Africa’s most legendary traveller.
Moshood Adisa Olabisi Ajala popularly known in Nigeria and across the globe as Ajala the traveler was the man who toured the United States of America on a bicycle, and the world, on a motor scooter better known as Vespa.
The name, Olabisi Ajala doesn’t really rings a bell to the younger generation of Nigerians, but the older generation would certainly know all about Ajala. A man of many parts who created fame for himself through his workaholic achievements in the world we live. Ajala, who supposedly went to 87 countries in 6 years and mostly, on his bicycle.
Moshood Adisa Olabisi Ajala was born in Ghana into a Nigerian polygamous family of thirty. He was one of the twenty-five children produced by his father and his four wives. His father was a traditionalist.
Shortly after Ajala’s birth, his family moved down to Nigeria where he schooled in Baptist Academy, Lagos and Ibadan Boys’ High School. At the age of 18, Ajala went to America to further his studies where he was admitted into the University of Chicago. He started his travels in the 50s.
He was a renowned globe-trotter, socialite and free-lance journalist, described in many Nigerian songs as Africa’s greatest traveller. He put his nation, Nigeria, on the world map because of his drive to explore the unexplored and chart the uncharted.
He studied as a pre-medical student. His initial dream was to become a Medical Doctor and return to Nigeria to disparage the practice of voodoo and the people’s belief in superstitions but Ajala’s lifetime dream changed along the course of his life where he found something more interesting to him than donning lab coats and using stethoscope.
Ajala came in to the spotlight in 1952 when he went on a lecture tour across the United States of America on a bicycle covering a total of 2,280 miles. Throughout the lecture tour, Ajala dressed in the traditional attires of Nigeria, one of which was described as elaborately flowered robes with a felt-like head-dress to match.
He did this in a bid to enhance the purpose of his lecture tour which was to educate Americans about the progress of his country, Nigeria and Africa in general. He wanted to enlighten them that contrary to the popular belief held in America, Africans don’t walk about naked or covered in leaves and loin-clothes.
The news of Ajala’s bicycle tour spread across the US like wildfire and quickly made it to the dailies and television. He was described as an attractive and charismatic black man who held a degree in psychology from Columbia University and was an expert in Ethnology.
He appeared on TV wearing traditional Nigerian clothes and he managed to transform every night on the show into a celebration of his ethnic and cultural heritage. What a good heritage to tap from the life of the legend!
Ajala’s fame also landed him his big movie roles. After his bicycle tour across the US, he got his first role of ($300) per week in the movie White Witch Doctor produced by the popular 20th Century Fox Motion Picture. He played the supportive role of Ola, a companion of Loni, a famous African hunter played by Robert Mitchum. In August, 1955, he signed a movie contract with the Eagle Lion Studios of Hollywood which involved making movies with European and African backgrounds.
Ajala did not limit his tour to the USA; he visited a total of 87 countries with his scooter in 6 years. He visited countries such as Israel, Australia, India, Iran, Russia, Ghana, Cyprus, and Egypt and so on where he met with some of the greatest leaders in the world.
Ajala’s travels got him to wine and dine with heads of states and leaders, including the former Nigerian Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Late Greek President amongst others.
Way back then in 1972, Legendary Nigerian music wizard, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey even composed a song in the hero’s honour to immortalize him, with part of the lyrics saying:
“Ajala travels all over the world! (2ce),
Ajala travels (2ce),
Ajala travels all over the world!”
He was known as a man of many women. His marital life featured different women from different parts of the world. In 1953, a Chicago nurse named Myrtie Basset filed a paternity suit against the legend for denying being the father of their son who she claimed Ajala himself named Oladipupo and also signed his birth certificate.
Despite the lawsuit, Ajala held firmly to his ground denying being the father of the boy. He proposed a DNA test but the nurse was reluctant at first and when she eventually agreed to surrender the baby for the test, Ajala disappeared into the thin air which made the court ruled against him.
In March, 1953, a domestic court mandated Ajala to pay $10 per week for the upkeep of Oladipupo, also named Andre. That year, things did not go down well for Ajala. In March, 1953 he was arrested on the charges of forgery, grand theft and worthiness check by the police of Beverly Hills, California.
Ajala pleaded not guilty to the charges and he claimed he was duped by one Arnold Weiner who was an ex-Bank Accountant. Arnold Weiner in turn defended himself; he admitted showing Ajala how to write cheques but claimed he didn’t dupe him. However, Ajala was sentenced to one year jail term and later deported from America.
