The death of renowned Yoruba thespian, poet and producer of classics, such as Thunderbolt: Magun and Afonja, Adebayo Faleti, has sent shock waves throughout the Creative industry. The late Faleti is regarded as a quintessential actor, broadcaster, writer and poet. The man also known as a Yoruba language translator and actor, died on Sunday
morning at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State capital. An old student of Ibadan Boys High School, Faleti was a pioneer worker of the first television station in Africa, the Western Nigerian Television (WNTV). He published, among others, a dictionary containing the formal meaning of Yoruba names. His other works include Basorun Gaa (2004) and Sawo-Sogberi (2005).
He was also responsible for translating the National Anthem into Yoruba as well as the speeches of former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, into Yoruba.
The late Faleti received many local and international awards, including the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), the Festival of Arts award with Eda Ko Laropin and the Afro-Nollywood Award for Outstanding Performance in the Arts. In 2014, the online was awash with the report that the renowned artist had lost the battle to a protracted ailment. But reacting to his rumoured death, Faleti said: “I am alive. I am alive. Long life will be my lot.” The late Faleti was born on December 26, 1930 at Agbo-Oye, Oyo State, though lived in Obananko, Kuranga, near Oyo town.
He is the first son of his father, Joseph Akanbi Faleti, and the only child of his mother, Durowade Ayinke Faleti. From an early age the late Faleti always had a passion for drama. Unfortunately, his parents could not fund his education to pursue his dreams due to the lack of income. So, he decided to put his primary education on hold. He later gathered a couple of interested colleagues and started his successful theatre group, named Oyo Youth Operatic Society (founded in 1949).
Faleti later found his way back to school by getting a job in a primary school, in which he worked for six years to raise enough funds for his secondary schooling with the financial support of his father. In 1966, he attended the University of Dakar in Senegal and obtained a Certificate of Proficiency in French Language and Civilisation.
Two years later, he graduated from the University of Ibadan (UI) with an honours degree in English. In 1971, he attended the Radio Netherlands Training Centre in Hilversum, the Netherlands, and received a Certificate in Television Production. The late Faleti has written, produced and acted in several popular Yoruba plays. He is also known for several poems. The late Faleti has up to 15 children. His first child is Mrs. Adeboola Orunsolu (née Faleti).