Professor Samuel Ayedime Kafewo is Dead

Samuel Ayedime Kafewo was a Professor of Theatre & Media Studies with the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He joined the services of the university in 1992 and served as head of Drama, Postgraduate Coordinator, Member University Senate & Congregation, member University Documentation Committee where he produced several documentaries that have been aired on national television, being a faculty representative on several committees and currently the head, Department of Theatre and Performing Arts.

Kafewo taught and examined undergraduate and postgraduate courses for over two decades and attended several national and international conferences and workshops.
He published extensively in local and international journals among which are the Nigerian Theatre Journal, New Theatre Quarterly, and Journal of Reproductive Health Matters, Network 2000 USA, Canadian Journal of Comparative Literature, SAFARA based in the University Of Gason Berger Senegal. His areas of research interest include among others Popular/Theatre for Development, representation of women in the media-Film and television, Theatre history and dramatic theory and criticism.

He served as member, college of Screeners for the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMA) for years. He also attended film festivals at home and abroad among which are FESPACO and Zuma.

The accident that snatched Prof Sam Kafewo (SONTA General Secretary) and Dr Martins Ayegba from us has been a shocking and heavy news that left many of us devastated. It is a descention of thick darkness that ordinary eyes cannot see through. We look up unto God for illumination. Never again, oh God!

All SONTA members and indeed all artistes should please be in serious prayers to intercede for those still on critical list in the hospital to survive. This heavy load of death burden must not increase.

May the Good Lord comfort us all, most especially the families of our departed colleagues. God, lighten our heavy burden and let this pass over us also. Peace divine.

Prof S.E. Ododo, fsonta
President, SONTA.


PROFESSOR SAM KAFEWO: It cannot be Sam. Not now!! we spoke only yesterday!!! What of our numerous unfinished projects? The books currently in print, the car you made deposits for, the Black history month project? The examinations you spoke about? SONTA 2014 arrangements and logistics for the next Sonta exco meeting which you promised the President you would finalize work on by friday when you hope to return from Abuja?

What of NUTAF 2014? You have a great role to play as one of its pillars! You even concluded all arrangements for your students to attend, remember? What of our little secrets? We have lots and lots of unfinished businesses remember? It cannot be SAMUEL AYEDIME KAFEWO. …………Haaah, it's a lie!!! Cross my heart!!!

He was a bubbling ATASITE back in Jos. A professional stage manager!, a Kegite, a student whose grades were far taller than he was. A smart intelligent scholar. Ever ready 'talkito'. From 1990 to date he proved himself a dedicated Sonta member, one of the pillars behind the success of our sonta exco (2009-2013), our powerful sec gen 2011 to date. He was a strong member of the ITI and IATC Nigeria, a co-consultant on the British Council Creative Industries mapping project. He made my leadership of the technical working committee lighter. Phew! we spent the whole of the ASUU strike period working on how to establish the economic contributions of the creative arts to the Nigerian economy.

The report of our pilot study was submitted to government only few weeks back. I was looking forward to us conducting the country wide survey together as agreed soonest. Did you really accept to take a bow this soon? Who will be my co-traveller on this project? Who will understand the sacrifices and dreams we shared about how this project will shape the future of the creative industries in Nigeria. Death nearly snatched you off my hands during one of our working sessions in Lagos only three months back but God gave you the grace to bounce back in twenty hours plus, we laughed calling death a Woman. Little did we know that she chose to lay another ambush on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway seven days into the month of February 2014.  

How can it be true, after such a brilliant presentation you made at the workshop in Abuja which was reported only yesterday on national television. Who would have known she wouldn't let you get back to your ever loving and supportive wife and family in Zaria? Who would have known you were on NTA and AIT News biding Nigerias farewell? Who would have known you were discussing problems of the Nigerian Theatre and development for the last time? You told me only two days ago to prepare for the external examination of some of your PG candidates. I told you I still have your letter of appointment as one of our external examiners in NSUK waiting for your collection.

