Biyi Bandele, a prolific playwright, novelist, and seasoned Nigerian film director died on Sunday 7th of August 2022 in Lagos, Nigeria. His death was announced by Temi Bandele, the daughter of the iconic filmmaker via the social media platform, Facebook.
She said, “I am heartbroken to share my father’s sudden and unexpected death. Biyi was a prodigiously talented writer and filmmaker, as well as a loyal friend and beloved father.
He was a storyteller to his bones, with an unblinking perspective, singular voice and wisdom which spoke boldly through all of his art, in poetry, novels, plays and on screen. He told stories which made a profound impact and inspired many all over the world. His legacy will live on through his work.
He was taken from us much too soon. He had already said so much so beautifully and had so much more to say. We ask everyo to please respect the privacy of his family and friends as we grieve his loss”.
The demise of the director of “Half of a Yellow Sun” came as a shock to all and sundry, especially as this comes a few weeks before the premiere of the historic film he directed for Netflix and EbonyLife, “Elesin Oba”.
The life of Biyi Bandele
The United Kingdom-based Nigerian novelist, playwright and filmmaker was born in 1967 and was raised in Kafanchan, Kaduna, the Northern part of Nigeria.
This was a period when war was one of the major topics in the country. The iconic writer revealed that this period shaped his path to becoming a writer. With his pen, he charted his course in the creative space. At 14 years old, he won a short-story competition.
In 1987, he gained admission into the University of Ife (previously Obafemi Awolowo university). This was followed by winning different creative competitions.
In 1989, with his work ‘Rain’, he won the International Student Playscript competition. The following year, he received the British Council Lagos Award for a collection of poems.
With this, in 1990, he relocated to London at the age of 22. He has been making his mark in different fields such as writing fictional works, theatre, journalism, television, film and radio.
To this, he has accolades for directing some blockbuster movies such as SHUGA: What’s Your Reality, FELA – Father of Afrobeat (2018), a T.V. special documentary for the BBC, and his self-produced TV-Movie documentary, Africa States of Independence (2010). He also co-directed Netflix’s Nigerian original series “Blood Sisters”.