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Book Review: Winning With Akin Oluwadare’s “Winning Strategies”



Book Review: Winning With Akin Oluwadare's “Winning Strategies”

Title of Book: Winning Strategies: 50 Selected Thoughts for Leaders and Aspiring Leaders.
Author: Akin Oluwadare Jnr.
Number of Pages: 214
Publisher: CSS Bookshop
Publishing Date: 2020
Book Reviewer: Yinka Oyebode


When the Author, Akin Oluwadare, whom I am comfortable calling Akin or Akinse told me I would be the reviewer of his second book, I readily accepted the challenge. As a matter of fact, I have accepted to be the reviewer of this book before I began to consider the date of the event and whether or not I would be so chanced. You won’t blame me. You can hardly say no to a charismatic and engaging personality like Akin. Needless to say that Akin and I are childhood friends, but more importantly he is a friend I so much admire and respect for his strength of conviction and generosity of spirit. And this is mutual.

Reading through the book, one cannot mistake the fact the author’s engaging personality reflects quite vividly in his work. Good writing, according to World Street Journal’s Bestselling Author, Ann Handley, “serves the reader, not the writer” and as opined by Donald Morison Murray, the renowned American Journalist and English Professor “The reader doesn’t turn the page because of a hunger to applaud. Rather, good writing anticipates what questions readers will have as they read a piece, and (before they ask them) it answers them.” Handley also posits that good writing is simple but not simplistic.

It would appear that both Handley and Murray had the book “Winning Ways” by Akin Oluwadare in mind while making these very profound statements that have helped many writers re-focus their creative energy.

The author makes no pretensions about his intention to make the book answer some life- transforming posers which leaders and those eager to make a success of their career or leadership roles are daily confronted with. Apparently, the author endorses Brian Sanders’ submission that “everything rises and falls on leadership”, hence the book focuses on equipping readers with many leadership tips.
Published in 2020, (the year that the world was brought under its kneel by a global pandemic known as Covid -19), the book which is divided into ten major chapters can aptly be described as a leadership manual. Each of the chapters contains a group of five essays dealing with the subject matter of the chapter. The book evaluates and examines different aspects of leadership, using day-to day ordinary situations to teach leadership lessons that are capable of provoking genuine change and equip the reader with the right attitude to become not just a changed person, but a change agent.

READ ALSO: Ex-Bank MD Atuche Gets Jail Term Over N25.7b Fraud

The foreword to the book, brilliantly written by Arc. Yinka Williams and the preface by the author, as well as the handful of endorsements on the opening pages have ably laid a good foundation for the content of the book and clearly provide the reader with adequate hints on what to expect in the book.

As pointed out earlier, each of the chapters has a message that is succinctly delivered through a collection of five essays each between 600 to 1000 words. The shortness of the essays is an incentive to the reader.

Chapter one: Proceed with Unfaltering Courage: This chapter, unarguably the foundation chapter, puts the reader through some rudiments of leadership training. The author stealthily seeded lessons via the five essays titled: Just Begin; Inaction is Dangerous; Knowing Where to Tap; Do It Afraid; and Choose Your Battle. Some of the key takeaways in the chapter include his admonition in the essay “Inaction is Dangerous”, where he writes: “Take a step from the norm. Jump however difficult it seems at first trial. Many things can happen when you jump; you may jump and fly and become a good example to others. You may jump and fall on something soft; there are lessons for you if you are discerning. You may jump and fall on something hard and the pains therefrom may teach you some quick lessons that may be your turning point. Anyhow you get back up and shift position forward, it is dangerous to remain on one spot for too long. Inaction is dangerous. (pg7)

In “Do it Afraid”, he writes: “Indecision is also a decision but it is the worst type of decision”. Further down he posits “If fear is capable of producing tears of joy, should we then be afraid of fear all the time?”

Chapter Two: “Strive for Excellence.” The author in this chapter, shares some hard facts that would drive the reader in the pursuit of excellence. Akin Oluwadare, himself a man of excellence points at some practical steps through the five essays vis: Good is Not enough; Being on Time is Late; The Man Jim Ovia; Change Before You Have To and Impact.

