I owe Prof. an APOLOGY. Indeed, a very MIGHTY apology I owe Broz KONGI, our own WS, on his 80th BIRTHDAY, being celebrated worldwide, today 13 July 2014.
Four years ago I met Prof at his Abeokuta haven and requested for his permission for me to adapt into a screenplay probably the most interesting part of his last memoir, YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DAWN. That particular chapter is titled: OLORIKUNKUN And ORI OLOKUN. I very much believe it would make a great film. Graciously, Prof agreed to my challenging request.
I had pledged to myself that the proposed film would be ready before Prof is 80. I naively thought that four years might be adequate for the project, from writing to filming, with everything else in between.
I remembered that when Prof was 50 years old in July 1984 at the then University of Ife, Ile Ife, I was one of his assistants and a film written, directed and produced by him was premiered on the day. That film was BLUES FOR A PRODIGAL . There was some contribution to the production by the late Chief MKO Abiola. I was one of those assigned the task of leading Chief to Prof’s residence on campus. I therefore then felt that it would be an appropriate honour to see to it that “my” proposed film be a contribution to Prof’s 80 birthday.
So I began to work on the film idea. Read and re-read ORI OLOKUN AND OLORIKUNKUN. I researched all I can about ORI OLOKUN, learning about how it happened that the mask was “found” by an archaeological team led by the German ethnologist and archaeologist, Leo Viktor Frobenius ( 1873 –1938) in a grove in Wunmonije Compound, Ile Ife and how the original Ori Olokun “disappeared” with only its replicas adorning museums, all over the world.
It so happens that most of the real protagonists in the KONGI’s CHASE after the real, original Ori Olokun mask are characters who I know very well, such as Olabiyi Yai, Wande Abimbola, Akinwunmi Isola, Ojetunji Aboyade, Femi Johnson, Henry Adewope, Olusegun Obasanjo, Pierre Fatumbi Verger among others. It also happens that most of the places involved in the chase are ones that I have lived in or visited, such as Ile Ife, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Benin, Rio de Janeiro, Frankfurt, Leeds and London. Therefore, I can very easily conceptualise the whole drama in my head.
That simple KONGI film idea has now become a KONGI TRILOGY. Three films are proposed to be based on three events around Prof’s life.
From the Ori-Olokun and Olorikunkun story, I have created the film script which I have titled: KONGI And The Head Of The Goddess Of The Seas, about how Kongi, an African Studies professor, goes off on a trickish adventure that takes him across four continents seeking to retrieve a long lost original artefact, Ori Olokun, the bronze head of the Yoruba Goddess of the seas, which was believed to have been found and lost in the mysterious ancient city of Atlantis. Will he succeed where several other adventurers have failed? (You may want to find out the real outcome in You Must Set Forth At Dawn)
The proposed second Kongi franchise idea is titled: KONGI And The Head Of The Queen Mother Of Benin Kingdom… Being conceived as a Prequel to KONGI And The Head Of The Goddess Of The Seas. The plot is about how the Queen Idia of Benin’s Mask was “retrieved” by KONGI from the British Museum for the FESTAC event, against all odds.
The third proposed Kongi franchise concept is titled: KONGI And The Head of State Of The Republic Of Kalamityria… Being conceived as a Prequel to KONGI And The Head Of The Queen Mother Of Benin Kingdom. The drama is all about Prof Wole Soyinka’s political activism in his terrible, horrible homeland, NIGERIA, starting with the Akintola Saga, through the Gowon-Ojukwu palava to the NADECO years.
Now, its Sunday, 13 July 2014, and Prof. is 80years old. HURRAH! Bisikay, where is Prof’s film! Film?… What film? The Film!
I have done the synopsis, the treatment and just completing the screenplay.
But, SORRY Prof, the film is still on the way…
Anyway, here is my 80 GBOSAS! To our Dearest PROF… KONGI, Forever!…
* Culled from BisiKay Ayedun’s Facebook wall