Nigeria mourns the loss of a cultural icon as actor and dramatist Jimi Solanke passes away at the age of 81 after a brief illness.
According to reports from Punch, Solanke departed on Monday, February 5, 2024, after battling an illness for a short period. His passing occurred during transportation from his rural home in Ipara Remo, Remo North Local Government Area, Ogun State, to Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan.
The esteemed writer and poet had been in and out of the hospital from December 2023 to February 2024, facing health challenges.
Dickson Awolaja, representing Remo North State Constituency at the State Assembly, confirmed the news of Solanke’s demise, expressing sorrow over the loss and acknowledging Solanke’s significant contributions to the community and the nation at large.
Born on July 4, 1942, in Ipara Remo, Solanke’s artistic journey began with the Orisun Theatre Group, founded by the legendary Wole Soyinka, in 1961. Over seven decades, he left an indelible mark on the global entertainment scene, from his performances on Western Nigeria Television in the 1960s to his appearances at international festivals in Senegal and Algeria during the 1970s.
Solanke’s repertoire includes unforgettable roles in plays such as Kongi’s Harvest, Sango, and Shadow Parties, among others. Fondly referred to as “Uncle Jimi” by many, his legacy as a thespian and cultural ambassador will endure for generations, shaping the narrative of Nigerian theatre and beyond.