< Back
3.1 Introduction to the interviews conducted in Ilorin in 1975 by Otolorin Adesiyun as part of a project organised by Professor Paul E. Lovejoy in collaboration with Professor Jan Hogendorn. This introduction includes background information on the project, plus essential copyright/citation information.

     In 1975, Professor Paul E. Lovejoy was teaching at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. In collaboration with Professor Jan Hogendorn, he organised a large-scale project to record oral interviews on historical topics. His student research assistants conducted multiple interviews in many parts of northern Nigeria, covering many aspects of economic and social history. Professor Lovejoy trained the student assistants and provided questionnaires to be used as a guide in structuring the interviews. He also visited the assistants in the field, to follow up the training, and he accompanied each one on at least one interview session. Otolorin Adesiyun was Professor Lovejoy’s research assistant in Ilorin. The 1975 interviews conducted in Ilorin were recorded on cassettes and in summary translations by Otolorin Adesiyun. The summary translations are titled the “Oral Data Index.”  The interviews were conducted mostly with elderly weavers in Ilorin. They ranged over a number of topics, with questions in particular relating to cloth production and trade, in which slaves had been extensively used. Professor Lovejoy explains that “because slavery was recognised as being far more important than previously thought in the historical work that had been done across all of northern Nigeria, [researching] the role of slaves in different sectors of the economy and society would be a useful way of uncovering new information” (personal communication). Both the Oral Data Index and the fuller re-translations of six of the interviews, which were made later, using the cassettes, are reproduced here in their entirety.

     I thank Professor Lovejoy not only for encouraging me to study slavery in Ilorin, but also for providing me with copies of the summary interview transcripts in the “Oral Data Index.” This was the first series of interviews containing a substantial amount of material on slavery in Ilorin that I was able to access, and it became a major influence on the direction of my future research.

     Included in the present collection are the following: 3.1 (this file), containing introductory information plus copyright/citation information;  3.2, containing the summary translations of the interviews recorded in the Oral Data Index, by kind permission of Paul E. Lovejoy; and 3.3, containing the re-translations of the cassette tapes of six of the 1975 interviews, organised by myself (Ann O’Hear) and made by my research assistants, Suleiman Ajao (1 interview) and Busayo Simeon (5 interviews) in consultation with me. The re-translations are fuller than the summaries provided in the Oral Data Index.

     For a detailed note on the Oral Data Index, please see 3.2.

Note on my research assistants: Suleiman Ajao and Busayo Simeon also assisted me in other research activities (see later sections of this catalogue). Suleiman Ajao, a resident of Okelele area of Ilorin Town, was at the time of my research activities a junior member of staff at Kwara State College of Technology. I found him to be a good linguist with an engaging personality. I trained him in interviewing, and I employed him both to translate for me and also to conduct interviews when I was not available to do so.  Busayo Joseph Simeon attended Kwara State College of Technology and graduated from the University of Ilorin. He is a native of northeast Yorubaland but has spent much of his life in Ilorin; he was particularly helpful in the re-translation of several of the 1975 interviews.


Note on citations:

     All interviews conducted in Ilorin in 1975 by Otolorin Adesiyun (including the re-translations made in 1981 at Ann O’Hear’s request) should be cited thus: “Interview by O. Adesiyun with [full details of interviewee] (The series of interviews conducted by O. Adesiyun in 1975 was organised by Paul E. Lovejoy, and the results deposited in the Lovejoy Collection, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, and in the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University, Toronto, Canada).”

Citations of the re-translations of  these interviews should also include the name of the re-translator and the date of the re-translation.

    The re-translations of interviews included here in the Dr. Ann O’Hear Archive are also to be found in digitised form in the “Additions to the Lovejoy-Adesiyun Collection” by Ann O’Hear Ann O’Hear), on deposit in the Harriet Tubman Institute Digital Archive, York University, Toronto, Canada. Readers citing the digitised versions should include full details of the interviews and follow the citation instructions given in the “Additions.” Canadian fair use rules apply to the “Additions to the Lovejoy-Adesiyun Collection,” Harriet Tubman Institute Digital Archive.