BY ESE DIBEBI
One of the pioneers of what is today known as Nollywood, Pa Francis Oladele has died.
Francis Adetunji Oladele would have been 83 on August 30. Pa Oladele produced the first indigenous film in Nigeria after he adapted Wole Soyinka‘s tyranny-themed “Kongi’s Harvest” for the screen in 1969. He passed away this morning in Oyo town.
Pa Oladele worked as a photo-journalist with Daily Times of Nigeria where he introduced the then very popular column, Social Diary. He traveled to the United States of America in 1955 at the young age of 22 to study photography at the popular New York Institute of Photography. He later worked at the Technicolor, USA, where he was recruited by the then Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo to return home as the pioneer African Head of the Film Unit of the defunct Western Nigeria Television (WNTV), Ibadan.
He was the first Nigerian filmmaker to incorporate a film production company named Calpenny Film Production (USA) Calpenny Nigerian Film Production which produced Kongi’s Harvest with Wole Soyinka playing the lead role.
The company further produced Things Fall Apart which was later changed to Bullfrog in the Sun in 1971.