Pa Jimi Solanke, The Literary Arts Ambassador, Shines On

Foremost film actor, dramatist, folk singer, poet and playwright, Pa. Jimi Solanke passes on at the age of 81 in Ogun State. The late entertainment guru was said to be on his way to the Babcock Hospital, Ilishan-Remo, for medical treatment when he give up the ghost.

The late songwriter, popularly known as ‘Uncle Jimi’ has graced the entertainment scenes since his days of playing headline characters in Wole Soyinka’s ‘Kongi’s Harvest’; ‘Shadow Parties’, ‘Sango’ and many more.

Uncle Jimi born July 4, 1942, moved to the United State of America, creating a drama group called ‘The Africa Review’ focusing on African culture, wearing African clothing, specifically the Yoruba costume. The African Review performed in black African schools.

Jimi Solanke established himself in Los Angeles, California, where his storytelling career began. CNN described him as a “master storyteller”. He was a major cast in works like ‘The Divorce’, ”Kurunmi’ and ‘Ovaramwen Nogbaisi.’

In 1986, Solanke returned to Nigeria with three members of the African Review group to work with the Nigerian Television Authority [NTA]. His reputation earned him the lead roles in Ola Balogun’s films and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, condoled with the family of the veteran poet dramatist and the people of Ipara-Remo in Remo North Local Government Area of the State, describing him as a colossal loss to the Entertainment industry.

He said, “Renowned for his tireless dedication to the arts, Baba Agba as he was widely known by his numerous fans across the country was a great ambassador of our dear state. He promoted the culture and tradition of the Yoruba race on the global stage with his drama, music, poetry and other works of art.”

Fondly remembered for his television programme ‘Story Land’, on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Solanke was survived by his wife, Toyin, children and grandchildren.