On March 8, art lovers, writers and women advocates converged at the Wole Soyinka Art Theater at the University of Ibadan to witness the launching of Karimot Olabisi Odebode’s debut poetry collection titled ‘A woman has many names’ published by Noirledge Publishers.
While speaking on why she wrote the book, Odebode noted that the poems aimed to give women a voice and a sense of belonging. She added that the poems presented a broad range of answers to the questions about women and their world.
Since the book launch coincided with the International Women’s Day (IWD) with the theme ‘Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow’ with the catch phrase ‘Breaking the bias’, the organizers of the event decided to incorporate a panel conversation to the event tagged ‘ The role of arts, literature and women in ensuring an egalitarian and sustainable society.’
The panel was headed by Oluwafunmilayo Adebimpe, a lawyer and human rights advocate. Other members of the panel were Adedayin Aguoru, a writer and senior lecturer in the Department of English, University of Ibadan; Titilope Adebayo, a politician and founder of Women too Africa; Olubunmi Familoni, an award-winning writer; and Ronke Giwa-Onafuma, an awarding-winning media personality with Splash FM, Ibadan.
The panel discussed the possibility of having an egalitarian society and the role of arts in giving women voices. They admitted that it is not possible to have an egalitarian society, but that an equitable society is possible when men and women know and appreciate their differences and work towards complementing themselves.
On the theme of the IWD, the panelists argued that women have a long way to go in breaking the bias and borders the society has placed on them. They agreed that the government and every individual have a significant role to play in making sure that women are properly represented in leadership and in political engagements. They urged women to support and encourage themselves to greatness and to achieve anything they lay their hands on.
The book presentation was done by the author’s publisher, Servio Gbadamosi. Speaking on the title of the book, I have noted that there is nobody that is not connected to a woman. I have expressed joy that the book is launched on women’s day because many of the poems explore issues that are pertinent to not just women but also to humans in a global community.
Gbadamosi read one of the poems in the collection titled ‘Of shame and silence’ to illustrate his point of how the poems are germane to women.
“I and every member of the team that have put this book together have enjoyed working on it, but you are going to enjoy reading the poems even more,” he said. “The lines are going to stay with you after the first reading.”
The father of the day, the Baale of Oluyole, Chief Yemi Ogunyemi, commended Odebode for her work and for her writing talent and recommended the book to everyone. He has advised the younger generation to build in what they find passion in.
Oyo State’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Seun Fakorede, congratulated Odebode for publishing the books. I have stated that Odebode is one of the people that is adding value to the state and that the state is proud of her.
Speaking on the IWD, Fakorede noted that in today’s world what is required of women, ladies and girls is for them to step up and step out.
“Don’t let anyone anywhere tell you that you’re too young to do anything you have a passion for,” Fakorede said. “This generation is a generation of performance and results, and not a generation of how old you are or your years of experience.”
After the book was launched, Karimot Odebode read some poems from the collection. She gave reasons why a woman is considered to have many names. She added that the poems do not only speak about the oppressions and travails of women, but also about humanity, nationhood, beauty, courage, hope, love, among others.
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