On the 18th of October, 2023, the Mabogunje clan gathered with well-wishers, to remember the life and contributions of the first professor of Geography in Nigeria: My Grandfather.
When he died last year, I couldn't find the words to express myself until his funeral, when I wrote a short poem titled "My Grandfather the G.O.A.T." You can read it here. And when it reached time to celebrate him this year, the same was true. But thankfully, this remembrance was packed full of people who wanted to remember the man that my grandfather was, and who knew him personally, and professionally, and publicly, and privately. And they all had one or two words to say about him.
His memorial was hosted by the University of Ibadan in partnership with the family, in one of their halls. As a former member of the University's faculty, they were more than happy to support the family with a discount and their own memories of Professor Mabogunje at the university.
There were many memorable aspects of the event but I must say that the guest lecture given by Professor Taibat Lawanson was my favourite. In her lecture, professor Lawanson talked about my grandfather’s work in a relatable and easily understood way. She showed the links he unearthed between Geography and History and Sociology, which made it make sense to me why Geography is considered a Social Science.
I have only ever read one of my grandfather's books, his autobiography: "A Measure of Grace." Geographers worldwide may appreciate him more for his many other scientific publications but it was mainly through this one book that I knew of his work. So getting to see his work through Professor Lawanson's eyes was a real gift.
After her lecture, some people gave tributes and talked about their memories of him. A Geographic book was launched and in conclusion, a Foundation was announced in his name. The Foundation will host an annual lecture on subjects dear to my grandfather’s heart and perhaps hold a competition too. The finer details are still being worked out so you'll forgive me if I seem a bit vague. In any case, your takeaway from this should be that there will be a foundation created to honour my grandfather and pursue the same noble goals he pursued in his life.
There are a ton of pictures of the event so it's hard for me to choose what to share. I also can't share all of them because they’re password-protected and I believe the photographer did so for a reason:- The whole internet is not meant to have access to them. Therefore, I am constrained to say that if you want to see the pictures, you're gonna have to ask. Shoot me an email or text or something. That way I know to whom I'm giving access to the pictures.
I also want to add a disclaimer here to say that because I’m only getting around to documenting this event months after it occurred, I am sure I do not remember everything, and what I do remember may not be entirely accurate. That said, it can also be said that the things that really left their mark on me are what really mattered to me and therefore you're getting just the most vital information.
Whichever you choose to believe, this ends my account of Professor Akinlawon Ladipo Mabogunje's One-Year Memorial. Thanks for reading.