Hailed as the pioneer of arts journalism in Nigeria, veteran art journalist Ben Omowafola Tomoloju turns 60 on Thursday, December 18, 2014.

A three-day celebration (December 19-21) has been planned to honour the multitalented personality. The events will take place at the University of Lagos and Freedom Park.

With a career spanning 40 years, Ben T as he is fondly called, is a playwright, dramatist, producer, director, cartoonist, broadcaster and journalist. He was the pioneer Arts Editor of The Guardian, leading Nigerian newspaper.

Writing a citation on him during his 50th birthday celebration in 2004, one of Nigeria’s distinguished poets and essayists, Afam Akeh describes Tomoloju as follows: “The hero-presence in a creation story is sometimes so significant that it becomes possible to engage with the whole story as a conflation of related hero-narratives. In this sense the modern origins o farts journalism in Nigeria can be constructed in the image of BEN TOMOLOJU, its most distinguished local luminary, and some his contemporaries. The Tomoloju story is significantly the pioneering story of the modern practice in Nigeria. It was thus fitting tribute that in celebrating his Fifties birthday inlate 2004, his media colleagues also find inspiration for a serious evaluation of the practice he gave his name”. (Position, International Arts Review, Vol.3Number 3).


Celebration Programme

DAY 1: FRIDAY, Dec. 19

Dance Drama @ Amphi Theatre, Freedom Park, Lagos.

5pm: Journey So Far:  A Dance for Ben T, by Guild of Nigerian Dancers (GOND).

Drama Presentation @ Amphi Theatre, Freedom Park, Lagos.

6pm: Cataclysm, directed by Oluwafunmilayo Olubukola: featuring Theatre Students, Lagos State University.

7pm:  Jankariwo, directed by Victoria Adeniyi; feat: Theatre Arts students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife)

DAY 2: SATURDAY, Dec. 20 @ University of Lagos, Akoka

1pm: Birthday Lecture: Thoughts on the Nigerian Media in a Deadly Season, by Prof Tony Afejuku (University of Benin)

Chaired by Prof. Niyi Osundare (University of New Orleans, USA)

Venues: Afe Babalola Hall

3pm: Books Presentation — Jankariwo; Flowers’ Introspect & Ben Tomoloju: Essentials of a Culture Communicator

Special Guest:  Baba Fred Agbeyegbe

Venues: Afe Babalola Hall

5pm: Cocktail Reception @ Arts Theatre Foyer

7pm: Drama Presentation @ Arts Theatre, UNILAG

MujeMuje directed by Michael Ajimati featuring Creative Arts students of UNILAG

Special Performance:

7pm: Jankariwo, directed by Victoria Adeniyi; featuring Theatre Arts Students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife)

Venue: Freedom Park, Lagos Island

DAY 3: SUNDAY Dec. 21 @ Freedom Park, Lagos

4pm: Arthouse Forum by Committee for Relevant Art, CORA

(Special: Screening of 60th Documentary Interview with Ben Tomoloju)

6pm: Concert & Poetry, by Seun Olota & Extasi Band; Segun Adefila & Crown Troupe of Africa.

7pm: Flowers Introspect, directed by Bayo Adesewo; featuring Arojah Royal Theatre Company, Abuja.

8pm: Iphigenia Finds Aiyelala; directed by Sina Ayodele; featuring Theatre Students of Lagos State University, LASU.


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