US-Based Nigerian Author Makes Case for Art Funding 

Yinka  Olatunbosun

A US-based author, Cash Onadele popularly known by the pen name Aye Kooto has urged the Lagos state government to consider giving incentives to the arts sector. He made this call during an interview session at the two-day workshop held at the Lagos Book and Art Festival 2023.

Inside Kongi’s Harvest, he had a great mentorship session with undergraduates of the University of Lagos and on the second day, pupils drawn from select public primary schools enjoyed a great time with the prolific author with 109 titles. Known by the pen name “Aiye-ko-ooto,” Onadele has been described as a philosopher, playwright and poet “Cash Onadele”. He blends original rain forest echoes of Yoruba indigenous heritage and cultural influences in his works.  Onadele has built the world’s largest library of individual poetry work produced by any single author.

At the 25th edition of LABAF, Onadele engaged the youths on the value of literature while unveiling an endowment for literature prize in Yoruba and English languages.

“I have done that in my alma mater which is Loyola College. Yesterday,November 13 I spent the entire day with undergraduates from the University of Lagos, Department of Creative Arts. I coached them on the art of writing short stories and novellas. I think it is right to give back,” he revealed.

Onadele added that one of his plays, Yellow Tulips, published in 2020 is set to be produced by the leadership of CORA. For him, it is gratifying to be accepted at home despite being away from the Nigerian shores.

“I am discussing the possibility of weekend masterclasses in Nigeria in the new year,” he continued. “We need to harmonise the relationship with the university that is interested in a university that has a masters programme in creative art and also vetting the curriculum as well as additional faculty. There will be a business element. I could teach the technical part while others can teach how you market your books in Nigeria. I won’t be a specialist in that. But initially, we can start with the technical part.”

Onadele considered it imperative to rekindle interest in theatre by demanding for more playwriting and providing incentives to writers as well as  theatre producers and directors.

“I hope that those of us that are writing should write more plays to give directors more materials to choose from. It is important for the state governments to show some interest in this area and show some incentives whether through sponsorships or grants. Theatre is capital intensive. Many actors are being drawn away to the screen. 

Without the theatre, there won’t be Hollywood or Nollywood. We need to continue to weave a different narrative. We need to contribute to it. I will make sure that by next year, I add one more play to my repertoire,” he promised. 

Related Articles