Tuesday, July 25, 2017
ADEBAYO FALETI (1930 - 2017)
By O Bolaji
Pa Adebayo Faleti, the renowned Yoruba writer (from Nigeria) died at the weekend. He was also a veteran actor, poet, translator, and tv facilitator - from inception.
As a creative writer, Faleti was among the best in respect of the Yoruba language, one of the all-time greats. Works associated with him over the decades include Bashorun Gaa, Ogun Awitele, Okun Ife yi, Sawo-Segberi, Saworoide, ewi Adebayo Faleti, Won Ro pe were ni, among many others.
Yet the late Faleti triumphed despite daunting odds. As a youngster, his family was so poor that the boy had to essentially pull out all the stops to educate himself. This he did earnestly and painstakingly, even attending University in Senegal along the line.
Faleti would work at the first television station in Africa at Ibadan (now NTA Ibadan) where he made his name and began to do great things for the Yoruba language. His early works even entered the school system, like Ogun Awitele, a typical ingenious work which had facetious undertones.
Pa Faleti cared very much about his mother tongue, Yoruba, and deprecated any attempt to undermine this language, which after all is spoken by well over 30 million people around the world. Yet the great man was also proficient in other international (western) languages like English and French.
Faleti became ensconced as belonging to the corps of all time greats of the Yoruba language; he even collaborated with other icons of the pristine language like Akinwunmi Isola, and of course as an actor too, Faleti got to mix with virtually all the finest Yoruba actors around, like the powerful Lere Paimo.
Faleti's books and general work straddled many genres - drama, poetry, fiction, general essays plus biography - and his work was illustrated in Yoruba comics, or general illustrations. In life and death he remains larger-than-life.
As a Thespian, Pa Faleti had the ambience of a solemn actor, epitomising a distinct gravitas, allied to the flamboyant brio and eloquence one would often associate with outstanding Yoruba actors and actresses. In every particular, he has certainly gone down in history!