Mrs. Kuti (Yinka Davis) with Wild Christians (Lanike Onimisi Bennet) join Essay and friends after Sunday church service
Ake, the film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s classic childhood memoir, Ake, The Years of Childhood, is now available on Amazon and other global platforms.Set during World War II years, the story combines a beautiful child-view narrative with resonances from the war as heard and imagined in Soyinka’s hometown in Ake, Abeokuta.
It climaxes with the Egba women’s riot of 1945, led by Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, mother of the late Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Shot in various locations such as, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Lagos and East Grinstead, UK, the film has been screened in Lagos and at film festivals in Cannes, France and the United States. The French subtitles were contributed by Alliance Francaise in Nigeria.
Directed by Dapo Adeniyi and produced by Back Page Productions, the cast of nearly 1,000 features some of Nigeria’s foremost professionals in the film and theatre industries including, Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett (OON), Yinka Davies, Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, Jimi Solanke, Lanike Onimisi-Bennet, Festus Adegboye Onigbinde, Alex Bratt, Gbenga Ajiboye, Hafiz Oyetoro, Yemi Solade, Wale Ramon, Wale Adebayo, Toyin Abiodun, Bose Oladele, Joke Muyiwa, Samsideen Adesiyan and Bayo Bankole.
Adeniyi has produced for radio and television in Nigeria as well as the BBC. He was also a British Council Fellow at Downing College, University of Cambridge.Soyinka’s account is such an important historical script because it portrays a world in turmoil – the Second World War and colonial rule in Nigeria which was pressured by agitation for independence.
Echoes from the war were heard distinctly in Abeokuta by its enlightened communities on rediffusion radio, the headmaster of the local mission school inclusive, who was the writer’s father.
Ake is not an overt historical account but one which relays a crucial chapter in Nigerian history from the eye-witness of a child. The Egba women’s riot, directed by Mrs Kuti, Soyinka’s aunt, was conceived and hatched under his eyes. His mother Eniola, participated as one of the closest collaborators with Kuti in the women’s movement. Ake valiantly overcomes the usual production challenges in the recreation of film scenery and props, period automobiles and architecture of a bygone era.