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5.2g Excerpt from letter from Dr. E.B. Bolaji, 15 March 1989. Sent from Ilorin

Transcribed by Ann O’Hear from Dr. Bolaji’s handwritten letter in April 2020

“My problems were many, including (1) Unsatisfactory information from a lot of old people who were expected to have some knowledge of Ilorin oral history. (2) The problem of finding people old enough to be able to discuss the slave trade in Ilorin with an appreciable degree of accuracy. (3) Discarding a lot of material after conducting interviews on conviction that very little information was contained in them, etc, etc.

As at now, I still have one or two items not fully completed. One deals with women and family oriki, the other is on proverbs relating to slaves etc in Ilorin. It is amazing how very little one may learn from modern Ilorin on proverbs relating to slavery, ará oko etc, but I hope I will finally succeed in getting a few that will be worth all the effort. Most of the time, it is the same proverb repeated from person to person. As soon as I feel some personal satisfaction over the materials collected, I will send them to you. In the meantime, I hope you will get some useful information from the main questionnaires which are enclosed.

One of the problems you will have to solve is reconciling answers that are miles apart on the same question. There were times when I felt that glib, assertive answers would need to be taken with a pinch of salt. I expect you will separate the grains from the chaff.”

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