You told me to keep it till Feb 23rd when you would be visiting my department with your students to stage Jeffrey Stetson's The Meeting.  How would I have known you wouldn't be at the viva you labored to arrange for your students including Mrs Liman whose PhD thesis you were to send to me next week? How would I have known you didn't pick your letter of appointment because you weren't sure you would be here at the end of the session to viva my students? you should have told me. I am sure you didn't know.

You are not known to keep vital information from your friends what more such a shocking news about exiting the stage of life at noon! Tor and I now understand why you wanted us to conclude work on the Abah book in a hurry. You informed the world about Tor's Profssorial chair only few days back, how would we know you chose your classmate's chair as the last to announce on SONTA Platform! Ah!! I pray it is already April first, then I can understand that it is only another April fool. BUT IT IS NOT YET APRIL! The grief is MUCH!!

By Prof Eman Dandaura, fsonta
Immediate Past SONTA president. 

Dear Professor Ododo, 

We are in great shock! 
The news of the passing of Professor Samuel Kafewo, General Secretary of SONTA has come to us as a rude shock.  On behalf of the staff and students of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, we commiserate with all members of SONTA and pray that God would grant the family the fortitude to bear this great loss.

Peju Layiwola,
Associate Professor of Art History

Ag. Head, Department of Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria.


For Sam Kafewo, No More Tears!

It has taken me three full days to confirm the rumour which came that dark Friday afternoon through Charles Nwadigwe. Tor echoed it; LOB queried it; Ododo monitored it (he did not want to believe it too); but Dandaura amplified it and as if to make it long-lasting sent a text. Darkness enveloped my football pitch-size car park where I sought to have a bit of nature’s free air. I called three SONTA fellows immediately: LOB, Egwugwu Illah and Dauda Enna. I was the baby in their midst; they consoled me. I declared three days of mourning! Three days of gloom, weeping, always trying to assure myself that the nightmare would soon be over but nay! Yes, it was Nwadigwe who spoilt my day at exactly 17.23hours that bloody, gloomy Friday. I tried to shot him up but he insisted. And now I know better.

Death is a thief, a monster, a reaper of other men’s fields, an impostor, a coward! Some weeks ago, early in the year, La Vonda Staples made a mockery of you, yes you, you unwanted impostor to every household! Yes, she made fun of you when she wrote her own epitaph before she closed her eyes. We all laughed and laughed at your emptiness on the USAAfrica Dialogue listserve. You felt offended and so decided to lay an ambush on that hot Friday afternoon. Yes, you connived with that evil cowardly Friday to plan a revenge mission. Death, I say you are a coward. I am not afraid of you anymore. Only cowards take their foes by surprise. And you are a coward! Only cowards like you are afraid of you, oh death!

But why Sam and in this season? I wondered! Why couldn’t Sam decipher the handwriting on the wall of that dark Friday? Sam of all people! You were (nay, are) too smart, too cerebral to fall so easily a prey. How shall we all react at SONTA? Ah, Sam, you have given death a chance to laugh at us in the House. Yes, our House is under siege and the walls are cracking, cracking.

You did everything in a hurry, Sam. I should have known why you were so much in a hurry to leave the market. If you knew you wanted to leave that early, why did you pile up so much for us to carry? Not many months ago, you sang your obsequies for Nasidi, that cerebral lot who decided to undertake his journey right in the place of worship. You railed at him for departing too suddenly. But you, you have done worse, bros! Now, our hearts are too heavy to understand, our eyes too wet to see, our minds too gloomy to perceive or think. Ah Sam, you have not done well! You have deceived too many of us whom you brought to the market and left us in the middle of the bargain. Now our enemies laugh us to scorn. If I could speak with my father who took his own journey about a decade ago, I would implore him to send you back but he too has kept mute and his ears locked to us on this side.

For you Sam, no more tears. The bleeding has been sutured; my heart is only singing a song. Adieu, then, Sam!

Ameh Dennis Akoh
(Still trying to hold back the tears)

Ameh Dennis Akoh, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Drama and Critical Theory
College of Humanities & Culture
Osun State University, Ikire Campus
+2348035992490, +2348050293410, +2347081485254


Here I am LORD, I return to you FATHER.

