“As a lecturer and later a Professor at the University of Lagos, she served as the Dean of Student Affairs and the head of the Department of Philosophy. She also taught at the Lagos State University, during which time she served as the acting Dean of the School of Communication (2004-2006). There, she was credited for developing a BSc. Mass Communication curriculum for the institution, among many other achievements.

It is impossible to convey in this brief lecture the enormous range of Prof. Olúwolé’s work. She was concerned with many things, but most particularly, with education, women and gender issues, indigenous knowledge—which she approached through her magisterial works on Ifá divination narratives in philosophical discourses—and, of course, the significance of native language in early childhood education. Though she mastered the discipline of philosophy, she was not a conventional scholar. However, it was only after her official retirement from the University of Lagos that she had the opportunity to fully put her ideas into broad use……One of the ablest scholars and teachers of her generation, Professor Olúwolé’s early interests in Ifá divination poetry and tradition led to the publication of a number of articles and books on various aspects of Ifá. However, in a country that conflates deep scholarship with the practice of faith, very soon her work began to generate controversy and name calling—she was called Mamaláwo, Ìyánífá, and even a witch. In this, she was part of a long line of misunderstood women. I have always marveled at how the people of Ìgbàrà-Òkè, her home place, are praised as “omo eléye, íse weye weye” (the descendants of Eléye, that is, descendants of the powerful women of valor often nicknamed erroneously as Aje —witches). It was in Ìgbàrà-Òkè, in my childhood years, that I first saw women drummers in Yorùbáland, who rolled out their drums early on Saturday morning calling their compatriots to gather for the women’s association and lineage meetings. These are certainly the trademarks of great achievers in community history. Auntie Sophie’s resolute will and courage, the intellectual insights and striving energy that characterize her rare and dynamic life and work, should always go hand in hand.

Her first major work, a book titled Witchcraft, Reincarnation, and the God-head, tackled a broader question beyond what the title of the book connotes. In the popular imagination, her book’s title refers to the problem of evil in our society, which is often erroneously associated with Ajaa witchcraft, in Yorùbá thought and life. This misperception harms older women and now even children, thanks to the Pentecostal zeal to eradicate all kinds of evil from the world. Prof. Olúwolé recognized the need for an ardent intellectual response to the conflicting attitudes towards culture and life, a response based on a true understanding of the Nigerian cosmology and worldview. In this book, therefore, she attempted to probe beneath the stereotypes that have so often come to define public discourse.

I believe that her book was also a treatise on the philosophy of religion and an explanation for the simultaneous existence of good and evil as complementary entities in the world. Here we have a demonstration of Olúwolé as a deep thinker interpreting ordinary phenomena in a very complex and insightful manner, drawing on Yoruba traditions. After all, the Yorùbá do sing ènìyàn kan ò lè gba ire, kó má gba ibi; Tibi tire la dá ilé ayé. This is to say that good and evil are intertwined and are equally forceful entities. Each has its own agency, consistent with the Yorùbá worldview. Interpretations like these are uncommon, pushing the boundaries beyond quotidian understandings of difficult philosophical concepts. The late literary icon D. O. Fágúnwà says, Bí òwe bí òwe là nlu ìlù àgídìgbo, ologbon ní njóo, omàràn ní sìí moo (The Àgídìgbo talking drum is like a deep proverb, understood only by the knowledgeable one and known only by the wise listener.) Olúwolé’s philosophical works were like the proverbial Àgídìgbo drum that requires uncommon intelligence and brilliance to comprehend. Too often in Nigeria today, our public and academic discourse is reduced to oversimplified, binary, antagonistic paradigms. Professor Olúwolé’s work demonstrated a more useful, rich, and sophisticated way of understanding the world and our place in it. She did this precisely by drawing on Yorùbá traditions and knowledge. In so doing, she has given us all the gift of her understanding, as well as a yardstick with which to measure how far our national culture has fallen. I have repeatedly called her and her work prophetic, and I would like to punctuate this reflection on her first book with the biblical phrase from the book of Revelation saying: “he that hath an ear, let him hear.””  — Courage, Scholarship and the Revitalization of Traditions: The Life and Legacy of Professor Sophie Bósèdé Olúwolé  5/5/2019 This Day LiveSophie Bọ́sẹ̀dé Olúwọlé en españolComo conferencista y más tarde profesora en la Universidad de Lagos, se desempeñó como Decana de Asuntos Estudiantiles y jefa del Departamento de Filosofía. También enseñó en la Universidad Estatal de Lagos, tiempo durante el cual se desempeñó como Decana interina de la Escuela de Comunicación (2004-2006). Allí, se le atribuyó el desarrollo de una licenciatura, un currículum de comunicación de masas para la institución, entre muchos otros logros.

