African cultures, as well as publish purpose-driven comics that will educate and inspire readers.
Her dream was to catch the kids and youths young and assist parents in grooming their children to become responsible, hardworking and well-behaved men and women.
“Our desire was to build great potentials for the future. This is the best way to develop a well-balanced youth population in the country. We wanted to spur young Nigerians to imbibe purpose-driven life and emulate African leaders such as the late Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello, among others. Over the years, House of Treasure comics have been one of the mediums through which the nation’s youths have been shown the path to greatness,” she says.
She believes remembering and celebrating past leaders is the best way to groom children for responsible leadership.
“As a nation, we must make conscious effort to acknowledge the incredible sacrifices of our heroes past and present. We must encourage young ones to emulate these heroes, which will boost their love for reading. There is no other lasting tribute than this,” she explains.
The unfortunate thing is that most African children know about foreign heroes, while they know little or nothing about the heroes at home. Today, all they hear and see is corruption and violence. The heroes are no longer there. This nation needs heroes of our days. We need them in all spheres of our national life. Why are we not making and raising new heroes?
Reading, according to her, opens the floodgates to all knowledge.
“Nigerians must understand that the ability to read and understand opens the flood gates to all knowledge. Children need to be encouraged to start reading from tender age. In a world, where the Internet, video games and other gadgets have overtaken the power of the written word, schools are now obliged to nurture the reading habit. That is the best way to ensure that young people acquire reading materials such as comics, readers, story books and folktales,” she says.
Over the years, Ronke and her team have worked actively with schools, bringing children together, while getting top personalities to encourage them to pursue their dreams through motivational talks. They give the children copies of the books for their school libraries and also distribute CDs to them.
“Teachers and parents can also help us, because it is only through reading that children will be able to develop literary skills and become good speakers. It is through the power of the written word that children will become better learners and quickly grasp new concepts,” she explains.
House of treasure is a publishing company that specialises in educative and entertaining non-religious and religious comics. It was established with the sole aim of publishing purpose driven comics that will not only entertain, but also educate and inform children, youths and the young at heart. Aside religious and folktale series, the company has embarked on the publication of comic biographies of some African leaders that are role models to youths.
The inspiration to publish African Leaders Series comes from the urge to let the young know that Africa also has role models they can look up.
“An average American child knows all there is to know about Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Barrack Obama among others. Our youths should also know about their Nigerian leaders. When Obama was being inaugurated, he made references to Martin Luther King Jnr. and what he did. If Obama hadn’t read or heard his story, there was no way he would have talked about him. That is why we decided to look at our past leaders and what they did.
“Once kids pick up our comics, they find it difficult to put them down. They find it easy to draw life lessons from them. Before we started, we discovered that most of the foreign comics are either violent or alien to our culture. So, we decided to look inwards and develop what Nigerian children can easily understand and identify with,” she explains.
One outstanding feature of the comics is their ability to cut across age groups. Everyone, whether young or old will find it very handy, interesting and educative. These are the kind of comments they get from people. And not only are they able to share such stories with others, they also find it easy to remember all they’ve read and the lessons thereof.
She describes as worrisome, the fact that the nation’s heroes are no longer there.
“Where are the heroes of our days,” she queries. “The unfortunate thing is that most African children know about foreign heroes, while they know little or nothing about the heroes at home. Today, all they hear and see is corruption and violence. The heroes are no longer there. This nation needs heroes of our days. We need them in all spheres of our national life. Why are we not making and raising new heroes?
“We are not making new heroes and we are fast losing our patriotic spirit. We are more interested in what we can get rather than what we can give to make our nation better. How many of our present leaders have given back? I believe those who did so will be remembered some day. If they perform well, they will be celebrated. In today’s Nigeria, everyone just wants to grab and eat the national cake before it finishes. But this is not the way to grow the nation. We must have a change of heart,” she says.
On balancing work and family, she explains that her family life has been wonderful.
“My husband has been a wonderful support and mentor to me. He brought his wealth of experience to bear on the job. I love what I do. I believe I am really blessed working side by side with my husband and loving what I do. He is a man that is driven by the passion to contribute to the nation’s educational development. He believes we all are precious in God’s sight.
“One thing children need to understand early is that they have a purpose to achieve during their life time. They must shine regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in life. At House of Treasure, we believe they are what they read, which is why we are exposing them to this all-important information that would impact their lives for good,” she says.
Ronke is a WIMBIZ mentor. She says being a mentor and developing young interests has its rewards, one of which is seeing young talents develop and grow their dreams with the mindset that success is possible.
“One of the cardinal objectives of Women in Management and Banking in Nigeria (WIMBIZ) is mentoring the young. This programme is designed to bridge the gap between successful female entrepreneurs and corporate executives and the future women in management and business, via a traditional, well structured mentoring training programme.
“I believe children who read well, will speak well and interact well. They will also do well in life. Research has shown that the young ones love reading materials that are lavishly illustrated, especially comics. Once children develop keen interest in reading, all knowledge is open and they can conquer their world. So, as a mentor, I believe that catching them young is the only way to introduce them to right values and the nation’s heroes very early in life,” she says.
Ronke Adeyemo was born in Iwo, Osun State. She obtained a National Certificate in Education at the College of Education, Oyo State before proceeding to the University of Benin, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Education. She taught for a while at Ifako International School, in Lagos State before quitting the teaching profession for business, where she engaged in buying and selling for many years.
Aside her academic qualifications, Ronke has since acquired professional qualifications, including a certificate in Aspiring Entrepreneurs Programme from the FATE Foundation. She is also a member of Christian Booksellers Association in Nigeria and an alumnus of Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), an arm of Pan African University.