Renowned veteran actor and folk singer, Jimi Solanke, has passed away at the age of 81.
The legendary poet and playwright breathed his last on Monday while en route from his country home in Ipara Remo, Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State, to Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan. Chief Solanke, who had been in and out of the hospital since December, succumbed to the cold hands of death on that fateful morning.
Honorable Dickson Awolaja, representing Remo North Constituency in the State Assembly, confirmed the departure of this highly gifted artist.
Hon. Awolaja expressed sorrow, stating that Chief Solanke's demise is undeniably another significant loss for the people in Remo North and Ogun State as a whole, considering his valuable contributions to the development of our dear nation. He went ahead to pray that Solanke's soul rest in peace.
Jimi Solanke, often referred to as Uncle Jimi, was acclaimed for his roles in notable productions such as Kongi's Harvest, Sango, Shadow Parties, and many others. His legacy as a versatile artist has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape, and he will be remembered for his immense contributions to the arts.
Here are seven things to know about the late actor:
1. Jimi Solanke was born on July 4, 1942, originating from Ipara Remo.
2. His educational journey led him to the University of Ibadan, where he completed a diploma program in drama.
3. Following graduation, Solanke ventured to the United States, where he founded The Africa Review, a drama group dedicated to showcasing African culture.
4. In 1986, he returned to Nigeria, bringing three members of The Africa Review group to collaborate with the Nigerian Television Authority.
5. Commencing his professional acting career in 1961, Solanke joined the Orisun Theatre Group, a pioneering initiative founded by Wole Soyinka.
6. He was an integral part of the team behind the film "Kongi’s Harvest" by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.
7. Jimi Solanke demonstrated his musical talent by composing well-known folk songs, including Baba Agba, Bare Ni Joye, Osupa, Oil Boom Palava, Bi a ba Jeko, Gbangba Kedere Eko, Ojoje, E je Kajo, among others.