The first female Ph.D holder in philosophy, Sophie Oluwole has died at age 83.
Professor Sophie is popularly known as Mamalawo, a name supposed to be the female version of the Yoruba word ‘Babalawo’ – a spiritual title which denotes a priest of the Ifa Oracle.
Born in Igbara-oke, Ondo State, in 1936, Professor Sophie had her early education in Ife. She studied History, Geography and Philosophy at the University of Lagos and eventually settled on philosophy.
In 1972, she was employed in UNILAG for a time as an assistant lecturer. She later went on to complete her PhD in philosophy at the University of Ibadan, becoming the first female doctorate degree holder in philosophy in Nigeria.
As a qualified professor, Professor Sophie taught African Philosophy at UNILAG for six years between 2002 and 2008.
She was a practitioner of Yoruba philosophy. Her teachings and works are generally attributed to the Yoruba school of philosophical thought, which was established in the cultural and religious beliefs (Ifá) of the various regions of Yorubaland.
She was vocal about the role of women in philosophy and the unequal representation of African thinkers in education.