Specifically, the author who has over the years been a beneficiary of the institutional grooming at the Zenith Bank, where he is a Senior Manager, uses the bank’s founder, Jim Ovia’s rise to prominence and dominance in the banking sector, as well as a few other leaders, to drive home some leadership traits that would aid a steady rise on the leadership ladder. The Bible in Proverbs 1 vs 5 says “A wise man will hear and will increase in learning and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel”. The author, uses the story of Jim Ovia’s book launch to drive home the point that every experience should necessarily produce some positive impact. For him the book launch remains one event that inspires him and deepens his thirst for excellence.

Aside from Ovia, which he showers with very generous accolades (for obvious reason), he also cites personalities like the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN and the doyen of accounting profession in Nigeria, Pa Akinola Williams as some leaders he draws inspiration from. “The simple message here is for you to reinvent and keep reinventing yourself”, he concludes.

Chapter 3: Battle of The Mind: The topics include Confidence; Poverty Mentality; face Your Fear; Blow Your Trumpet and Expressions. The author’s main concern here is how to deconstruct some old beliefs that tend to slow people down. “Your good works announce you but sometimes, you have to first announce yourself to own your good works before your good works begin to announce you”, he posits on page 53.

Chapter 4: Exercise Self- Control: The five topics here are Be Slow To Speak; Delay Gratification; Think Safely; Test The water; Just before You Condemn. The author devotes the chapter to some tips that are crucial to self-control. “Taste your words and look beyond the primary effect on related parties before you utter them. Relationships broken are hard to mend. Be slow to speak” (pg 65). Also on page 81 he writes: “Now I know that success is not only about the good, the better and the best. Success includes the ability to manage the good, the bad and the ugly and still stay true to yourself and your conscience not minding what the society thinks”.

Chapter 5: Hidden Values: The five topics here are Discover Your Secret Place; Employee, Know Thyself; The Catalyst; Beware of Negative Motivation; Trust But verify.

Again, the author in this chapter dwells on self-discovery as a key point in leadership. “The quality of your thoughts dictates the direction of your energy. You may not have control over how you spend your energy because it has a direct correlation with your thought process, but exercising control over your thought process will save you a lot of positive energy” , he states on page 85. He throws a poser to the reader on page 88: “Please describe yourself in one sentence, who are you? If it takes you more than 30 seconds to describe who you are, then I see a risk. If you are not seeing one, then it may be that you are so buried in your day job that you do not take time to know who you really are beyond what puts money in your pocket….” (page 92)

This is a challenge I would like to throw to everyone here as well…WHO ARE YOU?
Again on page 93 he shares yet another poser: “Your vision may be sizzling hot, but progress might be slow if you do not have anyone following up on you to measure the pace at which things are coming up.”

Chapter 6: Surpass Expectations: The chapter includes topics such as The Law of the Second Wind; The Art of Simplicity; Own Your Life; Creative Destruction; Nil Report is a Report. While the author dwells on the need to take full control and responsibility of our life, he is however quick to add: “Taking control of your life is not suggesting that you should undermine the place of benefactors, no man is an island, we all need each other to grow, but do not get to that place where men begin to say to you- If not for me in his life. We all need men to actualise our dreams, but let no one share the glory of God with Him in your life. Our God is a jealous God, no one shares His glory”.

It will appear here that the author’s biblical allusions are a product of the writer’s faith. But then isn’t the Bible replete with so many leadership tips and lessons?

Chapter 7: Delusions: the titles here are Perfection is a Myth; Failure is an Option; Progress is not Speed; Damn It. The author through some practical examples demystifies some self-imposed myths that are capable of limiting growth and fulfilment. “Hold the dream, think big, start small, start now, keep moving, do not stop. It is all in your hands. Perfection is just a myth” (pg 125) on page 135 he writes “Do not let your problem define you, damn it even if for once, to enable you see clearly”. He also warns against subjecting oneself to undue influence via the social media. “This is the new world we have created, where everything looks nice, even before it is made. The virtual world is full of fantasies, only the discerning will be able to focus on reality” (pg 137)

Chapter 8: Embracing the New Normal: The topics here include Mental Health; Health is Wealth; We Need One Another; Choose Your Style; Do Not waste The Crisis.