Ajala’s deportation was not solely because of the forgery charges levelled against him but also because he had failed to keep up with his studies at the Santa Monica Junior College, thus invalidating his visa, Ajala resisted deportation and protested because, according to American authorities, he feared tribal execution.
The authorities said Ajala was scared of being killed by his father if he was deported back to Nigeria which led to his protest. He had climbed an 80-foot Radio Tower where he screamed that he would rather leap of his death than be deported. He protested on the tower for about 24 hours turning deaf ears to the pleas of the immigration authorities.
Ajala eventually jumped down from a height of 15-feet but was lucky to have sustained a sprained back. The authorities also said Ajala, after the tower protest, embarked on hunger strike which Ajala debunked. He claimed he was only observing the 30-day Ramadan fasting.
However, Ajala was flown to London instead of Nigeria. He had previously requested to be flown to Canada but his request was tuned down because Canada refused to approve his application.
By December, 1954, Ajala returned to America with his wife, Hermine Aileen who later divorced him in August, 1955 on the charges that he was being adulterous. In December, 1955, Ajala married a 19-year-old white London Radio-TV actress, Joan Simmons.
Olabisi Ajala got married to an Australian wife, who gave him four children and based in Australia. Like his travels, Ajala’s offspring scattered all over the world. He also has two children in the United States of America and one also in England. A legend was gone, and not honoured.
In 1999, he died in his residence, a rented apartment and his grave in Central Lagos which is not different from any other human beings. Although it looks like Ajala had gone and already long forgotten, but thanks to his travels, his foot prints are still indelible on the sands of time.
Ajala who was the son of a traditionalist rose to a global celebrity and his name became a song sang on every lip. During his lifetime, Ajala was envied and praised by both the young and old for his courage, determination and success. What a great exit of a colossus and cynosure of all eyes!
Moshood Adisa Olabisi Ajala, the popular Nigerian traveller who toured the world on a Vespa. Adieu!
Written by: Teslim Opemipo Omipidan
THE VOICE NIGERIA HONOURS LATE SOUND SULTAN AS RACE FOR N10M, OTHER PRIZES ENTERS FINAL STAGE
…As six vocalists battle for a chance to make the last four on The Voice Nigeria Season 3. Late legendary Nigerian rapper, singer and lyricist, Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi popularly called Sound Sultan who passed on July 11 was honoured with a medley performance of his songs by the celebrity coaches and their talents as a glowing tribute in recognition and celebration of his contribution to the music industry.
Sound Sultan, a highly influential but jovial and unassuming singer is renowned to have mentored many award-winning musicians and wrote many hit songs.
The grand finale of the Voice Nigeria Season 3 is billed for this weekend, with the top six talents seeking viewers and fans’ votes to win the N10m grand prize and other mouth-watering gifts.
Meanwhile, Episode 17 saw great vocalists Anu and Nuel Ayo exit the show while Naomi Mac, Esther, Dapo, Kitay, Kpee and Eazzie continued the race as the last six out of the 25 talents who scaled the
Auditions and started the contest.
Kitay in Team Yemi-Alade, Dapo and Naomi Mac in Team Falz, Eazzie in Team Waje with Esther and Kpee in Team Dare all survived by numerous votes from their fans.
The race to the finals of the Voice Nigeria season 3 continues to heat up as the six finalists gun for the N10 million cash, a car, and a record deal with Universal Music Nigeria.
During Episode 17 last weekend, the last six vocalists performed various songs and are hoping with their powerful performances to get maximum votes from fans for a chance to remain in the
Esther opened the weekly show with a beautiful performance of Beyonce’s Love on Top, then Dapo with Michael Bolton’s When A Man Loves A Woman, followed by Kitay with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.
Naomi Mac sang Brenda Fassie’s Vuli Ndlela, Kpee with Fireboy’s Vibration while a very emotional Eazzie closed out with I’m Not Telling You by Jennifer Holiday before Host, Nancy Isime announced that Season 4 will be coming soon.
Episode 18 which comes up this weekend will have only four talents perform and fight for the grand prize via the highest viewers votes while the two talents with the least votes are dropped.
To keep their favourite vocalists on the show, viewers have to dial *894*7*talent’s code#.
The voting code of your preferred contestant to win the competition is in the embedded Instagram post below:
Voting, which opened on Saturday at 9:00 pm, closes at 11:59 pm on Thursday (today).
For over three months, with an electrifying mix of pulsating musical performances, music training, glamorous fashion and awesome entertainment, The Voice Nigeria 3 continues to dazzle to the very grand finale.
