Adeyemi Afolayan died about 24 years ago from stroke complications but his memory lives on. Ade Love, as he was fondly called, was an actor, director, producer and playwright. In 1966, he joined Moses Olaiya’s troupe and by 1971, he had created his own. He caught his big break in 1976, acting in Ola Balogun’s “Ajani Ogun”. According to Premium Times, it was also one of the first commercially successful Nigerian films.
He went on to appear in other films such as “Ija Ominira” (1978), in which he produced and played the lead role of ‘rebel leader’. He also wrote, produced and acted in ‘Kadara’ in 1980. Some of his other notable works include “Taxi Driver 1 & 2” (1983 & 1987). Ade love produced eight feature films and composed a few songs, inspired by Indian movies.
He was a man in love with telling visual stories from top to bottom and some of his children caught the bug too. Kunle, Gabriel, Aremu and Moji Afolayan have kept his legacy and are all respected members of the Nollywood industry their father helped to build.
Kunle Afolayan is perhaps the most successful and dedicated of them all. Although his father tried to discourage him from acting and filmmaking, Kunle found his way back to the art. He had initially taken his father’s advice and studied business administration at Lagos State Polytechnic before taking a job at a bank. But he couldn’t stay away from filmmaking for too long.
He got his first taste of acting as a ‘waka-pass’ on his father’s set but it was Tunde Kelani that gave him his first real acting gig. He featured on the highly acclaimed “Saworoide” in 1999, playing the role of “Arese Jabata”. He went on to feature in a few other movies, all the while working in the Bank until 2005 when he resigned. He had gotten an idea for a movie and decided to enrol in a course in digital film-making at the New York Film Academy.
When he came back to Nigeria, he set up his production company – Golden Effects Picture. He has since gone on to produce multiple feature films. He lifted the bar for storytelling, production and directing in modern Nollywood with the release of his 2006 movie, “Irapada”. Some of his other producer/director credits include, “October 1”, “The CEO”, “ The Figurine”, “Phone Swap”, “Mokalik”, “Roti” and “The Tribunal”. He also acts in some of his movies, either in major or minor roles. Kunle Afolayan recently released Citation, a movie that takes on the sexual harassment rampant in Nigerian universities, featuring billionaire daughter, Temi Otedola, in her debut role.
Moji Afolayan – Olayiwola is the Ade Love’s first daughter and his only child to hold a real role in the late filmmaker’s movie. She first appeared in “Iya Ni Wura” (1985) as an extra, then in “Idi Oromi” in 1991, playing the lead role. Kunle Afolayan told Punch, “ My sister, Moji, featured in his last film, Eyin Oku (Events after death), in 1992. She has continued to appear in various movies since then.
Moji has also dabbled into film production, releasing her first film, “Tojubole” in 2012. She appears more in Yoruba movies and is highly respected amongst her peers in that industry. She features in a lot of movies produced by her husband, Rasaq Olayiwola, popularly known as Ojopagogo. Some of her most popular movies include, “Orisa Opoki”, “Ikoko Emi”, “Se Ala Ni” and many more.
Gabriel Afolayan is one of the most versatile actors in Nollywood, playing different roles and refusing to be boxed in. He got his first taste of acting in 1990 in “F Opawon”, a film produced by Baba Sala. But he became popular after his appearance in Tade Ogidan’s 2005 movie, “Madam Dearest”. His role as ‘Akin’ on Super Story’s “Nnena”, however, cemented his place in Nollywood.
Gabriel put in time and money into his training as an actor and it has made him one of the best acts in Nigeria. He first studied Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan and later went on to study performing arts at the Identity Drama School, Brixton, London. He has featured in multiple movies, most of which are blockbusters. Some of his movies include, “Tatu”, “King Invincible” where he plays the role of Prince Adetiba, “Gold Statue”, and “Okafor’s Law”.
Asides from being an incredible actor, he is also a musician. He started his music career in 1997 as a backup singer. Under the name G-Fresh, he has released over thirty songs. He describes his music as ‘love ballads’ inspired by the likes of 2Baba, Banky W, Asa and Bez. He also owns a multimedia company, Studio 6 and has an endorsement with a major telecommunications company, Airtel Nigeria. He describes his role on a 2016 Airtel commercial as his most memorable yet. He told Pulse, “it’s quite challenging when you have to act without saying a word. It says a lot about you going into the zone of your character, so we have to play a lot with facial expressions and body language.”
Aremu Afolayan is the youngest of the four popular siblings upholding their father’s legacy. He was also the last to join Nollywood, only appearing in his first movie in 2007. He told Encomium Magazine that he had joined acting because of his passion. He said, “I didn’t join the movie industry because my father was an actor, but joined simply because I am in love with the profession.”
Just like his elder sister, Moji, he appears mostly in Yoruba films. He believes that Jaiye Kuti’s 2008 movie, “Ewon Laafin” helped make him a popular name in the movie industry. He has since appeared in other movies like, “Idamu Akoto”, “Ahun”, “Gbajumo”, and “Omolakeji”. Just like all of Ade Love’s children, Aremu also dabbled into production releasing movies like “Ina” and “Ina Fitila”.