Monday 29 April 2024


Olóyè Ulli Beier was a significant figure in the exploration and promotion of Yorùbá culture and arts. Born in Chotwitz, Poland in July 1922, to a Jewish middle-class family, his journey to Nigeria in 1950 marked the beginning of a lifelong dedication to understanding and celebrating Yorùbá traditions.

In 1949, while teaching handicapped children in Battersea, Ulli came across a newspaper advertisement for a lecturer position in English at University College Ibadan. This opportunity led him to Nigeria, accompanied by his wife Suzanne Wenger, a notable Austrian artist who later became a high priestess at the Osun Groove in Oshogbo.

Upon arriving in Nigeria, Ulli immersed himself in Yorùbá life, residing in Ede and Ilobu before settling in Oshogbo in 1958. His passion for Yorùbá arts and culture drove him to actively participate in everyday and ritual activities, documenting stories, and capturing moments through photography. Over time, he authored numerous articles and books, delving into various aspects of Yorùbá culture, such as myths, poetry, and more.

In 1957, Ulli founded Black Orpheus, a literary magazine that played a pivotal role in showcasing the talents of emerging writers across Africa and the black diaspora. Notably, writers like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, John Pepper Clark, Christopher Okigbo, and others found their early platforms in this influential journal.

His contributions to Yorùbá studies and African literature are evident in works like "Yoruba Myths," "Not Even God is Ripe Enough," collections of Yorùbá poetry, and other scholarly endeavors, solidifying his legacy as a bridge between cultures and a champion of African literary and cultural heritage.

Courtesy Yorùbá blog

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...