UN1TY Limited and Livespot360, producers of the global talents reality series, also emphasised that public voting has become very crucial at this final stage to keep participants on the voice Nigeria season 3, as sponsored by FirstBank, Baba Ijebu and Airtel.
Scores of vocalists have performed on the highly competitive musical TV reality series but dropped out going through the Auditions, Blinds, Knockouts, Battles and Live Show stages.
Whoever emerges as the winner will automatically make his or her coach the winning coach of the season. Waje, who has been part of the show since its inception, won the inaugural season.
Apart from versatile singers including Darey, Yemi Alade, Waje and Falz who doubled as both celebrity coaches and judges, Nancy Isime and Toke Makinwa, co-hosts of the show have added great colour to the third season.
The first season of The Voice Nigeria was broadcast on Africa Magic from April 10 to July 31, 2016.
Agharese Emokpae popularly known as A’rese, a 28-year-old stage actress, won the first season while Daniel Diongoli, professionally known as Idyl, won season 2.
The music reality TV show is designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars.
Lead show sponsor, First Bank in a statement by its Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney, reiterated that The Voice Nigeria 3 is a Reality TV show designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars which aligns with First Bank’s commitment to providing a platform for nurturing
and showcasing talents and driving social cohesion.
The Financial giant added that its support for The Voice Nigeria 3 is a demonstration of First Bank’s commitment to contributing to the projected revenue of US$86m by 2021 from Nigeria’s music industry aimed at promoting a diversified economy in line with the Federal Government’s
For more details on the show, do visit the Bank’s official website https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/the-voice-nigeria/
Popular Gospel Singer, Kemi Adeyale To Hold 2-in- 1 Event
Evangelist Kemi Adeyale and her glorious voices is one of the very few Nigerian born gospel singers making strong waves in diaspora. The band is based in United state of America.
The sonorous voice singer who is also a professional caterer is ready to set the city of Annapolis agog with his two in one event
The event, according to the humble singer of God is the launching of her new album titled ‘His Praise’ and her annual praise concert.
The epoch making event would hold on September 19th at 13711 old, Annapolis road, Bowie MD 20729.
Kemi Adeyale has been in entertainment world over a decade with many albums to her credit.
She however, enjoined all her fans to come out enmass to celebrate her on this special day.
Entertainment Has Lost Mr Cool” Laface Laments Sound Sultan’s Demise
One of the architects of what is today known as the New Age Nigeria entertainment industry, Tunde Oshinibusi popularly known as Laface, has lamented the death recently, of Lanre Fasasi aka Sound Sultan.
In a tribute to Sultan, by Laface and made available to ThePageNews, Laface recounts his first meeting with the young, late talented singer,actor and Master Compere whom he described as a great asset to the industry.
Laface tribute is reproduced below unedited:
My first meeting with Lanre as I fondly call him was in the company of 2baba who had just left plantation boys with Faze and Black.
We met to discuss a planned gig, I took a special liking to the multi talented instrumentalist which was quiet strange considering the simplicity of 2baba himself,that initial meeting brought us closer over the years, so when the opportunity came to be a major part of history and rebirth of todays naija music scene, he could not be ignored and he indeed stood up to be counted in that defining moment, Lanre was one of the few artistes I called to have a one on one with Clef which was then a taboo in Nigeria,back then International artists were seen as demi-gods who there Nigerian counterparts must never be allowed to relate with,they were just in Nigeria to perform and go, I did the unthinkable I broke the jinx.
Lanres one on one with Clef became a major catalyst for today’s success story.
This benevolent act signalled the birth of a great friendship between Clef a chart busting American act and the then young Sound Sultan which I believe lasted until he passed on.
In Lanre at the time Clef saw greatness in its raw form and a unique penchant for creativity and I remember him saying Damm Laface u sure this kid is Nigerian,at the first ever showcase nite of Nigerian artistes for Clef, he was blown away by Lanres composition, delivery and of course his instrumental dexterity he went on to do a track and video with Sound Sultan 2baba Faze and Ara the first of its kind to date by an International artists on tour of Nigeria, Lanre can easily be referred to as a great pioneer for today’s music culture, knowing Lanre his kind soul and over a decade long friendship with Clef must have impacted on a lot of aspiring and younger artistes.
We LOVE you Lanre but the Almighty Allah knows best, to his amiable and loving family I say the almighty God will grant you the fortitude to bear his monumental loss as Naija mourns our own Mr Cool
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