Zulu Sofola

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Zulu Sofola (22 June 1935 – 5 September 1995)[1] was the first published female Nigerian playwright and dramatist.[2] Sofola was also a university teacher and became the first female Professor of Theater Arts in Africa.


Nwazuluwa Onuekwuke Sofola[3] was born in Bendel State to parents who were Igbo from Issele-Uku in Delta State. Spending her adolescence and early womanhood in the USA, she studied at Southern Baptist Seminary, earned a BA in English at Virginia Union University and an MA in drama (1965) from The Catholic University of America.[1] She returned to Nigeria in 1966, and was a lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, where she obtained a PhD.

She also taught Drama at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria, where she was appointed Head of Department for the Performing Arts. Sofola was a singer, dancer, as well as a prolific playwright. She wrote and directed many plays for stage and television, including her own work, such as King Emene. Her plays "range from historical tragedy to domestic comedy and use both traditional and modern African setting".[4] She uses "elements of magic, myth and ritual to examine conflicts between traditionalism and modernism in which male supremacy persists."[5] She was considered one of the most distinguished women in Nigerian literature.[6]

Sofola's most frequently performed plays are Wedlock of the Gods (1972) and The Sweet Trap (1977),[5] She died in 1995 at the age of 60.

Selected works[edit]

  • The Deer Hunter and The Hunter's Pearl (1969), London: Evans Brothers.
  • The Disturbed Peace of Christmas (1971), Ibadan: Daystar Press.
  • Wedlock of the Gods (1972), Ibadan: Evans.
  • The Operators, Ibadan: Ibadan University, 1973.
  • King Emene: Tragedy of a Rebellion (1974), Heinemann Educational Books. ISBN 0-435-92860-0
  • The Wizard of Law (1975), Evans Bros. ISBN 0-237-49951-7
  • The Sweet Trap (1977); Ibadan: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-575386-0
  • Old Wines Are Tasty (1981), Ibadan: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-154-499-6
  • Memories in the Moonlight (1986), Ibadan: Evans Brothers.
  • Queen Omu-ako of Oligbo, Buffalo: Paul Robeson Theatre, 1989.
  • Eclipso and the Fantasia, Illorin, Nigeria: 1990.
  • The Showers, Illorin, Nigeria: 1991.
  • Song of a Maiden: A Play, Illorin, Nigeria: Heinemann, 1992.
  • Lost Dreams and Other Plays, Ibadan: Heinemann, 1992.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gikandi, Simon (2002), Encyclopedia of African Literature, Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23019-5 - p. 502
  • Gilbert, H. (1996), Post-Colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics, Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09024-5 - p. 183 (on Sofola's use of proverbs).
  • Kolawole, M. E. M. (1999), Zulu Sofola: her life & her works, Caltop Publications (Nigeria). ISBN 978-33187-9-9


  1. ^ a b Biography, ′Zulu Sofola official website.
  2. ^ "Nigeria's female writers have arrived" Archived May 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Sun newspaper (Nigeria), 11 December 2005.
  3. ^ Ifeanyi Iyegbu, "Nwazuluwa Onuekwuke Sofola"[permanent dead link], Issele-Uku Association of North America.
  4. ^ Margaret Busby, Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent, London: Jonathan Cape, 1992, p. 450.
  5. ^ a b "Sofola, Zulu", in Martin Banham, Errol Hill & George Woodyard (eds), The Cambridge Guide to African & Caribbean Theatre, Cambridge University Press, 1994; p. 82.
  6. ^ Africa Database Archived October 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]