A Tribute to Professor Tope Omoniyi By Goodith White

It is with great sadness that I pass on the news of ‘Tope’s death a couple of days ago from cancer. It is at present very unusual for an African to reach professorial status in a UK university, and it takes an individual of exceptional talents to do so. ‘Tope was gifted and creative, a poet as well as an academic, who was one of the first to consider the mobility of popular culture such as hip hop within global networks as an exciting sociolinguistic phenomenon and worthy of study. He was interested in language and identity, and we co-operated as editors on a 2008 book on this topic, in which he mentored and supported me, always enthusiastic and supportive. Family and roots meant a lot to him, and in his inaugural talk as Professor of Sociolinguistics at Roehampton University, he paid such warm tributes to his wife and children, and even beamed in his father in Nigeria on Skype to illustrate a linguistic point. He was an early member of the Language in Africa SIG, and slept on the founding convenor’s floor so he could support the first conference in Leeds. I only learnt of his very swift illness when I contacted him recently to ask if he would be our next convenor. We had a short conversation as he was very weak. His last word to me was ‘Hallelulah’. He will be very sorely missed by very many.Our thoughts go out to his wife and children.
Goodith

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