Wole Ojo recreates Wole Soyinka in film’s adaptation of The Man Died



Prof. Wole Soyinka’s prison memoir has gone on stage. The cast is a collage of method actors, who can interprete roles with clinical fidelity, and they include, aside Wole Ojo, who plays the role of Soyinka: Chidi Mokeme, Sam Dede, Segilola Ogidan, Norbert Young, Edmund Enabe, Francis Onwochei, Christiana Oshunniyi, Simileoluwa Hassan and Abraham Amkpa.

Wole Ojo, a renowned Nollywood actor popular for his captivating performances, has been chosen to embody the iconic Wole Soyinka in this highly anticipated film adaptation.

Awam Amkpa, the film’s director, a respected playwright and professor of drama, film, and social and cultural analysis at New York University in Abu Dhabi, is in charge of bringing this iconic piece to life.

The film was written by Bode Asiyanbu and produced by Femi Odugbemi and is set for release on Soyinka’s 90th birthday in July 2024.

The Man Died marks the fifth time a literary work by Soyinka has been adapted for the big screen. This rich history includes the 2002 release of Elesin Oba, an adaptation of the play Death and The King’s Horseman, which starred Odunlade Adekola.

The first literary piece by Prof. Soyinka to be adapted for television is Kongi’s Harvest. Directed by Ossie Davis, it is a 1970s Nigerian drama film adapted from Soyinka’s 1965 play of the same name. Soyinka also starred in the leading role as the dictator of an African nation.

The novel, which was adapted for film is one of the most popular by the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. The Man Died, a prison memoir gives a detailed account of what Wole Soyinka went through when he was detained by the Yakubu Gowon military government during the civil war.

He wrote a good deal of Poems from Prison while he was jailed in 1967–69 for speaking out against the war brought on by the attempted secession of Biafra from Nigeria. The Man Died (1972) is his prose account of his arrest and 22-month imprisonment.

It’s one of the most gripping account of abuse of power inherent in dictatorship similar to Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag archipelago.

Soyinka sometimes writes of modern West Africa in a satirical style, but his serious intent and his belief in the evils inherent in the exercise of power are usually evident in his work as well.

In many of his works, Western elements are skillfully fused with subject matter and dramatic techniques deeply rooted in Yoruba folklore and religion. Symbolism, flashback, and ingenious plotting contribute to a rich dramatic structure. His best works exhibit humour and fine poetic style as well as a gift for irony and satire and for accurately matching the language of his complex characters to their social position and moral qualities. His verse is characterized by a precise command of language and a mastery of lyric, dramatic, and meditative poetic forms.

The Man Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria on July 13, 1934. He attended Government College and University College in Ibadan before receiving a degree in English from the University of Leeds in England in 1958. He has held research and teaching appointments at several universities including the University of Ibadan, the University of Ife, Cornell University, Emory University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Loyola Marymount. He is a distinguished playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, social critic, political activist, and literary scholar. His plays include The Swamp Dwellers, The Lion and the Jewel, A Dance of the Forests, The Bacchae of Euripides, A Play for Giants, Death and the King’s Horsemen, From Zia with Love, The Beatification of Area Boy, and King Baabu. His collections of poetry include Idanre and Other Poems, A Shuttle in the Crypt, and Mandela’s Earth and Other Poems. His novels include The Interpreters, which won the 1968 Jock Campbell Literary Award, and Season of Anomy. His autobiographical works include Ake: The Years of Childhood, Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Memoir of the Nigerian Crisis, and You Must Set Forth at Dawn. His literary essays collections include Myth, Literature and the African World and Art, Dialogue and Outrage.

During the civil war in Nigeria, he appealed for cease-fire in an article. Accused of treason, he was held in solitary confinement for 22 months. Two of his works, The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka and Poems from Prison, were secretly written on toilet paper and smuggled out of prison. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

Nollywood output (Q1, 2024)

In the same vein, Nollywood has produced 274 films in Q1 2024


As indicated in the current report, films in English constitute the chunk of the films produced during the period under review.

According to The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) it received and classified 274 movies produced by the Nigerian film industry in the first quarter of the year.

The Executive Director/CEO of the board, Shaibu Husseini, made this known in a statement in Abuja recently.

The NFVCB boss said the figure was provided by the Department of Film Censorship and Classification of the board in its first quarter report, capturing all genres of films approved by the board.

The report is for onward submission to the relevant federal government agency as input for the compilation of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter ( Q1 2024).

About 250 films out of the numbers verified and approved were produced in English, while others include films in Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and Hindi languages.

According to the report, classification by viewing audience indicates that films classified ‘18’, meant for the matured audience, constitute over 50 per cent of the total films produced.



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