Olabisi Ajala

Reading Àjàlá in Modern Times


To a generation of Nigerians, the character Àjàlá might as well be an urban legend. Fictionalised in film, memorialised in music and romanticised in folklore, Ajala has become a common noun, a term in popular Nigerian usage for something part Don Quixote and part Don Juan. Over the last few decades, Olabisi Ajala’s legend has […]

OlongoAfrica to Republish “An African Abroad”


Mashood Ọlábísí Àjàlá’s wild ride of a life began on a bicycle. In 1952, the Nigerian writer, then 22 years old, biked for 2,280 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles; his 28-day journey was featured in newspaper reports, attracting the notice of many notables. That July, Àjàlá, described in newspaper reports as “personable,” lectured at […]

A Book Collector’s Journal


Shortly after the lockdown began in March 2020, I began buying more books. This started innocently perhaps facilitated by boredom; there were some new titles that had just been released that I wanted to read. Some were books of writer friends I was interested in supporting or reviewing. Others were titles I had come across […]