“We ought not to court publicity for our virtue, or notoriety for our
zeal; but, at the same time, it is a sin to be always seeking to hide
that which God has bestowed upon us for the good of others.”
 – Charles Spurgeon

Prof Tor Iorapuu.


Re: For Sam Kafewo, No More Tears!

Akoh, thanks and may we be consoled though so difficult. Dandaura would always say "I am not capable of interfering in matters involving two classmates" (that's between Sam and I). But here is the message we all missed: Three times the Lord called Sam and we never saw it coming. Sam's body language and rapid response attitude showed it, but we all were too naive to see or understand. The first call came I guess during the SONTA in Keffi or a similar event.

Recall his accident in Kaduna driving with Jenks. The Second call was last year during the cultural mapping event in Lagos, when his body forced him to slow down and was hospitalized for almost a week. The last call was a violent, violent blast!!! But Sam in his usual way said "LORD here I am, I am ready to return to you. The journey you sent me, I have fulfilled the part I could, the rest I guess, Tor, Asigbo, Akoh, Ododo, Doki, Rasheed, Danduara and many others I am unable to mention because of the manner YOU chose to call me this third time, will be finished by these I am leaving behind. Thank you LORD nevertheless for the scandalous generosity upon my life on this side. Here I am LORD, I return to you FATHER".

THURSDAY NIGHT, Sam was the last person I spoke to before I went to bed. We had agreements and I sent him a message to Prof. Abah which he delivered that same night. I however observed that he was not looking good and I suggested he should take a break. A break indeed he has taken! What a shame.

May we all be consoled. The challenges he has left us with are greater. He will only rest well if we do not disappoint him. We know he hated and would still disappointment even now.
Sleep well our Small but Mighty brother and friend.



The death of these great Thespians is nothing but a national tragedy and we must make it so. These were Thespians on whose shoulders the burden of continuing the legacies of past and living masters rested.
I call on all Theatre Arts Departments, all associations and parastatas to honor these great minds who left us at a time that they should be reaping the fruits of their labour..
SONTA and NANTAP should please, come together to work this out and communicate all Departments.
May the soul of our departed friends and colleagues find favour with their Maker and may He grant us all, their families and      Department the fortitude to bear these monumental loses. May we NEVER witness such again.
From God we came and unto Him is our return.

Tunji Azeez, PhD


Truly, I wonder if many of us understand the gravity of the loss of these three great academics. The truth is that they represent a generation of the brightest Nigerians today in academics in the areas TfD and Community Theatre; an area that ABU is grounded and holds authority nationally. The pain is enormous and heart rendering, and crushing for one department to bear. I state again, that very vibrant voices just got extinguished from SONTA with the sad, and untimely exit of these wonderful scholars. Sincere sympathy to their families.
 If this is fate, why do we struggle
 if this is the end, why did we begin?
Adieu friends
we didn't know that you were on board the Titanic.

John Iwuh


Professor Jenks Zakari Okwori

With very heavy heart I yet announce the demise of  another SONTA member, Professor Jenks Zakari Okwori, whom we earnestly approached God to spear for us and lessen our death toll in the unfortunate auto-crash of last Friday on Abuja-Kaduna road. Just when we are making arrangements to commit Sam and Martins to Mother Earth, the gate of heaven creaked open once again. LORD, your thoughts are not ours and our insights are too shallow to comprehend your ways. God, we cannot question you but we feel reproached and forsaken; give us a hint to help guide our steps better.  God, let your kind essence yet console us. In YOU we still TRUST. Adieu our multi talented artist, distinguished scholar and participatory communication expert. 

Prof S.E. Ododo, PhD, fsonta 
President, SONTA  
Head, Department of Theatre Arts
University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
Tel: +2348033516379


Re: And we lost him against all hopes
I just sent a text message to one of us that a hurricane hit us. Tunji, thank you for the suggestion that NANTAP and SONTA should come together and share the pain. I console the families of our departed brethren, and their teacher in TfD, Prof. Abah as well as our esteemed colleagues at ABU Zaria Department of Drama that was almost stripped naked. A section of their stage or performance space just crumbled. Only God and time can rebuild it. It is very sad indeed. We cannot be bitter for ever, but to say "God you know everything".


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