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Duro Ladipo: Remembering an iconic playwright, forty-one years after


Duro Ladipo

When Duro Ladipo established the popular Mbari Mbayo Club, as a melting pot of culture in the 60s, little did he know that he was instituting a legacy to inspire and nurture finest contemporary renowned African artists such as Chief Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale (Twins Seven-Seven), Chief Muraina Oyelami, Chief Jimoh Buraimoh, Ademola Onibonokuta, and a host of others.

In commemorating the forty-one years of the drama icon this year, both the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU) Abere, Osun State and the Duro Ladipo’s family is organising a series of events.

Some of the highlights of this year’s programmes include Inter-Secondary Schools Drama Competition, Award of Prizes to Best Graduating Students in Theatre Art/Drama at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, University of Ibadan, Lagos State University, University of Lagos and Redeemer’s University, Ede.


Similarly, a memorial lecture will take place at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding on the March 11. This lecture will be delivered by a renowned Professor of Theatre Art and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Duro Oni.

Born in 1931and brought up in a Christian family, Duro Ladipo developed passion for Yoruba tradition and cultural values at a very tender age. In spite of his father’s condemnation of the Yoruba traditional values, Duro Ladipo succeeded in fusing Yoruba culture with the Christian culture.

Throughout his lifetime, he remained one of the greatest playwrights, dramatists and composers of his generation. As a cultural symbol and personification of Yoruba culture and tradition, Ladipo used his theatre group to reevaluate the significant of the Yoruba traditions and culture.

His major movies, Ajagun Nla, Oba Koso, Oba Moro and Oba Waja among others reinforced our understanding of the Yoruba worldview through innovative folk dramas that encompassed ritual poetry and traditional rhythms, performed on local materials.

According to some stakeholders in the art community, immortalizing Duro Ladipo for is outstanding contributions to the development of theater art in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

In celebration of his forty years of passage in 2018, the family of the late drama icon under the matriarch, Chief Mrs. Abiodun Duro Ladipo, popularly referred to as ‘Moremi’ and the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Abere, Osun State, jointly organized a week long eventful programme.

This is in line with the mandate of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, to recover, protect and promote both tangible and intangible culture of the Yoruba and the entire black race.

Hence, the Board of Trustees of the Centre, under the leadership of Prince Dr. Olagunsoye Oyinlola agreed to partner with the Duro Ladipo’s family in ensuring that his legacies and memories are preserved for future generations.

During the week-long programmes, the Centre also organized a colloquium, titled: 40 Years After: The Reflections on the Enduring Legacies of Duro Ladipo. At the colloquium, a number of scholars reflected on some of the legacies of Duro Ladipo, his contributions to theatre art, and the challenges facing the Yoruba movies industry today.

Some of the important dignitaries at the colloquium include, Prince Dr. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Alhaji Kazeem Adio, Chief Jimoh Buraimoh, Professor Ahmed Yeri, Dr. Senayon Olaoluwa, cultural enthusiasts and the family of the playwright.

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