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Veteran actor, Jimi Solanke, bows out at 81

Jimi Solanke, veteran actor, dramatist, and singer passed away on Monday at the age of 81.


Solanke’s passing was disclosed to reporters by a close source in the family, who stated that Solanke died while being rushed to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital in Ogun State.

His career spanned seven decades, including appearances on Western Nigeria Television in the 1960s, international festivals in Senegal and Algeria in the 1970s, and memorable roles in plays such as “Death and the King’s Horseman,” “Kurunmi,” and “Kongi’s Harvest.”

Jimi Solanke was a Nigerian folklore musician, film actor, dramatist, poet, and playwright, renowned for his mastery of storytelling as a cultural custodian who skilfully preserves and promotes Nigeria’s rich heritage through captivating performances.

He passed on two months from his 82nd birthday.

The deceased, who was born on July 4, 1942, in Ipara, Remo, is survived by his wife, Toyin Solanke.


  1. A native of Ipara-Remo, Ogun State, was born on July 4, 1942, in Lagos.
  2. Fondly called ‘Uncle Jimi’ or ‘Baba Agba’
  3. A Nigerian storyteller, film actor, dramatist, folk singer, poet, and playwright.
  4. Attended Olowogbowo Methodist School for his elementary education before proceeding to Odogbolu Grammar School, Ogun State.
  5. Graduated from the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a diploma certificate in drama.
  6. Joined the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU) in 1969.
  7. After graduation, moved to the United States, where he created a drama group called The Africa Review, focusing on African culture. Members of this group usually put on African clothing, specifically Yoruba costumes.
  8. Established himself in Los Angeles, California, where his storytelling career began. He was described as a “master storyteller.”
  9. In 1986, returned to Nigeria with three members of the African Review Group to work with the Nigerian Television Authority. Then, he came up with Storyland, where he tells stories with the insertion of artistic works by artists. At the same time, he plays his guitar with kids surrounding him, singing and dancing.
  10. Some of his songs include Onile Gogoro, Eje ka jo, Jenrokan, and Na today you come. He also produced albums such as Eke ka jo (Let us Dance), In the Beginning, Ase, Storyteller, America Has Got Magic, Orin Orisa, Multiplicity of Praise, Hidden Gold, and Once Upon a Time.
  11. Starred in several shows on Nigerian Television (NTA) starting from the 1960s to date, including The Bar Beach Show, For Better for Worse, Village Headmaster, Family Scene on Lagos Television (LTV), Children’s Half Hour, Storyland, African Stories on (AIT), and Sango.
  12. Began his professional acting career in 1961 as one of the pioneer members of the Orisun Theatre Group, founded by Wole Soyinka.
  13. Was part of the team that made the film Kongi’s Harvest by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.
  14. As an actor, played different characters in movies such as Kurumi, Chattering and the Song, Ovoramwen Nogbaisi, The Divorce, Death and the King’s Horseman, and Siswe Bansi’s Death.
  15. Was the voice of the narrator in Nollywood movie, Jagunjagun.



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