In this chapter, focus is on the current reality as provided by the Covid-19 global pandemic as well as the importance of staying safe and healthy. Furthermore, the chapter focuses on how to make the best use of the crisis situation. Or what many will call turning adversity to prosperity. “Should we be concerned? Yes, should we be worried? No. why? Worry focuses on the problem, but concern, though acknowledges the problem, focuses on the solution. If the only thing you learn from this crisis is to sit down and think through your relevance post –covid-19, you would have achieved something big.” (pg 158).

Chapter 9: Leadership. Topics include The Lid Factor In Leadership; Leadership Without Stings: hanging the Nigerian Narrative; Active listening; Observing Without Judging, Teaming Redefines. “It is not a must for any leader to know all the ‘hows’ to get things done, but a leader that will take us beyond our present level and transform our national life in the affirmative must be able to think ahead of the rest of us. He must not be the brightest among us, but he must be sound in judgement. It will be good for our leaders to delegate responsibilities when the task to be achieved is clearly spelt out, but delegating thinking to those numerous special advisers may no longer serve our national interest, because some of those appointments have been proven to primarily fulfil federal character principle than advising on good governance” the author points out on page 165.


Chapter 10: Harness Your Society: Invest in Your Social Capital; How Are You; If You Are Against, what Are You For?; A Problem Shared is Still Your Problem: Between Propaganda and Fake News. The importance of social capital investment forms dominant theme of this last chapter of the book.

“A fat account delights any man but avoid the danger of depleting your social capital without replenishment. How many times do we sacrifice relationships on the altar of ego or financial benefit? Money can do all things but relationships that are well nourished can do all things. Invest and keep investing in your social capital” (page 184)

He also adds: “While you should not live your life on hearsay, you may be depleting your social capital when you live your life entirely independent of public opinion. Perception matters, particularly when you do not take any step to correct it. Sometimes, people in addition to you, have a say about who you become.”

‘Perspectives’ is a stand-alone chapter of the book, even though it was not designated as a chapter. It may be safe to describe it as an epilogue. It is a unique offering by the author, as he devotes the portion of the book to taking feedback from members of his immediate family- His wife and four children- on what they consider the key points in leadership. This section, a departure from the 10 chapters where the voice of the author was dominant, focuses on the wife and the children making profound statements on what they perceive as leadership. This section makes an interesting read, especially with the wife and each of the children sharing their own concept of leadership.

The conclusion by the author focuses on parenting in the 21st century, where he posits that the pressure on modern day children is no less than the pressure on modern-day parents.

“Parenting should be a deliberate task. It should not be executed by proxy, and it is a lifelong assignment, even when the children become grown-ups, because the counsel of a parent remains an indispensable asset. That said, if you are a successful parent today, it is by grace, so tarry a little before you label the parent next door a failure.” (pg 205)

In concluding this review, it is important to state that the author practically demonstrates some of the lessons contained in the book. For instance, he writes about the need to make an excellent presentation of one’s ideas and projects. The cover of the book attests to this excellent packaging and presentation, which according to him will compel people to show more than passing interest. The cover is excellently packaged and attracts readers who would, by virtue of that, be curious to read the book.

Again, “Winning Strategies”, as a book attests to the versatility of the writer as the book dwells on so many topics and aspects of life. The book can be said to have something for everybody. The religious minded, professional, youth and student, the highly placed and the lowly placed surely have something to relate with and something to learn from the book.

Benjamin Franklin advises : “If you would not want to be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.” Quite unarguably, my friend , the author has chosen both.

The author’s reference to the Meristem television commercial anchored by Nike Davies Okundaye, founder of Nike Art Gallery shows a profound observation that cuts across fields.

Again, as he wrote on page 94, “You do not take credit for your talent, you only take credit for using it and if you don’t use it, you will lose it”. Akin Oluwadare can conveniently take credit for using his creative writing skills.