Es imposible transmitir en esta breve conferencia la enorme variedad de la obra del Prof. Olúwolé. Le preocupaban muchas cosas, pero más particularmente, la educación, las mujeres y las cuestiones de género, el conocimiento indígena, que abordó a través de sus obras magistrales sobre las narrativas de adivinación de Ifá en los discursos filosóficos, y, por supuesto, el significado de la lengua nativa en la educación en la primera infancia. Aunque dominaba la disciplina de la filosofía, no era una académica convencional. Sin embargo, fue solo después de su retiro oficial de la Universidad de Lagos que tuvo la oportunidad de dar un uso amplio a sus ideas ……Uno de los eruditos y maestros más capaces de su generación, los primeros intereses de la profesora Olúwolé en la poesía y la tradición adivinatoria de Ifá llevaron a la publicación de varios artículos y libros sobre diversos aspectos de Ifá. Sin embargo, en un país que combina la erudición profunda con la práctica de la fe, muy pronto su trabajo comenzó a generar controversia y apodos: se llamaba Mamaláwo, Ìyánífá e incluso bruja. En esto, ella era parte de una larga lista de mujeres incomprendidas. Siempre me ha maravillado cómo la gente de Ìgbàrà-Òkè, su lugar de origen, es alabada como “omo eléye, íse weye weye” (los descendientes de Eléye, es decir, descendientes de las poderosas mujeres de valor a menudo apodadas erróneamente como Aje – brujas). Fue en Ìgbàrà-Òkè, en mis años de infancia, donde vi por primera vez a mujeres bateristas en Yorùbáland, que tocaron sus tambores el sábado por la mañana temprano llamando a sus compatriotas para que se reunieran para la asociación de mujeres y las reuniones de linaje. Estas son sin duda las marcas registradas de grandes triunfadores en la historia de la comunidad. La decidida voluntad y el coraje de la tía Sophie, las percepciones intelectuales y la energía esforzada que caracterizan su vida y su trabajo raros y dinámicos, siempre deben ir de la mano.

Su primer trabajo importante, un libro titulado La brujería, la reencarnación y la divinidad, abordó una cuestión más amplia más allá de lo que connota el título del libro. En la imaginación popular, el título de su libro se refiere al problema del mal en nuestra sociedad, que a menudo se asocia erróneamente con la brujería Ajaa, en el pensamiento y la vida Yorùbá. Esta percepción errónea perjudica a las mujeres mayores y ahora incluso a los niños, gracias al celo pentecostal por erradicar todo tipo de maldad del mundo. El profesor Olúwolé reconoció la necesidad de una ardiente respuesta intelectual a las actitudes conflictivas hacia la cultura y la vida, una respuesta basada en una verdadera comprensión de la cosmología y cosmovisión nigerianas. En este libro, por lo tanto, intentó investigar más allá de los estereotipos que tan a menudo han llegado a definir el discurso público.

