Koto Orun

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By Abidemi Dairo

In the early 90s, not every Nigerian home could boast of a television set, so it was a common thing for children to hang around the homes of their lucky friends whose parents could afford one. Although it is at a time when most states can only boast of a single television channel, there still appear to be options for people with good reception and can pick signals from the neighbouring states’ television transmission. So, often family members can be at loggerhead on what channel to watch at a particular time. While the kids and teens may want to watch Voltron on one channel, an older sibling’s choice may be to catch Chaka Chaka’s new music video on another channel. Or more annoyingly, it could be Voltron and Super Ted showing on different stations at the same time. Cunning stations having at the viewers; yes, they do it on purpose! However at this time, a particular television film series championed the screen and got everybody glued in harmony. During its run time all television sets, especially in the Yoruba speaking part of the country, are tuned in. It is the Ajilaye’s classic drama series, ‘Koto Orun’. This captivating Yoruba epic film centres on witchcraft focusing on the many duels between the good witches and the evil ones. It drew in a lot of viewership that eventually it was adapted into a VHS format for sales.

The plot

Set in the pre-colonial era, a certain village was besieged by witches who torment the villagers at will. Although the evil witches are often confronted by the good ones, referred to as “aje funfun” (the white witches) in the movie, it wasn’t enough to rid the town of these evil ones’ infestation. However, in response to the plight of the people of the village, the gods promised them a saviour who will be delivered by one of the kings wives that will conquer the evil witches. So the witches, including the king’s first wife, came up with schemes after schemes to kill the prophesised bearer of the messiah.

The film’s interpretation by the cast and director was also awesome. Comic relief was injected by Tajudeen Akanmu, who was starred as Koledowo the son of a prominent witch, Oyiboyi. The manner with which the unborn saviour, Oriade, also comes from the spirit world to save his mother at her helpless period also added some mystic feel to the series with a touch of complete ingenuity.


The line up of the cast was also impressive; it had the big names in the Yoruba movie industry then. Actors primarily known as their characters, the way Sylvester Stallone is popularly called Rambo. It starred Mama Mi Leko, Abija, Olofa Ina, Koledowo, Oyiboyi and Adeola amongst many others. They all managed to get the viewers locked on, at least for a while. At some point the producers ineptly pushed the franchise beyond its limit. Basking in the euphoria of its warm reception, they stretched the series into other titles including ‘Koto Ola, ‘Koto Aye’, ‘Ayetoto’ and some other titles, without properly concluding the original series. Viewers got bored and the series inevitably lost its catch on its viewers; it had outlived its attention grabbing prowess. Even though the franchise didn’t end with the hype it garnered, the cast members all went ahead to enjoy more success in the movie business taking with them their ‘Koto Orun’ fans.

Jun1711 Throwback
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