Five Times MTN Foundation Taught Us The Nigerian History We Didn’t Learn In Class

MTN Foundation | Inside Life
November 5, 2019

If you think that the arts are a dying art in Nigeria, then you probably need to jump from whatever century you’re in and come to 2019. There’s so much going on in the art space these days and it’s incredible. 

The MTN Foundation is making such headway in the arts and culture industry by supporting and promoting of Nigerian arts and what makes them unique. One of the ways it’s doing this is by sponsoring plays that retell Nigerian stories; sometimes taking us back to history class or basically telling us things we never knew. Which is why we’re stanning 5 plays that had us saying “Wow!” while schooling us on one or two things at the same time.

1) Fela and the Kalakuta Queens

This musical has all the right shades of Nigerian glamour, giving us a side to much loved afrobeats legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti; a side we’ve never seen before.

Fela and the Kalakuta Queens depicts the loyalty and reverence that existed between Fela and his dancers. It also debunked many misconceptions people have about the late Fela. Do you know how fascinating that play was? The lead character who played Fela did such a good job, that people started asking if Fela had somehow come back. We stan.

2) Legends the Musical

You might have seen Thor and are a serious Marvel superhero fan but, did you know we have our own super cool superheroes who will beat the Thors of this world hands down? Legends the Musical is a play about African gods and legends: Sango, Shaka, Yaa Asantewa, Queen Amina and Queen Nefertiti–who work together to rid the earth of the fictional evil character, The Shadow. 

The Shadow had his comeuppance when earthly beings shook in their boots and had to call on The Legends to help them out from the drudgery of the Nigerian society, so they got The Legends on speed dial and were saved by the selfless love of these superheroes, despite the challenges the African heroes were faced with. 

3) Agbarho

This play has the right shades of feminism with the lead character, Efetobore, going head-to-head with her father over her choice of a husband.

Agbarho highlights the struggles women face including issues of widowhood and false accusations of killings one’s husband. It also addresses issues such as, being sexually objectified and harassed in the quest for a job. Efetobore experiences these and more. However, despite this, she continues on her quest, ignoring every discrimination and going ahead to apply for an all-male music contest. YOU GO GIRL.

Oh, and we are stanning the cultural diversity in this musical! Efetobore is born of an Urhobo father and a Hausa mother and she chooses a Yoruba man as her spouse; and instead of going to the abroad in search of greener pastures, she decides to move to Abuja from Delta.

4) Oba Esugbayi

This was a classic throwback to history and how it should be told. This play focuses on the Late Oba Esugbayi, also known as Eleko of Eko, who reigned supreme as the Oba of Lagos from 1901 to 1925, and from 1931 to 1932. 

The play highlights the role of Oba Esugbayi who protected his people from the tyranny of colonial rule; collaborating with market women to fight colonialist who was turning Lagosians into slaves, blatantly opposing government oppression which eventually led to his exile from Lagos. He resumed his kingship years later to the joy of his people who he represented greatly. 

Oba Esugbayi is a noteworthy play that gives necessary accolade to one of the greats and incorruptible leaders Nigeria ever had. Also worthy of note is the fact that the producers of this play also produced another much acclaimed historical play, Emotan

5) Jungle Story 2

Are you tired of Nigerian politicians who lie through their teeth, creating manifestos and mandates they do not intend to achieve? We are and so is Sound Sultan. 

In Jungle Story 2, Nigerian musician, Sound Sultan explored the nuances of corruption and its effects on society. Jungle Story 2 is a satirical depiction of what happens in a society that has been cursed to turn every corrupt individual into animals. This exposes everyone for who they really are within — showcasing the lions (liars), cheetahs (cheats), chicken (follow follow), parrot (“eke is my hobby” people) and more. 

By supporting these great Nigerian theatre productions that show the essence of the Nigerian culture, the issues, the solutions, MTN Foundation is really giving voice to the long-forgotten history and realism of Nigerian art. Something that should indeed be greatly lauded, which is why we’re LOUDING it. 

Another event that is worthy of a mention on this list is the recently concluded, Lagos Poetry Festival which held from October 30th to November 4th at Freedom Park, Lagos.  The Lagos Poetry Festival, also known as LIPFest, featured spoken word presentations, literary workshops, parties and more with guests such as; Wana Udobang, Brymo, Logan February, Kaveh Akbar, Itiola Jones, among others.

It’s okay if you missed out on these shows even though you missed out on a whole lot. However, there’s a way out. MTN Foundation is sponsoring another art and culturally immersive programme; OMG the Musical. If you loved reading about Legends the Musical, you will definitely want to see this because it is created by producers of Legends the Musical and it will focus on the great deeds of Nigerian heroines; Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti, Margaret Ekpo and Hajia Gambo Sawaba.

OMG the Musical is scheduled to hold at MUSON Center, on December 27-39 and 31st and January 1, 2020.

Sponsored by
MTN Foundation

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this


Now on Zikoko

November 29, 2021

If things weren’t so expensive, no one would work, everyone deserves a partner that will distract them from the choke hold of capitalism with memes. Here are 10 memes you can send to your partner to distract them from work. 1. The “I’m checking up on you” meme  This meme is bound to make your […]

Recommended Quizzes

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

More from Oldies

May 27, 2021

Children’s day, a day set apart for kids. Like they don’t win at life already? You’re not paying bills or rent and you have a day to celebrate yourself? Get me their manager, please. On days like this, we can’t help but remember how good we used to have it so we wrote this article […]

February 12, 2020

Forget Tunji and Daniella, if you’re wondering who your best friend is, it’s most definitely the phone you’re either reading this from or the phone that’s somewhere within your vision; we know this because you’re definitely a phone addict that gets a little impatient when you’re too far away from your phone. Okay, let’s not […]

February 8, 2020

Yes, Valentine’s Day is almost here. Love notes, chocolates, hampers, and everything that comes with it. But while everyone is being hit by cupid’s arrow, there are some people who don’t even feel the hype. If you’re one of them, then grab a seat at this table. 1. You, when you hear that Valentine is […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.