D.O. Fagunwa’s Widow Dies At 85

The widow of the foremost pioneer writer, Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa, Chief Elizabeth Adebanke Fagunwa is dead.

Mama Fagunwa died on Saturday 7 April, 2018, at a Lagos hospital. She was aged 85.

The deceased had lived in Oke Igbo, Ondo State, ever since her husband died 55 years ago.

In ”Celebrating D.O. Fagunwa: Aspects of Africa and World Literary History”, a definitive book on Fagunwa, edited by Adeleke Adeeko and Akin Adesokan, Chief Elizabeth Fagunwa spoke on the true story of Fagunwa’s death which was until then shrouded in mystery and half-truth.

She enjoyed tremendously the three day conference in Akure and the presentation of the book on her husband in Ibadan organised by the Fagunwa Study Group.

Fagunwa died on December 7th 1963 in a river in Niger State. His body was said to have been retrieved from the river by local divers a few days after, intact, with his Yoruba traditional attire still on, his shoes and even his glasses on his face.

Mama Fagunwa, who became widowed at 31, was her husband’s apple eye whom he fondly called Sayoade (Joy of my Crown).

Fagunwa, known as the father of Yoruba magical realism, was author of such imaginative books which are ‘Ireke Onibudo’, ‘Aditu Olodumare’, ‘Igbo Olodumare’, ‘Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole’, ‘Adiitu Olodumare’, which he wrote in a mythical manner. His last manuscript, ‘Ireola Olodumare’, is still missing till this day, perhaps lost in the river.

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