Heart of Arts

Michael Afolayan: A Cat With 9 Lives!, By Toyin Falola

  1. He came to life when others died


How many choices of life is really our choice?

Born innocent,

We came covered with blood,

This blood is special,

And the day, memorable:

It is the only day when the sight of blood comes with joy;

The joy of motherhood, we call it,

We shouted with our fists held high,

The tears we saved for another day,

The fight we have reserved for the tumultuous journey ahead,

But we burn the energy anyway,

We came symbolizing what adventure life is:

Struggles, Peace, Joy, Pain, Love, and Intrigues.



  1. He survived encounters with armed robbers


Behold the apotheosis:

May we live to fight the right course,

May our days be counted as a blessing to humanity,

May the seasons of our time nourish the future of our unborn self,

And find peace in life and in death.



  1. He survived colon cancer


We were born free,

But freedom was not given to us,

It’s too demanding to be,

Of course, the science of Freedom is better appreciated in the context of to whom much is given,

Otherwise, all men would have been born with privilege,

And when the evils, diseases, and pestilence roar in the city square,

Can we not withdraw to our cocoon of freedom?


  1. Friends and relatives died in his presence


Freedom to live,

But when the boogeyman of Death comes knocking,

His back we do not always live to see,

Others tell the story because dead men do not tell tales,

We crave for freedom,

The cost we cannot bear,

So the boogeyman always have its day.


  1. He survived a series of hospitalizations and two brain surgeries.


They say that sin is the harbinger of death,

What have we done to be worthy of birth?

The fists hanging in the air for the tormented journey,

And the tears we conserved when announcing our arrival,

Both work with us until death:

When others shed this tears for us,

What we’ve done with these fists shall be recounted.


He lives on today, grateful to God, alive to celebrate on this day, the 40th anniversary of his marriage. I know the man, my friend. I know the wife, Precious, and the story of how they met at Ondo, on the campus of Adeyemi College of Education. I know their four children. I know their religion. If you have Michael Afolayan as a friend, you don’t need a second friend: his values, derived from our ancestors and from his religion, are solid.


Happy anniversary.

Toyin Falola


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