It was a busy Sunday afternoon at the Blue Roof LTV8, Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, Lagos. As expected, the hall was packed full of who-is-who in the Yoruba film industry. It was the celebration of the golden jubilee anniversary of veteran actress, Olanrewaju Hassan Adesina, popularly called Iya Awero.
The celebration was the promotion of African culture, in particular the Yoruba culture, as the celebrant’s friends and colleagues were all dressed in uniformed attire otherwise called Aso-Ebi in Yoruba. It was an avenue to promote Yoruba traditions. The language of the day was Yoruba while traditional Yoruba dishes were served. The music was also traditional with instruments like talking drum, agogo accompanying the high-life, fuji music performed. Also, a short drama was staged by the PEFTI Film Institute.
So many dignitaries, prominent actors of Nollywoood, friends, relatives, fans and supporters came in large number to show their support and appreciation for Mama Awero. There was also a short comedy performance by popular Hafiz Oyetoro, aka ‘Saka,’ to trill the audience.
Adebayo Salami, well known actor and film producer in his tribute to the celebrant, said: “Mama is a lover of theatre art and she is much disciplined. From the days of Ojo Ladipo she has always been in charge of money. We started together, even though she is older than I with a year, she is always patient.” Veteran actor, Dejumo Lewis also extolled Iya Awero’s acting skill and diligence.
International actress, Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, reviewed the book “Why am not retired at 72” written in honour of Hassan. “This is used as a special occasion, especially to celebrate women that have been acting,” she said in the review. “Mama started this career path at a young age, without her parents’ knowledge, before Wole Soyinka had sent her a letter to study theatre arts. Mama has been on stage for 50 years disseminating idea’s and promoting cultures. This is a testimony to God, thank you all very much. I urge for a union between the Yoruba actors and the drama actors, they are all one. Theatre is theatre.”
In her goodwill message, Abimbola Fashola, the first lady of Lagos State, said as a lover of Yoruba movies, it was important for her to celebrate the contributions of Iya Awero to the development of Yoruba films. “Iya Awero we love you, you are beautiful inside out. She lives in Ikorodu, so she is my constituency. I am here to support you. I thank you for what you have done over the years. God bless you,” she said.