Photo by Kipepeo Images
Imat Akelo-Opio (Ugandan International Actress and Miss Uganda USA) played the Lead female role of Iyaloja “Mother of the Market” in a historical era in Australia by being cast in the first ever Production of Wole Soyinka’s” Death and the Kings Horseman” that opened in Australia this August.
Imat’s character Iyaloja represents the strong African Woman who keeps the tradition of her people and challenges the British colonialists. Imat states that she is extremely humbled to have been cast in a part that showed the true strength, beauty, intelligence, determination and wisdom that is the African Woman.
In addition Imat explains that Iyaloja carries the whole world on her shoulders for the sake of her people, freely giving her son’s betroved wife to ensure that the path of succession is complete, she is truly a mother and protector of her people, who puts her people before her needs.
The play is based on true events that occurred in 1946 between the British colonialists and the Yoruba people. According to the Yoruba tradition, the death of a chief must be followed by the ritual suicide of the chief’s horseman, as his spirit is essential to aid the ascent to the after life, otherwise the chief’s spirit will wander the earth and bring harm to the Yoruba people. The play is a myriad of colours encompassing traditions and modernity that applies to the world we live in today reminding us that tradition is strongly rooted in then African culture despite the modernization of civilization.
Imat has received rave reviews for her performance as Iyaloja and in a first in Australia the production is set to tour Australia, with the play also being incorporated into the Australian performing arts school syllabus in 2010.
Indeed this is a truly historical moment for Africa on the world stage and Imat is excited to be a part of this integral moment in the performing arts world, where African artists are seen for their talent and African theatre is used to educate the far corners of the world.
These are exciting times for us all says Miss Imat Akelo-Opio.