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Moremi The Musical returns, boldly

Moremi Legend

What was it like for Moremi Ajasoro, an Ife queen; to leave everything she had, including ‘perks of office’ to liberate her people from the hands of enemies? What could have made her think she would save the community, which was ravaged by wars? And what could have made Moremi to think that when the enemies captured her, she would be able to get their secret? When she was taken captive, did they travel under cover of night? Did they hide among the trees during the day?

Humanity may never know all the ananswers, because the historical record is so sparse. But what is indisputable is that Moremi saved Ife from the hands of enemies.

From April 18 to May 5, 2019 at the Terra Kulture, Lagos, some of the reasons Moremi acted the way she did would be unveiled in Queen Moremi The Musical, which is coming back for its second season.

Fresh off from their major sell out of their ‘December to Remember’ show, the executive producers, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi and Chief Olufunsho Amosun, wife of the governor of Ogun State, and the director, Bolanle Austen-Peters, are set to have another shutdown show this Easter.

Queen Moremi the Musical is a revolutionary show as it has surpassed just being a form of entertainment but a key awareness to the present conversation about feminism and women leadership

The musical retells the story of Oloori Moremi, who lived in the 12th century and was married to the then king of Ile Ife, a kingdom that is said to have been at war with an adjoining tribe who were known to them as the Forest people (Ìgbò in the Yoruba language, though the said tribe is believed by scholars to have had no relation to the contemporary Ìgbòs of modern Nigeria).

These people were enslaving scores of Ife citizens, and because of this they were generally regarded with disdain by the Yoruba city-states.

Moremi was a very brave and beautiful woman who, in order to deal with the problem facing her people, offered her only son in sacrifice to the Spirit of the river Esimirin so that she could discover the strength of her nation’s enemies.

She is said to have been taken as a slave by the Igbo and, due to her beauty, married their ruler as his anointed queen. After familiarising herself with the secrets of her new husband’s army, she escaped to Ile-Ife and revealed this to the Yorubas who were able to subsequently defeat them in battle.

In order to fulfil the pledge she made to Esimirin before embarking on her mission, her son Olurogbo was given in sacrifice to the Spirit because this is what it asked her for when she returned to its shrine.

The performance has as thematic preoccupation sacrificial leadership that gives all to the service of the people just to build and have a better society.

The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, while endorsing the play for its historical and cultural significance, raised the need for women to be given a pride of place in the country.

Recalling the role of Moremi Ajasoro, he said she signified great leadership and great leaders always put the love of their people before themselves.

The traditional ruler of Ife and Arole of Oodua said, “women shouldn’t be categorised as weaker sex. We should encourage them to play pivotal role in developing the society.”

His Majesty said, “we have to nurture women in the society as their roles are not enough. That’s why we are bringing the Moremi story back. It is also very important to tell our story. Moremi is a goddess of liberty, the basis of her belief, which is the foundation United States of America (USA) was built. For us, we are out to uphold our heritage and culture.”

While stressing that they should be supported and encouraged to add value to the society, Ooni said, “women are the best things God has created… They give back everything you give them in multiples.”

Ooni affirmed that the existence of the Yoruba race owes much to the legacy of Moremi, the central character of the drama.

“We’re nearly 500million people all over the world. We’re almost 100million in Brazil. We’re spread across many countries over the world. The play was well accepted in December. I am proud to say now that schools are beginning to replicate that theatre initiative in their various schools and in the extra-curricula activities. They are trying to impact the lessons learnt from Moremi. It’s very important to uphold our heritage and culture and for us to know where we are coming from. Nobody can tell our own story the way we can tell our story.

He added that the promotion of the musical would not be limited to the country, stressing that it move to countries such as Brazil, Cuba and United Kingdom as soon as sponsors are available.

Also speaking, Ademiluyi, the Global Ambassador to Queen Moremi Ajasoro (QMA), said, “the actual story of the amazon Moremi encourages young women to take up leadership roles and identify themselves with greatness.”

She said, “Moremi was a true feminist and was the ultimate girl power. She was a woman in charge of her own destiny. A story worth telling indeed to inspire young women.”

Ademiluyi added, “Queen Moremi The Musical enables us to tell the story of Moremi in a way that appeals to the new generation of millennials.”

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