Foremost Nigerian author, Professor Omotoso dies at 80
A foremost Nigerian author, Professor Kole Omotoso has died at the ripe age of 80 in South Africa where he had been sick for a while, according to a family source.
Professor Omotoso breathed his last on Wednesday as revealed by an official statement that his family released to confirm his death.
“Our beloved father and husband moved on from this plane on Wednesday 19th late afternoon,” the family wrote in a statement sent to journalists.
“We will share more information with the public as we gather ourselves,” they said while thanking the friends of the family for their care, love and support.
Bankole Ajibabi Omotoso also known as Kole Omotoso, born on 21 April 1943 was a Nigerian writer and intellectual best known for his works of fiction and in South Africa as the “Yebo Gogo man” in adverts for the telecommunications company, Vodacom.
His written work is known for its dedication and commitment to fusing a socio-political reappraisal of Africa and respect for human dignity into most of his works.
Omotoso was born into a Yoruba family in Akure, Ondo State, Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. He was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents after the death of his father.
The events of his early childhood contributed a great deal to his development as a man and also as a writer.
Omotoso was educated at King’s College, Lagos, and the University of Ibadan and then undertook a doctoral thesis on the modern Arabic writer Ahmad Ba Kathir at the University of Edinburgh.
Some of the works of fiction Omotoso authored include The Edifice, The Combat, And Just Before Dawn. His Novel ‘Just Before Dawn’ written in 1988 was controversial and caused him to flee Nigeria.
He became a visiting professor in English at the University of Stirling and the National University of Lesotho and had a spell at the Talawa Theatre Company, in London.
Omotoso became a professor of English at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa after later a professor in the Drama Department at Stellenbosch University.
He was a renowned Professor of African Literature and is celebrated as a master of multiple genres.
His children grew to become equally famous, one of them a Hollywood movie director.
Omotoso was once described by the late Nelson Mandela who was a family friend, as “the most photographed man in South Africa” due to his iconic Yebo Gogo folksy character portrayal, through which he became one of the most ubiquitous figures in South African popular culture.
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