“Winning Strategies” despite all the accolades is not a perfect work. There is no perfect work of art anywhere in the world. The book sure has its fair share of errors that can be captured in the second or reprint editions. The essay on “The Man Jim Ovia” is replete with unnecessary repetition of the name of the Zenith bank Founder, Mr Jim Ovia countless times in the story that spreads into six pages. This can be better done by interchanging the name with pronoun or other adjectives. Repeating the name “Mr Jim Ovia” is tautological. It shows the author’s seeming overt admiration for his principal, but such can be spared in such a remarkably beautiful essay.

Also, on page 93, the there is a light distortion in the alignment of the printing at the last paragraph. It is curious that this missed the scrutiny of the publishers.

Above all, the book is a great work. The language is simple and lucid. The examples he cites in the book are such that the readers can relate with. The printing font used also makes the book appealing and the author shows a mastery of the art of storytelling, the flow of thought and occasional use of anecdotes as well as literary and biblical allusions makes the book a great a literary work worth sparing precious time to read and digest. It is indeed a must read for leaders in various spheres as well as aspiring leaders – that is the next generation of leaders. The message is sublime and profound, without taking unnecessary swipe at current leaders, which has become quite fashionable among writers. If we are going to fill the leadership gap in our society, there must be conscious efforts to provide leadership education at different levels. This book is a good manual for such trainings.

I congratulate the author, my friend who is also the husband of my friend, Akin Oluwadare Jnr for this second effort, which, no doubt has defined him as a master story teller, life coach and author of very impactful books. May your “Winning Strategies” bring you more wins as it does to the readers!



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The Public Academic In The Eyes Of Change: No Time To Cry



Prof. Tunji Olaopa

Being a review on ‘The Unending Quest for Reform’ being a book by Prof. Tunji Olaopa  

By Olufemi Awoyemi

Professor Olaopa is the quintessential academic with high socio-political values, a deep sense of the urgency for action, and an abiding enthusiasm for the possibilities of the future if the proper actions are taken. He reminds me of the character Sekoni, in Professor Wole Soyinka’s 1965 novel, ‘The Interpreters.’ Sekoni was feisty, sincere, cerebral, and messianic. He needed to see a better society, he needed to see his people do better. But unfortunately, Nigeria happened to him. The same society that he craved to improve, spat him out like a discarded cigar butt and stamped his remaining dignity and self-awareness into the dirt. Indeed, his friends (and perhaps enemies) learned a bitter lesson: inciting meaningful change is a dangerous enterprise

Society all too often makes the capital mistake of assuming that to see comprehensive socioeconomic progress, political leadership must be top-notch, a cut above the ordinary, and committed to seeing new concentric heights of prosperity and progress. The assumption, as well-intentioned as it seems, is wrong. No matter how sincere and hardworking the political leadership of a country is, if the bureaucratic structure needed to turn ideas into projects, programmes, and processes is effete, ineffective, and evasive, the possibilities of political and economic success are slim. The bureaucracy that drives the engine of public policy is more important than the lofty ideas that inspire leadership. No leader succeeds without a bureaucracy that gives life and meaning to political ideas and ideals. A measure of how well a leadership will perform can be gleaned from how well politicians have structured the public service to meet clear and consistent social and economic objectives.

If a nation’s public service bureaucracy is corrupt, inept, and incapable of introspection and self-correction; the country is sentenced to a life of struggle, pain, and poverty. No matter how rich a country is in natural and human resources, if the bureaucratic structures that turn the wheels of administration are clogged by the grit, grease, and dust of poor public service management, the nation cannot progress. Citizens become frustrated, treasuries get looted, and resources get depleted. In the words of Francis Fukuyama in his book, ‘The Origins of Political Order’, stable democratic societies require three characteristics: a strong state, the rule of law, and accountability. 

These considerations, however, skipped a fourth and powerful democratic feature, the need for a professional and forward-looking public service bureaucracy.  In many democracies, public service hides behind the finger of political gamesmanship and in many ways shapes the outcome of a politician’s dreams, wishes, and aspirations. The politician may have his or her say, but the civil service bureaucrat often has his or her way.

