Arts

MRS. FAGUNWA’S LAST TESTIMONY

‘My husband was a human being,…not a spirit’

Before her death Fagunwa’s wife denies some tales about her husband

 By Mike Banikan

One of the most remarkable things that Chief Mrs. Elizabeth AdebankeFagunwa, wife of the popular writer, D.O. Fagunwa, did before her death at the age of 85 (on Saturday, April 7, 2018), was that she waved off some fairy tales woven around her late husband. Fagunwa was the author of Ògbójú Ode NínúIgbóIrúnmale, (The Forest of A Thousand Demons as translated by Professor Wole Soyinka), among other epics.

For those who were awed by his creativity, plot, thematic concerns and characterisation (Fagunwa used mystical beigns), it was common to hear that some spirits taught him how to write. Not a few Nigerians also believed that when he died in a river in Lokoja, his corpse was never found. To them, Fagunwa had gone to the land of the spirits from whence he came! Another Atlantis.

However, Mrs.Fagunwa seized the opprtunity of her last outing on Thursday, July 27, 2017, to clear the air. It was during the public presentation of a book titled, Celebrating D.O. Fagunwa: Aspects of African and World Literary History, edited by Professors AdelekeAdeeko and Akin Adesokan at the Conference Centre, University of Ibadan. Fagunwa Study Group and Bookcraft, a publishing outfit, put the occasion together.

According to Mrs.Fagunwa: “My husband was a human being, he was not a spirit. I married a man not a spirit. Against the notion that Fagunwa’s body was not found, I want to tell you that his body was found and buried in Oke Igbo.”

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