Slugging towards the looming horizons – the promised dwelling places for those who did not waver. The whole world was about being either right or wrong. I was either lost or found. That was many years ago though. Today, when I meet people, I recognize how utterly beyond right and wrong they are – how their lives are symphonies beyond orchestration, how their mistakes and failings are actually cosmic explorations on a scale grander and of a texture softer than our most dedicated rule-books could possibly account for. You see, something happened on my way – and I lost my coordinates, my map, my directives. Now the whole journey is the destination – and each point, each barren point, just as noble as the final dot. Every splotch of ink is become to me a fresco of wisdom, a beehive of honey, a lovely place – and every aching voice a heavenly choir. The world is no longer desolate and empty and exclusive; she is now a wispy spirit, whose fingers flirt through the wind – a million roads where only one once lay. And I need not be certain about the road travelled – since I arrived the self-same moment I set out.
Bayo Akomolafe is the grateful life-partner to ‘EJ’, father to Alethea Aanya and Kyah Jayden Abayomi, son of Olufunmilayo Ibidapo Akomolafe and Ignatius Abayomi Akomolafe, and descendant of Yoruba fields of archetypal becomings and mythopoeic landscapes. He is an author, celebrated speaker, teacher, and self-styled trans-public intellectual (a concept imagined together with and inspired by the shamanic priesthood of the Yoruba healer-trickster)- whose vocation goes beyond justice and speaking truth to power to opening up other spaces of power-with, and queering fond formulations and configurations of hope.
Bayo was born in 1983 into a Christian home, and to Yoruba parents in western Nigeria. Soon after he was born, his family emigrated to Bonn, Germany with his father on his first diplomatic assignment. This - Bayo’s first trip - would foreshadow a life of travel (both literally and figuratively) to come. Losing his diplomat father to a sudden heart complication in Kinshasa, Zaire, Bayo became a reclusive teenager, seeking to get to the “heart of the matter” as a response to his painful loss. After meeting with traditional healers as part of his quest to understand trauma, mental wellbeing and healing in new ways, his deep questions and concerns for decolonized landscapes congealed into a life devoted to exploring the nuances of a “magical” world “too promiscuous to fit neatly into our fondest notions of it.”
Now living between India and the United States, Bayo is a father of Alethea Aanya and Kyah Jayden Abayomi. He is married to EJ, his dear life-partner of Indian descent.
In 2014, Bayo Akomolafe (Ph.D.) was invited to be the Special Envoy of the International Alliance for Localization, a project of Ancient Futures (USA). He left his lecturing position in Covenant University, Nigeria to help build this Alliance. Bayo has been Visiting Professor at Middlebury College, has taught at Sonoma State University (CA, USA), Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada), and Schumacher College (Totnes, England) – among other universities around the world. He currently lectures at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California and University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont. He is also Professor of Practice at Middlebury College - along with Ej - where he has been specially invited to create a decoloniality project and teach on his concepts of nomadic raciality and blackness-as-excess (or becoming-black). He sits on the Board of many organizations including Science and Non-Duality, Unashay Sanctuary, and more.
The convener of the concepts of ‘postactivism’, ‘transraciality’ and ‘ontofugitivity’, Dr. Bayo Akomolafe is a widely celebrated international speaker, teacher, public intellectual, essayist and author of two books, These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home (North Atlantic Books) and We Will Tell our Own Story: The Lions of Africa Speak.
Dr. Bayo Akomolafe considers his most sacred work to be learning how to be with his daughter and son, Alethea Aanya and Kyah Jayden – and their mother, his wife and “life-nectar”, Ijeoma. “To learn the importance of insignificance” is the way he frames a desire to reacquaint himself with a world that is irretrievably entangled, preposterously alive and completely partial.
As Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Emergence Network and Chief Host of the widely popular online-offline course/festival series - We Will Dance with Mountains, Bayo curates an earth-wide project for the re-calibration of our ability to respond to civilizational crisis – a project framed within a material feminist/posthumanist/postactivist ethos and inspired by Yoruba indigenous cosmologies. He considers this a shared art – exploring the edges of the intelligible, dancing with posthumanist ideas, dabbling in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and the liberating sermon of an ecofeminism text, and talking with others about how to host a festival of radical silence on a street in London – and part of his inner struggle to regain a sense of rootedness to his community.
Bayo Akomolafe is a recipient of the 2021 New Thought Walden Award, meant to honor those who use empowering spiritual ideas and philosophies to change lives and make our planet a better place.
Bayo has given up his longing for the “end-time” and is learning to live in the “meantime”...in the middle, where we must live with confusion and make do with partial answers. His greatest vocation is however learning to be a satellite orbiting his greatest gift, his goddess Ijeoma, and knowing the blessings of her gravity - as well as co-researching into magic and the utter unspeakability of the world in its ongoingness along with his children. He speaks and teaches about his experiences around the world, and then returns to his adopted home in Chennai, India – “where the occasional whiff of cow dung dancing in the air is another invitation to explore the vitality of a world that is never still and always surprising.”