13 things to know about the first Nigerian actor to be featured in Ebony magazine

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Late chief Hubert Ogunde is known as the father and pioneer of the Nigerian entertainment industry even in death. Literary giant Wole Soyinka called him grand old man of Nigerian theatre.


Hubert Ogunde

Born on the May 31, 1916 at Ososa, Odogbolu local government in Ogun state, Ogunde died on April 4, 1990 at the age of 73.

He was one Yoruba actor that became a national legend for his anticolonial plays during the colonial era. His plays though presented in Yoruba language was watched in Nigeria, Africa and abroad. Even in death, Ogunde is referred to as the doyen of African Theatre.

hubert ogunde

Late Hubert Ogunde

1. His works cut across various niches of the Nigerian landscape, from fiery political dramas that got him jailed to delicious social satires to biting morality-based plays.

2. Ogunde started out as a school teacher and later joined the Nigeria Police Force from where he started his first theatre group.

3. His first theatrical performance was on June 12, 1944 titled The Garden of Eden and the Throne of God in which Ogunde acted the serpent.

ogunde dancing troupe

Ogunde’s dancers

4. His Tiger’s Empire premiered on March 4, 1946 was the first time in Yoruba theatre that women appeared in a play as professional artists on their own terms and were duly paid.

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5. Music and dancing were prominent features of Ogunde’s performances. This he arrived at after he noticed losses in his drama that did not have music thus his inclusion of music in his plays and thus called them concert.

6. His play Yoruba Ronu (Yorubas Think!), 1964 was the first literary work to be banned in Nigeria. The ban was lifted in 1966 when a new government came in.

7. Ogunde was said to always play to a full house and the audience was always reluctant to leave at the end of the play.

ogunde and his eight wives in Londo

Late Hubert Ogunde and 8 out of his 12 wives as featured in Ebony magazine in London

8. Ogunde was featured specially by Ebony magazine for the October 1969 edition. He was on a 36 week tour of UK with his Ogunde Dancers and eight wives.

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9. Ogunde founded the National Troupe in 1986 but was formally established in 1989 when Ogunde was made the first artistic director.

10. He was Grand Patron of the Association of Theatre Practitioners of Nigeria (ANTP) in 1974 until his death.

11. Ogunde was the first person to have managed a mixed company (men and women on stage) in West Africa.

ogunde final resting place

Ogunde’s emblem at the entrance of his hometown, Ososa Ogun state

12. He was an advocate of one man many wives. Ogunde had 12 wives because in his days, women were not allowed to act plays. In order to have actresses for his plays he decided to marry them and make them actresses.

13. In his 35 years as an artist, Ogunde composed over 50 operas, plays and melodramas.


The post 13 things to know about the first Nigerian actor to be featured in Ebony magazine appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read Naij.com 24/7.

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