Ajala: Story of a Nigerian that travelled “around the world ” on a motor scooter

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Nigerian student Moshood Adisa Olabisi Ajala wearing an agbada and an Igbo Ozo cap, sits astride the motor scooter on which he is making a round-the-world trip, in Berlin, Germany.

Nigerian student Mashaod Asala, wearing an agbada and an Igbo Ozo cap, sits astride the motor scooter on which he is making a round-the-world trip, in Berlin, Germany, 12th August 1957. Asala’s trip is set to take him through Poland to Moscow and onto Beijing, with the countries visited written on the scooter’s bodywork. (Photo by Daily Express/Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Ajala’s trip is set to take him through Poland to Moscow and onto Beijing, with the countries visited written on the scooter’s bodywork.

At the time this photo was taken, Olabisi Ajala was 28 years old, as a student in the US, he battled with depression and attempted suicide twice, but took fate into his own hands. Ajala lived his life on the edge.

He was a journalist, travel writer, actor, and later Lagos socialite. He is famous for being a globe-trotter, with escapades in Israel, Egypt, Palestine, India, the United States, and elsewhere. His only published book, which covered his travel adventures, was titled An African Abroad published in 1963.

On April 27, 1957, Àjàlá began a trip “around the world” from London. These would form the basis for his 1963 biography called “An African Abroad”, with an introduction by Tom Mboya. He planned to visit forty countries.

Àjàlá had visited India, the Soviet Union, Iran, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, and finally, Australia. He travelled round all of them on his Vespa scooter, which had famous autographs of the famous people he had met. On his journey around the world, he met many more, among whom were Jawaharlal Nehru, Golda Meir, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Gamal Abdel Nasser, The Shah of Iran, and Nikita Khrushchev. He also visited Poland, Germany, Prague, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Rumani, Hungary, and Turkey

While living in Lagos, Àjàlá suffered a stroke in the early days of 1999around and did not receive adequate care.

He died on February 2, 1999.

Date: 12th August 1957

*Credit (minus headline): ASIRIMagazine

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