Who is Hubert Ogunde?

Hubert Ogunde was a Nigerian actor, playwright, musician, and theatre director who is widely regarded as the father of Nigerian theatre. He was born on May 31, 1916, in Ososa, Ogun State, Nigeria, and died on April 4, 1990, in London, England.

Ogunde began his career as a musician, playing with various highlife bands in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1944, he founded the African Music Research Party, which became the Nigerian Union of Musicians, and began incorporating elements of traditional Nigerian music into his performances.

In 1945, Ogunde founded the African Music and Drama Association (later renamed the Ogunde Theatre Company), which produced plays that addressed social and political issues in Nigeria. His plays were performed in both English and Yoruba and were known for their use of music, dance, and traditional African storytelling techniques.

Ogunde’s plays were often critical of the British colonial government and addressed issues such as corruption, tribalism, and social injustice. He also wrote plays that celebrated Nigerian culture and traditions, such as “Yoruba Ronu” and “Ovonramwen Nogbaisi.”

Throughout his career, Ogunde was a strong advocate for the development of a national theatre in Nigeria and worked tirelessly to promote Nigerian theatre both at home and abroad. His contributions to Nigerian theatre have been recognized both nationally and internationally, and he remains an important figure in the history of African theatre.

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