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What would you do to save your mother tongue from going extinct? Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún is one of the very few Nigerians who have positive answers to such questions. And I made sure to spell his name correct; just the way it should be in Yorùbá. Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún is a Nigerian linguist, teacher and writer, and is the recipient of the Premio Ostana International Award for Mother Tongue Literature, 2016. He is the first African Author to receive this award. This ceremony organized by the Culture of the Chambra D’Oc in Italy is in its eight edition and will be held from June 2 to June 5, 2016. At work or free time, Kọ́lá is given to Yorùbá; collating data on it for the internet. One of his major and ongoing projects is to make Twitter available in Yoruba, a project he began in 2012. But Twitter is not the only website on Kọ́lá’s list; he continues to create awareness on Yorùbá as he translates on several internet portals. He has also founded the, an online dictionary, which was conceived in 2005 whilst studying Linguistics at the University of Ibadan still as an undergraduate, would have all the Yoruba names on it. In October 2015, he was appointed as Speech Linguistic Project Manager at Google with the responsibility of assisting in gathering a number of language-related goals on the continent. Apart from the internet, Kọ́lá has is experienced as a teacher, writer, editor and blogger. His career dates back to teaching. He has taught at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a Fulbright Scholar in 2009, at the International Institute of St. Louis, Missouri in 2011, and at Whitesands School, Lagos, Nigeria. As a writer, he has published online and in print, fiction, non-fiction, poems and translations. He has also been published in various platforms including Sentinel Poetry Quarterly, Sentinel Nigeria, Klorofyl, Saraba Magazine, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Subjective Substance, Farafina, 234Next, International Literary Quarterly, The Moth, The Alestle (SIUE), College of Arts and Science publication (CAS), Eye Socket Journal, Ake Review,, Guardian UK, and recently, the NTLitMag and the Ake Review. Currently, his blog consists of 47 publications, besides interviews and awards. Prior to the most recent Premio Ostana Award, Kọ́lá was Finalist at the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the Year (2015) and is on the 100 Nigeria’s Most Innovative Persons in Technology 2015 (YNaija). He lives in Lagos with his wife and son, and blogs on, his travel blog.

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This article was first published on 8th February 2016


Nnenna is an editor and writer at Connect Nigeria. She loves fine art, books and places.

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