Professor Sophie Oluwole, a renowned African philosopher who was also Nigeria’s first female doctorate degree holder in philosophy, has died. She passed away at about 8 p.m. on Sunday at age 83 following a protracted illness.
Sophie Oluwole was vocal about the role of women in philosophy and the disproportionate representation of African thinkers in education.
Born in 1936 in Igbara-oke in Nigeria’s southwestern state of Ondo, she studied history, geography and philosophy at the University of Lagos. In the end, Sophie Oluwole settled on philosophy.
In a statement, President Muhammadu Buhari extended heartfelt condolences to her family.
“The President joins members of the family, the academia and other close associates in mourning the cerebral philosopher, who through her teachings and works celebrated the Yoruba culture, history and worldview, and reminded the world that within pristine traditions are values that promote the ideals of democracy, fairness, equity and justice,” Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said.
He added: “President Buhari believes that the deceased will be honored and remembered for her commitment and skill in spreading the word about the good in promoting African tradition, culture, knowledge and languages.
“He urges all who mourn Prof Oluwole to honour her memory by carrying on from where she left off in her zeal to promote indigenous knowledge, skills and discipline that could help us redefine ourselves as a people and a nation.
“The President prays that almighty God grant her soul eternal rest and comfort all who mourn”.
Omoyele Sowore, Nigeria’s presidential candidate and former student activist at the University of Lagos where the deceased taught philosophy remembered her in a statement.
“Just learnt Prof. Sophie Oluwole died this morning. Sending my profound condolences to her family and by extension UNILAG students and alumni that met and related with her. “Mama” as she is fondly called worked underground with us as student activists at the University of Lagos. She helped with tips, advice and support until we were eventually let off the hook at UNILAG. Adieu the real authentic African Mama!,” said Sowore.