The author alludes to the innate difficulties in turning good policy into institutional action. His early epiphany of the difficulties in administration occurred while he was ‘sucked’into the vortex of student union politics at the University of Ibadan. In chapter eight of the book he points out that ‘With unionism, I began so early to fathom some of the heavy tasks of decision-making, policy formulation and design. By being invited to be a part of the University of Ibadan’s evolving strategic plan at the time, I was drawn into the inner sanctum of serious and institutional policy infrastructures that all the theories learnt from my public administration classes would not have afforded me

He further observed that ‘Most outsiders to politics and administration are only satisfied with the superficial analysis of the layman: politicians and administrators are greedy; there is more than enough to go around for all Nigerians. It is so easy to come to such a conclusion because politicians and administrators do not themselves help matters. In a country where public officials steal with impunity and the newspapers report, on a daily basis, news of massive theft of our common patrimony, it takes little reflection for the ordinary citizen to surmise that governance is an easy business. Is it not to just provide electricity and build schools?

In her insightful book ‘China’s Gilded Age’ Professor Yuen Yueng Ang explained that corruption is a universal phenomenon. Nevertheless, in countries like Nigeria, public office corruption is shaped in the manner of  ‘petty theft’ and ‘grand theft’ rather than ‘transactional theft’ that involves ‘speed money’ and ‘access money’ as is the case in more developed economies like China. In China, a corrupt public official would enhance and promote business activity by helping the entrepreneur meet his or her business objectives. In Nigeria, the public officer would prefer to create stumbling blocks that frustrate enterprise and then insist on ‘compensation’. The different corruption vectors to a large extent determine the pace of entrepreneurial growth and economic development. 

Contrary to popular opinion, corruption is not a socioeconomic deal breaker. What is a deal murderer is the lack of professionalism in Nigeria’s public service and the predominance of ‘grand theft’ as against ‘speed’ or áccess’money. The absence or the non-compliance of public officers with standard operating procedures (SoPs) rips at the heart of the civil service, smashing its credibility to smithereens. The consequence of an institutionally weakened public sector operation is typified by the poor state of Nigeria’s port operations. Public policies mean little, if anything if they are not accompanied by globally recognised best governance practices and unrelenting commitment to projects, procedures, or policy deliverables.

Olaopa precociously, or perhaps viscerally, understood this in his active days as a student union leader and more contemporarily as a resident academic in the federal public service. He came to the realization that policy success is less a matter of hope and desire as it is a matter of goals aligned to procedures set for implementation. The goals of governance are usually clear, but what appears hazy is the how and when of execution. Tackling execution at the highest professional standard is the ace in the hole, the theatre of maximum conflict with vested interests.

To navigate the minefields of policy inertia, change agents must have a multidisciplinary mindset that enables cross-disciplinary frameworks and models to interact to produce solutions that rise above the one-story narrative, which is usually wrong. Most often in life, our situations are dictated by multiple factors that interact intricately to create situations that easily confuse the innocent or simple. To suggest that corruption or a lack of professionalism is the one single factor responsible for Nigeria’s purportedly poor public service quality would be wrong. From the 1960s to the mid-1980s, Nigeria had amongst the finest public services in the world. Its cerebral and feisty public servants attracted great global praise and admiration.

However, by the mid to late 1980s, something began to go terribly wrong. The public service lost its lustre and Nigeria’s finest minds saw the civil service as an intelligent person’s mental graveyard. Unwilling to be ‘buried’ in this scary environment Nigeria’s clever and brightest voted with their feet by going into the more virile, creative, and agile private sector where material rewards were better. The slow descent from the honeypot of the intelligent and disciplined to the dungheap of the discontented and amoral was decisive in reducing the quality of decision-making and the impact of policy implementation of the public service. The previous statement is a tad sweeping.  Nigeria’s public service still retains the loyalty of fine people, with great brains and admirable character, but that population is fast receding, and without remedial measures being taken urgently, Nigeria’s public service will feast on the carcass of a bygone era.

