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Another lustrous feather has been added to the cap of the doyen of African History and Humanities, Professor Toyin Falola. The sage, whose life is dedicated to knowledge and research, was conferred a D.Litt. honorary doctorate by the University of Pretoria, South Africa, on May 14, 2024, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to African studies.

Prof. Toyin Falola

Prof. Falola, The Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He highlighted the need for continued research and education to ensure a comprehensive understanding of Africa’s past, present, and future.

 

The legendary humility of Professor Falola disguises the unfathomable depth of his knowledge. Having published several books and essays on African epistemology, Falola’s contribution to the development of Africa through his works cannot be ignored but continues to gain worthy recognition and acknowledgement as his efforts propel him to continue doing his best and more, which is why the University of Pretoria has conferred on him a honorary doctorate, another to the growing list of honorary doctorates that add more stars to Falola’s rank as a legend in his field.

Professor Falola, who can be described as the epitome of African historical epistemology, displays intellectual radiance, and has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over decades as a professor of African studies. His prolific writing and wisdom have contributed greatly to African epistemology, and one cannot help but recognize his hard work and commitment, which are testaments to the unyielding spirit of knowledge and vigorous determination that he embodies.

Over the years, Professor Falola’s work has shed more light on issues in Africa and provided solutions to them. His thoughts and creative ideas on the major issues in Africa and their application are particularly second to none. His contribution to African studies, alongside his contributions to African Agency, Culture and Pan-Africanism, has left an incredible mark on the academic landscape.

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Falola is greatly sought after for his excellence and versatility in African studies and development. He has delivered over two hundred lectures, and he has over 100 books and countless articles in books and journals. Throughout his illustrious career, Falola has authored numerous books and articles that have shaped the field of African studies.

His dedication to academic excellence and commitment to empowering African voices have earned him international acclaim and admiration. The conferral of this honorary doctorate further solidifies his legacy as a pioneering scholar in African history and a champion of intellectual inquiry.

He aspires to help recreate the African identity in history through scholarship. His interest in cultural relativism is expressed in his publications, where he shares his creative ideas and solutions.

In one of his articles on cultural relativism titled “Deepening Intercultural Dialogue and Integration for Global Peace,” Falola stated that “cultural relativism is the guardian angel of intellectual dialogue.” In this piece, Falola emphasized the need to heal every society of extreme poverty, oppression, discrimination, and racism, stating that without these and their adaptation to intercultural dialogue, much cannot be done to advance world peace.

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Professor Falola displays great interest in African politics and has, for many decades, contributed greatly to its advancement through his several media pieces that address the political situations in Nigeria and Africa at large.

For instance, in the recent Senegal saga, Falola, in his piece titled “The evil of Macky Sall’s civilian coup in Senegal,” wrote that he saw it coming a year ago and had used media outlets to warn about it. He further admonished the judiciary to take a neutral ground in the budding crisis and serve as the true and last hope of the people to check the excesses of both the presidency and the parliament.

It is worth mentioning that Prof. Falola’s piece formed part of the momentum that pressurized Sall, as he later conducted the election and released the imprisoned candidate who eventually became the president.

It is, therefore, evident that Professor Falola’s work and contribution to African history and development deserve continuous recognition. His huge, undying passion and determination for the greater good of African development is worthy of emulation.

It is no surprise that he has received over 20 honorary doctorates, the most recent being from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria, on April 18, 2024. He was also appointed as an Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria in 2022. Hence, this honorary award from the University of Pretoria is yet another feather to his cap as he continues to contribute his intellectual grace generously to Africa and the world at large.

 

With this award, Professor Falola is encouraged to continually contribute to the development of humanity in every way possible. This award will positively impact thousands of students and scholars by fostering the continuous pursuit of academic freedom and committing themselves to harnessing their intellectual abilities in the interest of the nation and humanity. His work transcends a wealth of wisdom and experience, which appeals to scholars across different backgrounds and disciplines explaining why Falola stands as a model to other researchers and scholars in his field and beyond. Therefore, awards like this serve as a motivation for scholars who seek to walk in his path. Taking into consideration his intelligence and continuous contribution to academia, no one deserves this honour better than Prof. Toyin Falola.

 

Source: Political Science Dept, University of Pretoria.

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