A foremost Nigerian dramatist and folk singer, Jimi Solanke is dead.
The cultural icon passed on in the early hours of today, Monday, February 5, 2023, after a brief illness.
He died en route to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State.
Born on July 4, 1942, in Ipara Remo, Jimi Solanke’s artistic journey began as a pioneer member of the Orisun Theatre Group, founded by the renowned Wole Soyinka, in 1961.
His contributions to the global entertainment industry spanned seven decades, leaving an indelible mark on various platforms, from the Western Nigeria Television in the 1960s to international festivals in Senegal and Algeria during the 1970s.
He graduated from the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a diploma certificate in Drama.
After graduation, Solanke moved to the United States, where he created a drama group called The Africa Review, focusing on African culture. Members of this group usually put on African clothing, specifically Yoruba costume.
Solanke established himself in Los Angeles, California, where his storytelling career began. He was described as a “master storyteller” by CNN.
In 1986, he returned to Nigeria with three members of the African Review group to work with the Nigerian Television Authority. Then, he came up with Storyland, where he tells stories with insertion of artistic works by artists. At the same time, plays his guitar with kids surrounding him, singing and dancing.
He was part of the team that made the film of Kongi’s Harvest by Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka.
Jimi Solanke, the children-lover, was 82 years old and lived in Ile-Ile, Osun State.