Meet the Yoruba Actors Who Shine as 'Babalawo' Masters in Nollywood

Meet the Yoruba Actors Who Shine as 'Babalawo' Masters in Nollywood

Yoruba films have a long-standing tradition of featuring a variety of indigenous characters, notably the "babalawo" or herbalist, Ifa, and voodoo priest. While these actors may not embody these roles in real life, they have honed their skills in bringing these characters to life on screen. In this feature, Saturday Beats spotlights a few actors who have become renowned in Nollywood for their portrayals of "babalawo" characters.

Olayinka Quadri: An actor celebrated for his portrayal of "babalawo" roles, Olayinka Quadri began his career in 1976 with the Afopina Theatre Group. His performances in movies like 'Kadara Mi,' 'Ticket to Life,' and 'Obinrin Sowanu' have garnered recognition.

Ganiu Nafiu, aka Alapini Osa: With a career spanning over five decades, Alapini Osa is a seasoned Yoruba actor known for his numerous portrayals of "babalawo" characters. He received training from renowned filmmakers Akin Ogungbe and Ray Eyiwunmi. He attributes his frequent herbalist roles to his family's background in traditional medicine.

Fatai Adetayo 'Lalude': Lalude, deeply rooted in Yoruba culture and tradition, is acclaimed for his skillful portrayal of "babalawo" characters. Despite his convincing performances, he recently revealed that he possesses no mystical powers. His acting journey began at a young age, and he's renowned for roles in movies like 'Mayegun' and 'Ibinu Balogun.'

Tajudeen Oyewole 'Abija': Tajudeen Oyewole, also known as Abija, is celebrated for his outstanding portrayals of "babalawo" characters in movies like 'Omo Abore' and 'Eyin Ogongo.' He initiated his acting career in the early 1980s and often plays the role of the community's savior, combating evil forces.

Peter Fatomilola: A multi-talented artist, Fatomilola is known for his roles as a priest seeking solutions to challenges caused by malevolent forces in movies. His portrayal in films is believed to have been influenced by his father, Abraham Fatomilola, who held the position of an Ifa chief priest.

Ibrahim Chatta: Noted for his appearances as a "babalawo" in various movies, Ibrahim Chatta gained recognition in the movie 'Aiyekooto' in 2012, alongside renowned actors. His acting career spans different roles, but his portrayal as a "babalawo" stands out.

Adewale Alebiosu: Alebiosu is recognized for playing the role of 'babalawo' or Ifa priest in movies. He's also a scriptwriter and movie producer. In an interview, he emphasized the power of the roles he acts and the need for actors to pray fervently.

Idowu Adenekan 'Oluwo': Oluwo is known for his roles in movies like 'Olokiki Oru: The Midnight Sensation' and 'Evil Deeds.' He interprets the role of 'babalawo' in an exemplary manner and is skilled at reciting incantations.

Olasunkanmi Akanni 'Olohuniyo': Olohuniyo is known for his versatile acting skills but excels in portraying "babalawo" characters in movies like 'Omo Abore' and 'Eyin Ogongo.' He started his acting career in the early 1980s and is also a talented dancer and singer.

Taofeeq Adewale 'Digboluja': Renowned for playing 'babalawo' roles in Yoruba movies, Digboluja revealed that he doesn't possess charms in real life as he portrays in movies. He began his acting journey during his secondary school days.

Rasaq Olayiwola 'Ojopagogo': Another veteran actor known for playing 'babalawo' roles in movies. He started his theatre career in 1983 and later founded his own theatre group. Olayiwola is also a musician.

These actors have made significant contributions to Yoruba cinema through their compelling portrayals of "babalawo" characters, captivating audiences with their performances.

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