De­cem­ber 8, 2018

The Punch - - SATURDAY BEAT -

Ac­tor Wale Ade­bayo be­came pop­u­lar in 1997 when the movie – Sango – in which he played the lead role, was re­leased. Till date, he is fondly re­ferred to as Sango by many members of the pub­lic. In a chat with Satur­day Beats, he sym­pa­thised with a stu­dent of the Univer­sity of Ibadan who re­cently got burnt while play­ing the part of Sango. Shar­ing his own ex­pe­ri­ence while play­ing the role for a church play, he said, “I have been play­ing the part of Sango since I was a kid. Even when I was in the church, we had a cul­tural troupe and I al­ways acted Sango and of course, I would need to make fire come out of my mouth.

“This was in 1988. When I got into the univer­sity in 1992, the church was open­ing our Ibadan mis­sion­ary build­ing. The Catholic Youth Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Nige­ria pre­sented a cul­tural play as we had al­ways done since we were chil­dren. Dur­ing the play, when all the ladies bowed be­fore Sango, I came from be­hind and breathed fire.

“What I had al­ways done, which worked was to put kerosene in my mouth and spit it out, then the fire comes out. That has al­ways been the rou­tine. On this par­tic­u­lar day, rev­erend fa­thers, gov­er­nors, and other dig­ni­taries were seated. I did my nor­mal stuff, but un­for­tu­nately for me, the play was done out­doors and it was a windy day. I did not take cog­ni­sance of the wind and that was how I got burnt. I still have the scars on my hand till date.

“Im­me­di­ately I breathed the fire with kerosene in my mouth, the wind blew it back at me. My mother was in the crowd, I am her only son and she was so scared that I heard her shout be­fore I started feel­ing the pain. I still had to fin­ish the show. So, any­time some­one tags me in any of those Sango mishaps on so­cial me­dia, they do not know that I quickly go to the vic­tim’s page to make sure the per­son is al­right. I would make a com­ment and prob­a­bly fol­low the per­son. Peo­ple do not know why I do that but it is be­cause I have had a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore.”

He hinted that there could be more to such ex­pe­ri­ences than meets the eye.

“I would not say that it is di­a­bol­i­cal but there are things that are just be­yond ex­pla­na­tion when it comes to the African cul­ture and re­li­gion. We might have suc­cess­fully alien­ated our­selves from it but it is some­thing we should take se­ri­ously. I am con­fused. I know my re­li­gion as a Catholic is strong but I also know that when we were prac­tis­ing the African re­li­gion, it was strong as well.

“Any­thing that has al­ways been strong has the po­ten­tial to haunt you if you dis­re­spect it. For me, if we dis­re­spect our deities, they would come back to haunt us. If we go out of our way to dis­re­spect it, there would be con­se­quences re­gard­less of how lit­tle they are. There are sto­ries that I could tell but I would not want to go into them,” he said.

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