Creo que su libro fue también un tratado de filosofía de la religión y una explicación de la existencia simultánea del bien y del mal como entidades complementarias en el mundo. Aquí tenemos una demostración de Olúwolé como un pensador profundo que interpreta los fenómenos ordinarios de una manera muy compleja y perspicaz, basándose en las tradiciones yoruba. Después de todo, los Yorùbá cantan ènìyàn kan ò lè gba ire, kó má gba ibi; Tibi tire la dá ilé ayé. Es decir que el bien y el mal están entrelazados y son entidades igualmente poderosas. Cada uno tiene su propia agencia, en consonancia con la cosmovisión yorùbá. Interpretaciones como estas son poco comunes, empujando los límites más allá de la comprensión cotidiana de conceptos filosóficos difíciles. El icono literario tardío D.O. Fágúnwà dice: Bí òwe bí òwe là nlu ìlù àgídìgbo, ologbon ní njóo, omàràn ní sìí moo (El tambor parlante Àgídìgbo es como un proverbio profundo, entendido solo por el entendido y conocido solo por el oyente sabio.) Las obras filosóficas de Olúwolé eran como el proverbial tambor Àgídìgbo que requiere una inteligencia y una brillantez poco comunes para comprender. Con demasiada frecuencia en Nigeria hoy en día, nuestro discurso público y académico se reduce a paradigmas binarios, antagónicos y simplificados. El trabajo del profesor Olúwolé demostró una forma más útil, rica y sofisticada de entender el mundo y nuestro lugar en él. Ella hizo esto precisamente basándose en las tradiciones y el conocimiento Yorùbá. Al hacerlo, nos ha dado a todos el don de su comprensión, así como una vara con la que medir hasta dónde ha caído nuestra cultura nacional. En repetidas ocasiones la he llamado profética a ella y a su obra, y me gustaría puntuar esta reflexión sobre su primer libro con la frase bíblica del libro de Apocalipsis que dice: “El que tiene oído, oiga”.

Bibliografia/Bibliography

Witchcraft, reincarnation and the God-head: Issues in African Philosophy 1992

Womanhood in Yoruba Traditional Thought 1993

Philosophy and Oral Traditions 1997

The Essentials of African Studies 1998

African Philosophy on the Threshold of Modernisation 2007

African Myths and Legends of Gender 2014

Socrates and Orunmila: Two Patron Saints of Classical Philosophy 2014
  

Articles/Artículos

Professor Sophie Bọ́sẹ̀dé Olúwọlé (1936-2018)  1/7/2021 Babatunde Adewole Adeoye: “One of the greatest Ìyánífá. A philosopher extraordinaire. The first woman to get a PhD in philosophy in Nigeria. A distinguished Yorùbá scholar.” – “Una de las más grandes Ìyánífá. Una filósofa extraordinaria. La primera mujer en obtener un doctorado en filosofía en Nigeria. Una distinguida erudita Yorùbá.”

Afùwàp?´ | Official trailer | featuring Sophie Olúw?lé  9/15/2020 Juul van der Laan: “Who are you? Sophie Olúwọlé asks.”

Sophie Olúwọlé‘s Major Contributions to African Philosophy  5/27/2020 Cambridge University Press: “A champion of African oral traditions, Olúw?lé argued that songs, proverbs, liturgies, and stories are important sources of African responses to perennial philosophical questions as well as to contemporary issues, including feminism. She argued that the complementarity that ran throughout Yoruba philosophy guaranteed women’s rights and status, and preserved an important role for women, youths, and foreigners in politics.”

Socrates and Ọrúnmìlà: Two Patron Saints of Classical Philosophy by Sophie Olúwọlé (2014) By Ọlọbẹ Yoyọn  5/8/2020 Fádáskonà: “”They said Africans could not think, that we were not thinkers, that we were primitive. I felt challenged and said I was going to find out if truly we could not think. I wanted to prove them wrong. After all, the so-called father of western philosophy, Socrates, left behind no written accounts of his wisdom. That was left to his students, writing after his death. If Socrates could be considered the father of western philosophy, having left behind no written work of his own, then why shouldn’t ?`rúnmìlà, who is believed to have predated Socrates, be considered the father of African philosophy?”

