THE FREEDOM FIGHT: A Novel of Resistance and Freedom
Smith, Pamela J. Olúbùnmi, trans. The Freedom Fight: A Novel of Resistance and Freedom, being a translation of Adebayo Faleti's Omo Olokun Esin from the Yoruba.
Pamela Olúbùnmi Smith's The Freedom Fight is an English translation of Adébáyò Fálétí’s Yorùbá novel, Omo Olókùn Esin Though written in 1958 to coincide with Nigeria's Independence (celebrated on October 1st, 1960), Omo Olókùn Esin was first published in 1970, long after the novel had gained pre-eminence in Yorùbá letters. Fálétí's imagination was captured by a consuming interest in how people would have liked to have expressed the "self government now or never!" slogan that rent the air in the decade before formal negotiations for independence were begun. Set in 19th century traditional Yorùbáland, The Freedom Fight is an historical tale about feudalism and enslavement, freedom and independence. It chronicles the attendant frustrations of advancing any kind of liberation movement in a rule-of-fear, exploitive system, sanctioned by traditional authority. Àjàyí, the idealist son of Chief Olókùn-Esin, mounts a violent revolt against the injustices of enslavement and feudal practices. He eventually wins freedom and independence for the people of Òkò from years of servitude under Olúmokò, signaling the beginning of the end of feudalism in Yorùbáland. An unrivalled eloquent marker of a historical and linguistic age gone by, Omo Olókùn Esin remains the longest novel and sole example of the revolutionary novel sub-genre in Yorùbá literary corpus. More than a work of literature, this English translation affords the modern reader a primer of Yorùbá culture.