30 August 2023

Gboyega Odubanjo: police appeal over acclaimed poet missing since music festival

30 August 2023

Police have appealed for help to find an “acclaimed” 27-year-old poet who went missing after a festival.

Gboyega Odubanjo, from Bromley, London, was last seen around Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire at 4am on August 26 after previously attending the Shambala music festival, police have said.

Northamptonshire Police said he was last seen wearing a beige/cream bucket hat, a red and white striped gilet with black clothing underneath, black trousers and dark-coloured shoes.

Mr Odubanjo is 5ft 6in tall, with short black dreadlocks, a full-face beard, and wears glasses.

In a statement, his family said: “Gboyega is a loving and caring son who means the world to our family.

“He is currently studying for his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire; He has a warm and infectious personality, a contagious smile, and a heart full of kindness.

“We believe that Gboyega’s disappearance is entirely out of character for him, and we are genuinely worried for his safety and wellbeing.

“We are reaching out to the community, friends, and all compassionate individuals who may have any information that could lead to his safe return.

“No piece of information is too small, and your help could be the key to bringing him back to us.”

Mr Odubanjo’s best friend, Tice Cin, described him as an “acclaimed poet” and “highly anticipated novelist”.

“My best friend Gboyega Odubanjo, light of my life and acclaimed poet, highly anticipated novelist, the best son and brother,” she said.

“We need help bringing him home, nobody deserves to go missing in a society with all the resources to find our loved ones.

“In a society that is structurally unequal when it comes to missing black people (black people account for 14% of missing people in England and Wales, four times the relative population of black people in England), we need to work tirelessly to find Gboyega.

“Help us to find this brilliant kind man, the type of man who you can ring at 3am when your back is hurting, and you can’t sleep.”

The 27-year-old’s work has appeared in the Guardian, The Poetry Review and New Statesman.

Northamptonshire Police are encouraging anyone with information about Mr Odubanjo’s location to contact them “immediately” at 999 or 101, quoting the reference number MPD1/2619/23 when providing information.

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