The MTN Foundation, in partnership with Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions is bringing Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman to the Terra Kulture stage.
The play which is scheduled to hold on May 13 – 16 features seasoned actors including Mawuyon Ogun, Olarotimi Fakunle, Moshood Fattah and Fares Boulos (Oyibo Rebel).
Death and the King’s Horseman is a story about colonialism and a clash of cultures which is based on a true incident that happened in Oyo State in 1946. It tells the story of the ‘Elesin Oba’, the king’s chief horseman, who is mandated by custom to commit ritual suicide after the death of the King and Simon Pilkings, the colonial district officer, who when the king dies, decides to intervene and stop the Elesin Oba from committing ritual suicide, in what he sees as a barbaric custom.
This partnership is in furtherance of the MTN Foundation’s goal to preserve Nigerian stories while positively showcasing Nigeria’s many beautiful cultures. Death and the King’s Horseman is one of the three theatre productions the Foundation has supported in the first half of this year. Others include Tony Wants to Marry, a drive-in theatre performance in Lagos and Abuja and Ibiom: When Doves Fly, a stage play in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking on the specific relation of Death and the King’s Horseman to the Foundation’s goal, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya stated, “Death and the King’s Horseman is a very important Nigerian story. It is based on true events and is written by one of Nigeria’s most respected writers.
“It also centres a very interesting theme of cultural relativism and begs the question of whether there exists an objectively moral culture. Stories such as these which do not only entertain but compel reflection on who we are, what our values are or were must not be lost.
“At the MTN Foundation, we believe that while we continue to evolve as a collective, we must not lose sight of our history and culture. This is one of the reasons we have remained committed to both the preservation and positive projections of our stories by supporting their being handed down from generation to generation.
“In addition to the three productions already sponsored in the first half this year, we are also sponsoring OMG: The Musical and Flower. We are excited to see how these great stories will be received,” Sanya said.
Bolanle Austen-Peters has also shown commitment to this vision and since establishing the Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions, stayed true to telling stories that are both authentically Nigerian and culturally important.
She has, however, never failed to acknowledge the role of the private sector in ensuring these stories are told excellently and express gratitude to MTN for its work in seeing to their actualisation, in spite of the challenges in the pandemic, “I want to thank MTN and all the MTN team for their continued support. It’s very difficult for anyone to sponsor anything in this season but somehow we all made this work.”
Death and the King’s Horseman joins the long list of successful projects the MTN Foundation has partnered with Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions on including Wakaa the Musical, Saro the Musical, Oluronbi the Musical, among others.
The organisers have emphasised strict commitment to the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the State and Federal Governments and have urged everyone who intends to attend any of the shows to come wearing their face masks.