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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hubert Ogunde

By morayooshodi on Tue, 12/11/2013 - 02:23

Oloye Hubert Adedeji Ogunde was a Nigerian actor, playwright, theatre manager, and musician. Described as "the father of Nigerian theatre or the father of contemporary Yoruba theatre," his theatre company the Ogunde Concert Party, which he founded in 1945, was Nigeria’s first professional theatrical company. The Ogunde Concert Party travelled around Nigeria, West Africa, and the rest of the world performing plays such as Garden of EdenTaiwo and KehindeAdukeStrike and HungerHerbert MacauleySlaveryPolice Brutality and Princess Jaja which celebrated the richness of the country’s indigenous cultures while also shedding light on the ills plaguing its government and society. Check out 10 fascinating facts about the theatre legend after the jump:

  • He is considered by many to be the forefather of Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry
  • He married 12 wives, some of whom were trained by his theatre company
  • His company performed at Expo '67, Canada's first world's fair which marked the country's centennial
  • In 1950, his company was fined £6 for putting up posters advertising the play Bread and Bullet in Kano – they wereaccused of importing inflammatory values into a conservative region
  • Throughout his lifetime, none of his productions was ever recorded on video cassettes for sale
  • His greatest regret – which he expressed on his death bed – was how unfortunate it was that his health was failing at a time when video cassettes and compact discs were taking off, as he recognised how much of an impact they would have on the film industry
  • He had a very sweet tooth
  • He was warned once while at church that one of his wives was going to be struck with a mysterious illness and that he should look for the cause within his household. This happened when she was to play the role of Princess Jaja in the play of the same name at Glover Hall, Lagos in 1954. Fans – who were already seated – were told the play had been cancelled because of her sickness and had their money refunded
  • He starred in Mister Johnson (1990), a film which also featured James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, and which was shot on location in Jos, Plateau State
  • He sent members of his troupe to London to learn tap dancing when it began to rise in popularity, and they returned to teach it to other Nigerian performers

Watch a 15 documentary on Ogunde's life and work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXXeEBr8QQM To learn more about Hubert Ogunde, check out our Discover Nigeria article on him here. Also browse the People Sectionto discover more Nigerian heroes. [Tweet "10 Things You Didn't Know About Nigerian Theatre Legend Hubert Ogunde"] Sources:

 

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