Honorary Doctorate gown sure looks good on Kelani
It was before a large crowd that was attracted to the 15th convocation ceremony of Lead City University, Ibadan, Oyo State, amidst sustained applause, that the iconic filmmaker, Tunde Kelani was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).
The conferment ceremony took place on December 12, as part of the institution’s 15th convocation ceremony and Kelani whose professional signature has graced other film projects such as The Campus Queen, Maami, Arugba, Dazzling Mirage, Ayinla and Cordelia (recently completed and ready for release) would from now be rightly addressed as Dr. Tunde Kelani (Honoris Causa).
An elated Kelani who clearly earned the degree because of his immense contributions to the arts, cultural documentation and professional accomplishment as a filmmaker took to his social media handle after a lavish reception that was hosted in his honour to formally announce the conferment of the honorary degree on him.
The 74-year-old filmmaker who has in the last five decades dedicated himself to producing movies that promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage wrote: “I hereby thank my family and friends, associates, supporters, collaborators, benefactors and professional colleagues for being part of my journey. Your love, support and encouragement over the past few decades have finally paid off; I am grateful. God bless you all. Dr TK.”
Congratulatory messages have continue to greet the award of the degree to Kelani, an alumnus of the London Film School, who trained at then Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) and had a stint at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Filmmaker and Co-founder of the iREP International Film Festival Femi Odugbemi described the award to Kelani as ‘fitting’ and ‘honour well due’. He wrote on his Facebook timeline: “Celebrating honour is well due. Lead City University Ibadan conferred an honorary Doctorate degree on Africa’s peerless icon of cinema and culture Tunde Kelani. So fitting and delightful too. Congratulations Egbon Dr. TK.”
Foremost Production Designer, Pat Nebo, also congratulated the filmmaker who revealed that associating with writers and academics from the beginning of his career contributed in giving his works greater depth. Nebo wrote: “To the Dr. and maestro who revolutionised our modern art of cinema using only the power of our indigenous language and our collective cultural heritage against all form of foreign indoctrinations, I salute a giant amongst our icons.”
Born in Lagos but originally from Ogun State, Kelani, 74 and best known for expertly helming Tí Olúwa Nile, Ko s’egbe, O Leku, Thunderbolt, Saworoide, AgogoEewo, Narrow Path, and Abeni, Kelani worked extensively as a cinematographer during the celluloid era of the Nigerian film industry. The 16mm feature films he worked on include Anikura; Ogun Ajaye; Iya Ni Wura; Taxi Driver; Iwa and Fopomoyo.
Also best known for his love of adaptation of literary material into movies, most of Kelani’s works have followed that style of filmmaking. In fact some of Kelani’s most successful films such as
Koseegbe, Oleku, Thunderbolt (Magun), The White Handkerchief, The Narrow Path, Maami, Dazzling Mirage and recently Cordelia are literary adaptations.
Currently neck deep in the documentation of the heroes and legends of the Yoruba Travelling theatre, his interviews with heroes of the Yoruba travelling theatres including Chief (Mrs) Duro Ladipo aka Oya, and Kayode Olaiya aka Aderupoko can be found on his Youtube page and social media handles.
For Kelani, the award will only spur him on.
“I appreciate the award from a reputable Institution, Lead City University. I shall continue to do my best to justify this honour and the support of my colleagues, family, friends, benefactors and our audiences everywhere,” he said.
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