Title:-Saworoide (Yoruba Movie)

Producer:-Tunde Kelani

Director:-Tunde Kelani

Screenplay:-Akinwumi Isola

Main cast:-Kola Oyewo, Kunle Bamitefa, Bukky Wright, Kunle Afolayan

Location:-Osun State

Duration:-Part 1 and 2 – One hour, Forty Four minutes and eight seconds (1:44)

Date of Release:-1999

Movie Rating:-Eight (8)

Reviewer:-David-Ayabiogbe, Timothy – 15BE02266

Synopsis:-Saworoide by Tunde Kelani

The King of Jogbo, Lapite, has decided to make money rather than serve as he ascends the throne. Lapite eliminates all forms of opposition by harassing them into exile.

The rightful heir to the throne Adebolu is killed and Ayangalu, the official drummer who escapes into exile raises Adebola, the only child of Adebolu. Lapite takes a new wife as he embarks on an exploitation of the resources of forest trees.

The townspeople are ruthlessly forced to stop their protest. In desperation, the youths decided to employ violence and seize the royal crown which by tradition must not leave the palace.

Lapite, in desperation seeks military aid by engaging Lagata a retired military officer. Lagata kills Lapite and over thrones his kingdom. The youths turn to Amawomawo, the chief priest for help and he works with the drummer to get the Saworoide played on the day of coronation, which causes Lagata to die mysteriously. Adebola becomes king eventually.

Elements of Production

Extreme close shot – It was used at the beginning of the movie when the camera was placed closed to the drum.

Long shot – This was used to show the center of the village when people were jubilating.

High Angle – This is when the camera was placed diagonally on Lagata when he was reading a speech to people.


Close up shot


Long shot


Medium shot


The movie paid highly attention to detail and the use of sweet sounding songs and chants drives home a few points. Saworoide thrives on very witty performances from the main characters. The movie consists of many legendary Yoruba film actors. Kola Oyewo, who seems to have appeared the most times, brings A-game with every scene, portraying qualities of villain with such cleverness. Lere Piamo and Larinde Akinleye’s performances as greedy eye-servicing chiefs are very good. Also, Adebayo Faleti entertains us with his proverbial songs and sarcasm.

The subtitle of Saworoide is accurately done, though not so perfect. Compared to the translations done in our present day indigenous movies were incantations are subtitled as “INCANTATIONS,” Saworoide does a complete work in order to carry the non-Yoruba audience along, and does it very well.

Saworoide also shines more light on the great and impressive beauty of tradition, the myth of folklore and the allure of African art in a way that isn’t forced. One of the examples of tradition in the movie is that the royal crown must not leave the palace. The movie was able to merge Yoruba culture into one hour forty-five minutes without rendering us confused.

There is some certain negativity about the movie also. For example, there are parts in the subtitle that would have been better off not seen. An example is the scene where certain people dance without any words spoken and is subtitled as ‘Arapa and Arese are dancing. An Arapa advance towards her opponent…….This information only belongs on the script and not our screens. 

The sound of the gunshot and wounds are evidently poorly executed, the blood seeming like wet paint diluted with water. That Baba Opalaba remains at one spot throughout the entire movie, from Lapite’s ascension on the throne to Lagata’s ascension fifteen years later without aging seems so ridiculous. Pertaining to age, the only obvious signs that fifteen years have passed are the characters of Arapa and Arese. Everyone looks identical with their fifteen-years-ago selves.


Conclusion:-Notwithstanding the flaws, Saworoide is an all time Yoruba Classic that ridicules the corrupt practices in government. The movie teaches a lesson. No leader or person should side-step any correct installation procedure.

Favorite quote – White cloth longs for indigo dye, first part of a statement cries for the second.