Re-enacting the Revolutionary Power of Art in Africa

What we do to ourselves is all that will matter eventually, not what 'they' are doing to us

While no one can deny the immeasurable depth and the magnitude of mineral resources found in Africa, equally noteworthy is the fact that more creative wealth has been bestowed on Africans. Whether the people in the continent are aware of the revolutionary power of their creative potential is another story entirely.

In the 20th century, the forebears of the African art and entertainment industry got a glimpse of the revolutionary power of art and entertainment, guess what, they ceased it, and they used this power to mount unquantifiable pressure on the regime to such a degree that the likes of Chief Hubert Ogunde(Ogunde Theatre Party) were banned in Kano, Kaduna, and Makurdi on May 8, 1950, they were prohibited for staging the social lampoon opera titled ‘Bread and Bullet’ and was arrested for sedition. He was charged to court and later discharged but fined £6 for posting posters for the play without prior permission from the government.

More so, because of Ogunde’s anti-colonialism stance, he was denied the opportunity to travel abroad to broaden his knowledge and skill in playwriting. This was however reversed because he had the media at his side:

Hubert Ogunde Revolutionary Power of Art in Africa
Hubert Ogunde Revolutionary Power of Art in Africa

In September 1946, Ogunde felt the need for training and development as a professional playwright; he applied for Passports and UK Visas alongside with his companion Miss Clementina Ogunbule who will later become Mrs. Ogunde (Late Mrs. Adesewa Ogunde- Mama-Eko). Unfortunately, he was refused. This refusal led to another confrontation with the government. To this end, the media supported him and by March, 1947 Passports and Visas were granted to Ogunde and his partner. In England 1947, Ogunde was admitted into Buddy Bradley School of Dancing at the Piccadilly Circus, London. This is the root of his much talk about aesthetic dances in his plays.[1]

Although we all have the creative liberty to create based on our theme of interest, it is as well important for creatives to cease this ‘revolutionary power’ of art and entertainment to reshape consciousness, reconstruct societal values, and recreate political ethics for the sake of future generations.

Great success was achieved by our forebears because they understood the revolutionary power of art in Africa. Men and women who rode on ‘horseback’ to share their revolutionary content. I’m of the opinion that greater success can be attained in this generation if we would ride on the ‘jet wings’ of social media with revolutionary creative content.

A great society is built when everyone contributes their quota to the development of their society. To birth a continent of pride for the coming generations, players in the art and entertainment industry must be intentional about making content that is pregnant with the potential to instigate the change that we desire to see in our continent.

In the final analysis, what we do to ourselves is all that will matter eventually, not what ‘they’ are doing to us. Re-enacting the revolutionary power of Art in Africa is our duty as Africans

'PELUMI A. Pelumi-Folarin

Hi, I'm OLUWANBEPELUMI Pelumi-Folarin, a filmmaker with fifteen years of experience in project and organizational management. I'm passionate about the art and craft of filmmaking and have a proven track record in publication, team building and organisational leadership. I'm currently working at AfroFilm Herald Times Ltd. where I currently serve as the creative team lead. In my free time, I enjoy watching good films/playing the piano/guitar/listening to audiobooks. Feel free to connect with me!

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