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Soyinka’s elder sister, Tinuola dies at 90

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Tinuola Aina, the older sister of Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, has died at the age of 90.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the funeral rites for Mrs. Tinuola Aina (nee Soyinka) who passed on November 7, 2023, will commence at 5 pm on Thursday, December 7 with a Service of Songs in Lagos.

According to a public statement by the family, the two-day rites will end on Friday, December 8 with a private interment in Lagos.

Born April 29, 1933, and named ‘Tinuola Aduke,’ she was the first of seven children of a school teacher, Mr. Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, and trader-homemaker, Mrs. Grace Eniola Soyinka (neé Harrison) at Ake Vicarage, Abeokuta.

Though born to a strict disciplinarian and deep Christian family, “Tinu” — as she was known in family circles — enjoyed a healthy, robust happy childhood along with her two immediate junior brothers, Wole and Femi. As time passed Yeside, Kayode and Folabo expanded the family.

Tinu started her education at the St Peter’s Primary School in the Vicarage, and later at Abeokuta Grammar School (AGS), Igbein.

After her secondary education at AGS,Tinu left for England to pursue her life-long ambition to be a nurse. She soon obtained her SRN, SEN and Queens Nurse at South Shield, and worked for a while in England before returning to Nigeria in 1959. She joined the then Western Region at the Psychiatrist Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta.

A couple of years later, she obtained her first and second degrees in Community Nursing respectively at McGill University Canada, and North Carolina University, USA. She continued working for the Western Region, first at Abeokuta, and later at Akure General Hospital.

In 1963, she got married to Dr. Kola Aina, and the couple was blessed with two children, Oluyomi and Adebiyi.

Mrs. T.A. Aina later joined the Federal Government service, working at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). She rose through the ranks and became the 

Nursing and Midwifery School at LUTH in 1986, a position he held until her retirement in 1993. Her stellar record bears witness to her commitment to the medical profession and her delight in training new generations of nurses.  Mrs. Aina retired into a new phase of professional life and community involvement.

Shortly after retirement, she took the initiative to start an Advisory Clinic at her church, The Christ King’s Church, which she ran with two other retired nurses and church members, Mrs. Ajetumobi, and Mrs. Olubi; both preceded her in death. Although located on the church premises, the Clinic is open to all members of the community irrespective of faith or creed and is completely free. Even though becoming frail, she regularly attended the clinic until early this year.

Mrs Aina also developed new interests such as adire (tie–dye), and beading, past times she taught any interested youngster.  She loved having the neighbourhood children around, instilling in them the values of education and the discipline with which she grew up.  She encouraged them to learn a trade and was a passionate advocate of financial independence for girls. She sponsored a number of neighbourhood children through primary school and vocational training. Mrs. Aina was the beloved Grandma of Gbagada.

Matriarch of the Soyinka and Kuti families, “Tinu” was a caring, loving and devoted mother, sister, aunt and cousin. She kept the family united and left behind a strong, happy legacy.

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