Heart Of Arts

2021 Atanda Prize: Michael Afolayan Acceptance Note

Michael Oladejo Afolayan

Good news, in any shape or form, is a good way to end the year. I was just about to start writing an essay on why the year 2021 has been by far my “annus horribilis” (Horrible Year, Year of disaster and misfortune), chronicling a litany of deaths, near deaths, sicknesses, hospitalizations, and other mishaps. Then, before I could write a single word, I saw the news flash on my screen from our friend, Dr. Toyin Falola, the professor of professors, flashing the USA-Africa Dialogue news that announced that one of my published articles, Ọmọ tí a kò kọ́: Globalization and Cultural Education among new Generation Nigeria-Yoruba won the annual J. A. Atanda’s Prize for the best essay on Yoruba in 2021. At first, I thought it was a different Michael Afolayan (there are at least five of us by that same name) but then, I remember writing an essay with that title in the past. Ironically, I have even forgotten the year I published the article either as a book chapter or a journal article. But it was God’s perfect way of chastising my pessimism, rudeness, and ungratefulness. Then came the congratulatory message by the philosopher-king, my own aburo, Adeshina. I, therefore, terminated my essay on what would have been a focus on the evils of the year and reflected over many beautiful things of life – for example, our three daughters are holidaying with us after many years of praying for them to come home; we are alive and well; it was this year that my wife and I were honored by the Osun States’ Ministry of Women, Children and Social Service and the Osun State Chapter of CAN for our commitment to public service; none of us was the victim of the dreaded C-19 pandemic and its variants; and now, God has crowned the year with an Atanda Prize. Indeed, those who know how to think must know how to be thankful to God!


Essentially, I would like to thank God for a year that ends with some good news. Of course, I lost friends this year, fell sick, and spent time (a whole week) hospitalized, but none of those ended my 2021. It was the Prize news. “Annus Horribilis” would have been my final caption for the year, but God literally (and rightly) twisted my arm and turned 2021 into my “Annus Victoriae” (the Year of Victory).


I thank the Committee that selected my article/chapter, and now I have to go to my library to see where on earth I published the said work and see what attracted those respected intellectuals to count it worthy of consideration. I happen to know the great man, Papa J. A. Atanda of Eruwa, and winning an award that honors his name leaves me identifying with the prophecy of Fredrick Nietchze that “Sooner than later, my name will be associated with something holy.” An Atanda Prize is hallowed ground, and I appreciate being walked into it barefooted.


Happy New Year to all!


Michael Oladejo Afolayan

(With a heart full of thanks)


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