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First Look at “The Man Died” Wole Soyinka’s Autobiography Adapted for the Screen

The Story

In The Man Died, Wale Ojo takes on the role of Wole Soyinka, portraying the renowned author in this adaptation of his autobiography for the screen.


Tell Me More

During Nigeria’s Civil War in the late 1960s, Wole Soyinka’s vocal opposition to the military government’s actions resulted in his imprisonment for 22 months. Published two years after the war’s end in 1972, his memoir delves into his harrowing experiences behind bars, exploring themes of survival, perseverance, and resilience.

The film adaptation of The Man Died stars Nollywood luminaries including Wale Ojo, who embodies the role of Soyinka, alongside Chidi Mokeme, Sam Dede, Norbert Young, Francis Onwochei, and Edmond Enabe. The cast also features Segilola Ogidan, Simileoluwa Hassan, Christiana Oshunniyi, and Abraham Amkpa, with a screenplay penned by Bode Asiyanbi, produced by Femi Odugbemi and directed by Awam Amkpa

Key Background

Awam Amkpa is a professor of Drama and Cultural Theory at the Departments of Drama, Tisch School of the Arts, and Social and Cultural Analysis within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at New York University, Awam Amkpa boasts an extensive academic background.

He obtained his B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, under the mentorship of renowned playwright Wole Soyinka. Continuing his academic journey, he earned his M.A. in Drama from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, followed by his Ph.D. from the University of Bristol, Bristol, England.

Amkpa is recognized for his contributions to both academia and the arts, with notable works including Baba (2022), Truly Madly Deeply (1990), and  Négritude: A Dialogue between Wole Soyinka and Léopold Senghor (2015).


The trend of adapting literary works for the screen, especially within the dynamic landscape of Nollywood, reflects a growing appreciation for storytelling through multiple mediums.

Nigerian filmmakers have increasingly turned to literary classics and autobiographical narratives as source material for cinematic exploration, aiming to capture the richness of Nigerian literature and history while engaging audiences in new and compelling ways. The Man Died, adapted from Wole Soyinka’s autobiographical work, exemplifies this trend by offering viewers a cinematic interpretation of the Nobel laureate’s experiences during Nigeria’s Civil War and subsequent imprisonment.

One notable example of a successful literary adaptation in Nollywood is the film Half of a Yellow Sun, based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s award-winning novel of the same name. Directed by Biyi Bandele, the film vividly portrays the lives of individuals caught in the turmoil of the Nigerian Civil War (also known as the Biafran War) in the late 1960s.

Through compelling performances and visually striking cinematography, Half of a Yellow Sun brings Adichie’s characters and their struggles to life on the big screen, drawing both critical acclaim and audience praise for its faithful adaptation of the novel’s themes and narrative depth.

As Nollywood continues to expand its repertoire of literary adaptations, films like The Man Died contribute to a rich tapestry of storytelling that celebrates Nigeria’s diverse literary heritage while captivating audiences with its cinematic flair.

In Summary 

The release of The Man Died is slated for July, aligning with the celebration of Soyinka’s 90th birthday.

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