Professor Olaopa’s book is a call to the working of imagination rather than memory. It is a call for the country to wake up and improve its public service personnel and governance oversight. Improving the standard operating procedures (SoPs) for government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) would provide the foundation for effective policy administration. Policy and planning excellence rests on laid-down templates and procedures that are taken as minimal standards of operations. In other words, excellence in the public sector would require workable systems and reliable workers. A linchpin of reliability is honour. A point the public sector academic makes in chapter nine of his memoirs. According to Professor Olaopa, ‘An honourable public official is the one who sees to the execution of a policy to the best of his ability even if he disagrees with the policy choice. This is an honourable act because it demonstrates that the bureaucrat’s sense of duty and service overrides his personal wilfulness. This is especially more so within the context of the bureaucratic corruption that exerts enormous pressure on the public servants and, even more so, the reformer, to compromise on her ideals and principles. Honour is also what insists that a reformer must be bound by the force of her conviction about the need to transform the public service. And it is precisely this that also demands that such 108 The Unending Quest for Reform The Making of a Public Servant-as-Reformer a reformer cannot prematurely seek honour and recognition’.

But beyond commitment to accepted standards and rules, Professor Olaopa expands on the concept of optimized communities or Opticom,  a framework for rural development advanced by Professors Ojetunji Aboyade and Akin Mabogunje. The concept relies on the rural community and its interactive relationships as the hub of socioeconomic growth and development. Effective administration of rural economies would promote the sustained growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and allow for the dispersion of talent, skills, creativity, and knowledge across communities in a way that tackles the urgent challenges of poverty, lack of financial inclusion and the alienation of relatively low-income Nigerians from the broader economy and production value chains.

The top-to-bottom command structure of the Nigerian bureaucracy and economy has not served the country well. Olaopa like his mentors  Aboyade and Mabogunje, argues that it is important to reverse the order of administrative relevance by making the rural communities centres of excellence and aggregating these centres into a national culture and structure of inclusive and sustainable growth and development. Olaopa’s commitment to the sustained progress of the public sector in the interest of the communities and country is reflective of a mind schooled in the philosophical thoughts of Plato and honed by the practical craft of governance gathered over years of being at the centre of federal public sector authority and might.

I recommend Professor Olaopa’s book to all those interested in engineering a better bureaucratic framework to support a fit-for-purpose public service aimed at the greatest interest of the largest number of citizens. In the general scheme of things, while good ideas are needed to direct society to achieve optimal benefits for citizens, the success of the ideas rests delicately on the quality of public bureaucracy expected to translate those ideas into reality.

Where bureaucracy is weak, unimaginative, and lethargic, the best of ideas and programmes buckle under the weight of public incompetence, mischief, and thievery. Ultimately great administrations are the products of the collaboration between intelligent politicians and outstanding administrators. Where political vision and administrative competence are misaligned, the consequence is nearly always socioeconomic pain.


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22nd Africa Conference 2023 Holds At University of Texas



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

The 22nd Africa Conference 2023
University of Texas at Austin

March 30 – April 2, 2023

Come join us for the 22nd Austin Africa Conference, the premier gathering for Africanist scholars, activists, and enthusiasts! This year’s conference promises to be an engaging and thought-provoking event, featuring a dynamic lineup of speakers, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.

Whether you are a seasoned researcher, a passionate activist, or simply interested in learning more about the rich and diverse cultures of Africa, the Austin Africa Conference has something for everyone. With a wide range of topics and themes, including politics, culture, history, and development, there is sure to be a session that piques your interest and inspires lively conversation. You can join Day 1 and 2 Virtual Panels below.

VIRTUAL A (Thur, 3:30AM – 5:30AM Austin CST // 9:30AM – 11:30AM WAT)
Meeting ID: 895 1525 1670
Passcode: 642798

VIRTUAL B (Thur, 5:45AM – 7:15AM Austin CST // 11:45AM – 1:15PM WAT)
Meeting ID: 816 3786 0400
Passcode: 180438

VIRTUAL C (Thur, 7:30AM – 9:00AM Austin CST // 1:30PM – 3:00PM WAT)
Meeting ID: 851 1195 8266
Passcode: 334322

VIRTUAL D (Thur, 9:15AM – 10:45AM Austin CST // 3:15PM – 4:45PM WAT)
Meeting ID: 823 5398 9771
Passcode: 714482

