Obit: Dapo Adelugba, Emeritus Professor of Theatre Arts, passes on at 75 – Tola Adenle

November 24, 2014

Arts & Culture

Professor Dapo Adelugba, 1939 – 2014.

Professor Dapo Adelugba, playwright, historian, actor, writer and a giant in the artistic community in Nigeria who was renowned in Africa and beyond, died in the early hours of this morning.

An old “boy” of one of Nigeria’s best high schools, the Government College, Ibadan, he had his university education at the University of London where he studied English in 1962 and graduate school was at the UCLA, USA where he studied Theatre Arts.

Adelugba rose to professorial rank at Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan where he had his academic career although foray into other universities as external examiners or through other academic cooperation saw him mentoring many in Nigeria’s academic literary and theater communities.

“Brother Dapo” – as I knew and addressed him as he was older brother to a friend and colleague, Segun Adelugba – Ṣegadelu – also held many important positions in Nigeria outside academia but within the sphere of his specialization and interest.

He was the Director of Nigeria’s drama entry to the 2nd World Festival of Arts and Culture which took place in 1977 – FESTAC77; the Arts Director of University of Ibadan, Theatre Arts, and he once served as Chairman of Oyo State Council of Arts and Culture, a tenure that saw him institute the Oyo State Festival of Yoruba Literature. Adelugba was instrumental in bringing Ms. Cicely Tyson, to Nigeria in 1982. The African-American actress of many movies but whose role in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman made her an American icon, visited Nigeria to collaborate with the Universities of Ife and Ibadan and the American Cultural Center in Ibadan which was then a very vibrant presence in Ibadan. Adelugba also once served as the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Chapter of the International Theatre Institute.

His 70th birthday was marked by Nigeria’s artistic community with fanfare and many artistic productions, including an “Art Stampede” which was like a carnival took place.

Adelugba worked with just about all the well-known names in Theatre Arts in Nigeria: Nobel Laureate Soyinka, J.P. Clark, (Ms.) Zulu Sofola, Ola Rotimi, Irein Wangboje, Wale Ogunyemi, Tunji Oyelana, Niyi Osundare who now teaches at an American university, and many others.

As Professor Adelugba joins his ancestors and other greats of the Nigerian literary and artistic scene, the country loses yet another tireless and selfless academic and contributor to a facet of her life which, despite the very financially-sucessful which lacks artistic and cultural depth “Nollywood”, yearns for a new generation that would match her past achievements.

Professor Adelugba is being mourned by extensive family in his native Esa-Oke via Ilesa home as well as literary circles in and beyond Nigeria, and will be greatly missed for his quiet and genial ways, and great achievements. I send sincere condolence to his daughter whom I never met, and to his siblings – Ṣegadelu, Ṣade, Ṣiji and other family members on this great loss.

May he find eternal rest with his Maker.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2014. 8:45 a.m. [GMT]

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4 Comments on “Obit: Dapo Adelugba, Emeritus Professor of Theatre Arts, passes on at 75 – Tola Adenle”

  1. ADENLE S.A. Says:

    Professor Dapo Adelugba alias ” ADELUU” of Ibadan Grammar School Fame was
    A commited African Artist. He was very simple and very intelligent. Despite his position, he was not a proud man but you could always see in him the Fire of the grace of a good and productive Mind. Do not mind his Sterness , it was to provoke a seriousness of Purpose. He was our English teacher at Ibadan Grammar School with Bode Alalade. I liked him especially for his simplicity and lack of airs!

    I salute his simplicity and courage and wish Him eternal Rest.

    Adieu GREAT ADELUU….



    • emotanglobal Says:

      Dear Mr. Adenle,

      Thanks for adding the words of one who knew him as a teacher. Students are always especially not that generous of words if they found a teacher was stern but you were able to take away that all he did was “to provoke a seriousness of purpose”; young kids are not generally known to appreciate this.




  2. bisisowunmig Says:

    How very shocking indeed! And how painful! Dapo and I were contemporaries at UCI, and colleagues at UI.

    He stood out for his forthrightness&rather unconventional&amp simple mode of dressing. He was an unusual lecturer who took practical steps to assist some indigent or laid-back students, as publicly acknowledged by them once.

    He was a personal friend to me&amp, my husband whom he affectionately referred to as “brother Segun”.
    He was a beacon in the academia&bore his delayed promotion to professorship with dignified fortitude&amp grace.

    May God console his only child, Yetunde, her mother Firinne, and all members of his family.
    Bisi Sowunmi



    • emotanglobal Says:

      Dear Sis. Bisi,

      Though I had not seen him in years before his translation, I was still very shocked when I got the call early this morning through D who had received a call from Ṣiji, one of his younger brothers.

      I’m sure all of you who knew him from college days at the University College, Ibadan and subsequently at the Uni. of Ibadan would miss such a rare gem.

      Thanks & fondest regards, Ma.



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