Courage, Scholarship and the Revitalization of Traditions: The Life and Legacy of Professor Sophie Bósèdé Olúwolé  5/5/2019 This Day Live: “Her first major work, a book titled Witchcraft, Reincarnation, and the God-head, tackled a broader question beyond what the title of the book connotes… I believe that her book was also a treatise on the philosophy of religion and an explanation for the simultaneous existence of good and evil as complementary entities in the world. Here we have a demonstration of Olúwolé as a deep thinker interpreting ordinary phenomena in a very complex and insightful manner, drawing on Yoruba traditions. After all, the Yorùbá do sing ènìyàn kan ò lè gba ire, kó má gba ibi; Tibi tire la dá ilé ayé. This is to say that good and evil are intertwined and are equally forceful entities. Each has its own agency, consistent with the Yorùbá worldview.”

Sophie Oluwole: Nigerian philosopher who put Yoruba thought on the map  1/10/2019 Independent: “Oluwole, who has died aged 83, also had to overcome institutionalised, and socially ingrained, sexism – for which she blamed the British, from whom Nigeria gained independence in 1960 after more than a century of interference and oppression. “They disrupted our culture,” she said.”

What is ifa?  2/8/2018 Juul van der Laan: with Prof Sophie Olúwọlé

Philosopher urges Nigerians to embrace indigenous knowledge, languages  12/14/2016 Guardian Arts: “Oluwole stated that several scholars have demonstrated that ancient Yoruba thinkers understood the two basic features of reality, matter and non-matter, not as two independent, opposing axioms, as taught in physics in the west, but as two binary that are complementary and inseparable elements of nature. She revealed that western scientists have now come to accept this as the basic axiom in which reality in physics as pure matter is now defined as Quantum Physics.”

Book Review: Comparing the lives of Socrates, Orunmila  11/24/2016 Tribune: “A review of Professor Sophie Bosede Oluwole’s 2019 book, Socrates and Orunmila: Two Patron Saints of Classical Philosophy by ADEWALE OSHODI.”

FELABRATION 2016 with Prof Sophie Oluwole  10/12/2016 Uncensored 

Ifa is a Scientific and Mathematical System? – ‘Oro Isiti’ with Prof. Sophie Oluwole #2  1/26/2016 Tunde Kelani: “Prof. Sophie Oluwole is a renowned retired Professor of African Philosophy. She is a cerebral scholar who takes great pride in her Africaness. Her passion for Yoruba philosophy has opened a new frontier in the world of philosophy. Tunde Kelani is known for his great movies such as Saworo Ide, Agogo Eewo, Oleku, Ti Oluwa nile, etc.”

Socrates and Orunmila… Putting Premium On Africa’s Indigenous Philosophy  8/22/2015 Guardian, Nigeria: “The significant thing Oluwole has done in this book is to call attention to, not new evidence, but a close scrutiny of the evidence already in existence, and give it its due regard rather dismissing it probably because it doesn’t fit too comfortably into western-generated ideas and mode.”

Socrates and Orunmila. Two Patron Saints of Classical Philosophy, Sophie Bosede Oluwole : book review  7/1/2014 Sabinet: “With this book, the debate about African philosophy and the understanding of what African philosophy is about are raised to a new level. S.B. Oluwole has worked already for a long time to make clear what is specifically African in African philosophy. From a great number of publications I just mention her book: [Witchcraft, Reincarnation and the God-Head: Issues in African Philosophy], 1991. Excel Publications: Ikeja. In this connection she has drawn special attention to the problem of [Philosophy and Oral Tradition], 1999. Ark Publishers: Lagos. She uses frequently and is very familiar with the Ifa Literary Corpus, an extensive text of Yoruba oral tradition, of which big parts have been published in print and also translated into English by Wande Abimbola.”
 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaLAozumEFi819oN8y0faxQ
Juul van der Laan channel with several works on Sophie Bọ́sẹ̀dé Olúwọlé

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Oluwole

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