VIRTUAL E (Fri, 4:00AM – 5:30AM Austin CST // 10AM – 11:30AM WAT)
Meeting ID: 895 0979 6469
Passcode: 390399

VIRTUAL F (Fri, 5:45AM – 7:15AM CST // 11:45AM – 1:15PM WAT)
Meeting ID: 824 9012 0462
Passcode: 049090

For the in-person participants, the conference offers the chance to connect with like-minded individuals from around the world, building relationships and networks that can last a lifetime. With attendees coming from all corners of the globe, the Austin Africa Conference is truly a melting pot of ideas and perspectives. Here is why:

· Panel Session A1 – A2 (Fri, 9:45AM-11:15AM Austin CST)

· Panel Session B1 – B2 (Fri, 11:30AM – 1:00PM Austin CST)

· Panel Session C1 – C2 (Fri, 2:00PM – 3:30PM Austin CST)

· Keynote Lecture (Fri, 4:00PM – 5:30PM Austin CST)

· Dinner Reception (Fri, 5:30PM – 6:30PM Austin CST)

· Panel Session D1 – D3 (Sat, 9:00AM – 10:30AM Austin CST)

· Panel Session E1 – E4 (Sat, 10:45AM – 12:15PM Austin CST)

· Panel Session F1 – F2 (Sat, 1:15PM – 2:45PM Austin CST)

· Panel Session G1 – G3 (Sat, 3:00PM – 4:45PM Austin CST)

· Plenary Session & Closing Remarks (Sat, 4:45PM – 5:30PM Austin CST)

· Open Bar (Sat, 6:30PM – 7:00PM)

· Dinner Banquet (Sat, 7:00PM – 9:00PM)

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to engage with some of the brightest minds in African studies and make lasting connections with fellow enthusiasts. Save the date now and prepare to be inspired!

Download the conference program



Olayombo Raji-Oyelade,

Victor Angbah,


Toyin Falola,

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Arts & Culture

Toyin Falola, Memories Of Africa: Home And Abroad In The United States



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Olusegun Olopade

Toyin Falola, Memories of Africa: Home and Abroad in the United States (Atlantic Migrations and the African Diaspora) | © March 2023

Book Details

Publisher‏: ‎ University Press of Mississippi (March 24, 2023)

Language‏: ‎ English

Paperback: ‎ 256 pages

ISBN-10: ‎ 1496843487

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1496843487


Memories of Africa: Home and Abroad in the United States suggests a new lens for viewing African Diaspora studies: the experiences of African memoirists who live in the United States. The book shows how African Diaspora memoirs beautifully and grippingly depict the experiences of African migrants over time through political, social, and cultural spheres. In reading African Diaspora memoirs from the transatlantic slave trade period to the present, a reader can understand the complexity of the African migrant legacy and evolution.

Author Toyin Falola argues that memoirs are significant not only in their interpretation of events conveyed by the memoirists but also in demonstrating how interpersonal and human the stories told can be. Memoirs are powerful because they are emotionally captivating and because important themes and events circulate around a particular person (in this case, the memoirist).

Undoubtedly, a memoir is significant because it can teach anyone about a part of the human experience, even if the “facts” are not described without bias. Through this sort of narrative, the reader cannot help but enter into the memoirist’s mind and, therefore, feel more empathy for them. In doing so, the reader can “feel” what the memoirist feels and “see” what the memoirist sees as clearly as is humanly possible. In this way, the historical events and life lessons become tangible and poignantly real to the reader.

Editorial Reviews

Memories of Africa makes a significant contribution to the study of the African Diaspora, African intellectual history, to our understanding of African autobiography, and more importantly to life studies. Falola provides fresh insights that will reinvigorate the field. — Olabode Ibironke, author of Remapping African Literature.

Memories of Africa opens a new dimension to the understanding of the experiences of home, space, and place, and their interactions in African and diaspora studies. — Adetayo Alabi, author of Oral Forms of Nigerian Autobiography and Life Stories.

Toyin Falola is Professor of History, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. He has received over thirty lifetime career awards and sixteen honorary doctorates. He has written extensively on the African Diaspora, including The African Diaspora: Slavery, Modernity, and Globalization.

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