Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and Wole Soyinka’s Death And The King’s Horseman are going to Netflix. The announcement was made on June 12, 2020.
Work from two of the continent’s most beloved writers is set to make an appearance on Netflix. This was announced by Netflix Nigeria who is in partnership with producer Mo Adudu’s Ebony Life TV.
A series-adaptation of @LolaShoneyin‘sThe Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and a film-adaptation of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s Death And The King’s Horseman! 🇳🇬
— Netflix Naija (@NetflixNaija) June 12, 2020
Lola Shoneyin’s debut novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, an eye-opening novel of polygamy in modern-day Nigeria, was published in 2010. Since it came out the novel, shortlisted for the Orange Prize, has had several adaptations taking it to the stage. One of them, written by Rotimi Babatunde, has been staged at the Ake Festival in Abeokuta, in Lagos, Nigeria, and London, UK more than once. Another outstanding adaptation, a one-woman show by Maimouna Jallow, has been seen on stages around the world.
Lola Shoneyin commenting on the news said, “Sometimes, dreams take years… Thank you to my brilliant producer @MoAbudu for all your hard work. Thank you, @netflix for believing in the story. ”
— Lọlá Shónẹ́yìn (@lolashoneyin) June 12, 2020
Wole Soyinka is no new name in the African literary scene seeing as he was the first black African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Death and the King’s Horseman is a play based on a real incident that took place in Nigeria during British colonial rule. The horseman of a Yoruba King was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities. Soyinka wrote the play in Cambridge when he was in political exile from Nigeria in 1975.
This follows up from a 2018 revelation that Ebony Life TV had acquired the rights to Death And The King’s Horseman.
“EbonyLife Films has acquired the rights to make this incredible work into a feature film for global distribution,” Mo Adudu said at the time.
While Soyinka is one of the most celebrated writers from the continent, few of his texts have gone on to either the big or small screen. His 1965 play Kongi’s Harvest was brought to the big screen in a film directed by the American Ossie Davis. Also made into a film was Ake: The Years of Childhood the author’s 1981 memoir set in the years just before World War II directed by Nigerian Dapo Adeniyi.