” Why I did not remarry”
Chief [Mrs] Abiodun Duro-Ladipo aka Moremi, Oya, who became a widow in her mid 30s did not remarry because no man could be like her late husband the late Yoruba Theatre Legend Duro Ladipo popularly known as Sango.On Thursday March 10, 2018 is the 40th anniversary of the death of the Yoruba Legend Duro Ladipo. She spoke with taiwoabiodun.com
With her Yoruba traditional plaited hair she looks more beautiful and attractive . Her stature did not betray her age .At 77 she did not look her age. Her average height combined with her fair complexion shows that she has been taking good care of her skin coupled with her good set of sparkling white teeth yet retains all the 32 teeth in her mouth.
Dangling on her neck is the beautiful beads supported by a golden chain the goddess wore .Beaming with smiles she answered all questions without bitterness .Her velvet voice is unique and reminds us the play ” Moremi Ajasoro “, a play where she acted the wife of Ile -Ife monarch early 70s.
This is the ever smiling , jovial and one of the most popular and honorable actress in Yoruba land Chief Abiodun Duro -Ladipo .However she still maintain her Ekiti accent that reveals where she came from
”My name is Chief Abiodun Duro- Ladipo also known as Moremi or Oya I met Duro Ladipo well over 50 years ago, precisely 1962.
The story began when I came to Oshogbo to stay with my sister hoping to become a Nurse. At a time I went to Duro Ladipo show while he was just setting up his Mbari Mbayo
Theatre group in Oshogbo where I acted in his play” .
How we started
Abiodun said her late husband was a school teacher when he started his Mbari Mbayo Theatre Group , “he loved culture and tradition but that does not mean he was a traditional worshiper , there is a big difference between Culture and Religion, whatever you bowed to is what you worship but culture and tradition is a different thing entirely. God says you should worship Him .Duro’s father was a Catechist, Duro was conversant with the Bible, he knew Genesis to Revelation.
“We later married but not without problems for my parents did not want me to marry outside my town because I was the first child of the family. My parents called him and they discussed unlike nowadays when a lady would just go with a man without putting culture and fear into it . My father said he should let me be conversant with home. And I discovered good thing in him and he too discovered something good in me and our body chemistry worked together .I begged him not to let me down and he fulfilled all his promises . I told him than I am the first born in the family and that I wanted to be a living good example and a mentor to my younger ones who were coming behind me and who they would looked up to.
Infact I have been acting for him in his Mbari Mbayo Theatre Group before we got married..I am happy to say God used him for me and it is vice versa”.
”The hairstyle on my head is called Moremi, it is different from Oya style.
I acted Moremi Ajasoro who was the wife of an Ife King.. The story of Moremi is the story of how Moremi gave herself away to be captured by the Igbo King and as a spy got the secrets of the enemies ( the Igbo) and gained freedom for Ife , this is the story of a woman called Moremi Ajasoro who rescued Ife from the Igbo, she vowed to sacrifice her only son,
Oluorogbo to the Esinrinmi river in Ife if she succeeded in her plan to rescue the Ifes from the Igbos”
Dearth of plays
The woman said ”It’s rare to see such our plays again , it is what happened in the olden days that we used to act as plays. But today our artistes did not even bother to do research for most of their plays are parlour plays or arm chair plays”.she however added that it is not all our traditions that are bad
Among the plays we staged are ;Oba Ko so, Beyi O se , Moremi , Oba Wa ja, Oba Moro, etc
We traveled to villages/ towns asking questions doing research on what we were going to do , we didn’t just sit down and act or do guess work. We don’t sit at home doing ” Parlour theater ” or an armchair plays
But today things have changed , the present crop of artistes are not doing enough’, she said.
Do they observe sacrifices or performed rituals before they go on stage ?
”We don’t do sacrifice and dont offer any rituals but we put all things in God’s hands”,she said.
Asked whether her husband used supernatural powers to perform when fire is coming out from his mouth, Sango? The woman laughed and said ” I don’t know, it is only Duro who could answer such question”, she added ” Duro has taken away his fire”
Can we compare Duro Ladipo’s Sango with today’s Sango
She said laughed and screamed ” May God help us . We have different types of Sango now. Many have seen what they are longing to see in Sango , some in the name of wanting to be Sango would pour ,,,into their mouths and Sango himself will come back and hit them and wipe their face”
Did the river Esinrinmi trulyt exist? , she was asked, she replied ”The river is still there in Ile Ife. It is there .It is still being worshiped .Yes”
On why she refused to marry despite being young when her husband died , but the woman screamed ”Who will marry Sango Olukoso’s wife? Nobody,
Yes , I wasn’t up to 40 years when Duro Ladipo died .People asked same question but how many men can behave as Duro behaved? .How many can perform the duties and roles Duro played ? Come . I don’t want to be remembering that …”
”Yes , I heard a lot of stories about his death, by then he was hospitalized at the UCH and then I didn’t know where I was . But people speculated that there was thunder, some said it rained , and some also said series of things happened but above all the University College Hospital ( UCH), Ibadan knew they received visitors.”
Many sang his praises
‘Yes, many sang songs for him ,I released a record for him after his death too”
To be continued ..read about Duro -Ladipo’s beard, struggles, costumes,, etc