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Kole Omotoso

Futurist Profile

 

Prof Bankole Ajibabi Omotoṣo

Independent Scholar and writer

Researcher: Africa Diaspora Research Group
Visiting professorship at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State, Nigeria, for three months, ending in October 2013

Bankole Ajibabi Omotoṣo (born 21 April 1943), also known as Kole Omotoṣo, is a Nigerian writer and intellectual known for his dedication and commitment to fusing a socio-political reappraisal of Africa and respect for human dignity into most of his works.

Education:
B.A. (Hons) - University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 1968
Ph.D. - University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1972

Prof Omotoṣo answered a few questions about his perspective and on being a futures thinker.

ABOUT YOU AS A FUTURES THINKER / PRACTITIONER

You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

Woman and Man on the African street are more likely to speak an African language than a language brought into Africa by colonisation. So, I would speak of traditional thought leaders such as the babalawo and sangoma and child birth women assistants. In the modern times their equivalents gather in universities and think tanks.

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Ten years, since leaving regular university teaching in 2003 at the Drama Department of the University of Stellenbosch.

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Nigeria, especially with the publication of Just Before Dawn, a book that deals with a hundred years of Nigerian history and the personalities that destroyed its physical and moral institutions.

Scotland, at the Department of English Studies at the University of Stirling; Tunisia with the Arab League working on Arabisation (ta’arabiyah) in the Sudan; Arab Emirates as specialist in Afro-Arab Relations; and South Africa

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?

Yoruba, English, Arabic and French.

What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

The incredible possibilities the future holds given the earth’s human and material resources and continued re-sourcing of the earth!

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

I would like to set up a University of African Languages Studies.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

Stellenbosch University Futures Group

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

I did my studies in Arabic and French and did my doctorate on contemporary Arabic dramatic writing and theatre.

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as… intellectual

I describe myself as… confrontational

 

YOUR PERSPECTIVE

What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

"Everything is possible in the future."

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

With the exception of what futures thinking is going on in South Africa and especially at the University of Stellenbosch, IFR (Institute for Futures Research), nothing or little is being done in other African countries.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

Lack of awareness mainly; pursuit of daily needs distracts from more forward looking pre-occupations.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

The future is where the possibilities are!

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

Reviews of books publications (New York, London, Paris Review and Lagos Review of Books and Society)

 

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