Jimi Solanke, the Great Storyteller, Dies at 81

Jimi Solanke, the Great Storyteller, Dies at 81

One of Nigeria’s foremost storytellers Jimi Solanke is dead. Solanke, aged 81, was said to have died Monday while on his way to Babcock University Teaching Hospital from his country home at Ipara Remo in Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Prior to his death, Solanke was reportedly frequenting the hospital for an undisclosed ailment.

Fondly called Uncle Jimi by many, Solanke was a revered actor, folk singer, playwright and poet. His notable works include ‘Kongi Harvest,’ by Wole Soyinka, and the children’s show ‘Tales by Moonlight’, which was a favourite staple on TV in the 90s. His most recent work, ‘Shadow Parties,’ was released in 2020.

Born on July 4, 1942, Solanke obtained a diploma in drama at the University of Ibadan and upon graduation, relocated to the United States, where he founded a drama group called The Africa Review, dedicated to promoting African culture. He would later return to Nigeria with three members of The Africa Review group to work with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in 1986.

Solanke’s storytelling prowess was well celebrated. His performances were marked by passion and excellence, earning him recognition far and wide. Passionate about the dearth of folk songs, he organised training to boost folklore music in Nigeria in 2021.
He is survived by his wife Toyin Solanke.

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