Africa Magic premiered a brand-new drama series, Itura, on October 3, 2022. An epic drama series about the nascent kingdom of Ibaokuta and its struggle for peace, it follows the ebbs and flows of a people and outlines the rich textures of Yoruba culture, tradition, beliefs, and hopes; teasing you with incantations and enlightening you with the props.
In its first month, the show has already become front and center in conversations on various social media platforms and is fast emarging as one of the station’s best productions yet. Famous for producing intriguing epic drama series like Ajoche and Riona, Itura takes its place with the greats and has not disappointed the fans at almost 20 episodes in.
Itura’s first episode set the tone for the entire series – opening with a clandestine romance between Odejimi (the king’s sword, gifted especially by the gods and betrothed to Moremi) and a yet to be identified Ibaokuta maiden – solidifying the trope of warrior/saviour complex, male virility and a nod to a patriarchal society – where the urges and actions of men are accepted and do not cause an uproar.
As the first set of episodes continue, more tropes are revealed – with Odejinmi established as the warrior feared by the men and desired by the women. Hopelessly committed to the betrothal agreement with a reluctant and forlorn Moremi – who has her heart set on another. A classic tale of unrequited love and the triangle it creates. Moremi’s chosen love interest is typical story of classist love matches, enforced by separation which buoys the forbidden relationship. Diekola, the scion of the wealthiest man in Ibaokuta is the sworn enemy of Moremi’s family and their oppressor and enslaver. In their bid to solidify their position in Ibaokuta society, Diekola’s parents have secured a betrothal between him and the crown princess of Ibaokuta, Princess Aderiyike, Moremi’s best friend – further setting the stage for deep seated envy and competition.
The Royal Rumble – Battle for the Stone Throne
Then there are the princes, one of whom will become King.
The older son and Aremo, Sijuade, is self-obsessed, brash, consumed with debauchery and overindulgence. His core interest in wrestling is only rivalled by his consistent appetite for a good time with the seemingly never-ending pool of willing female partners. His concern for Kingdom matters are back burner and only form part of his repertoire of performative governance when the spotlight is upon him or when he senses that his chances of ascending the Stone Throne may be in jeopardy. He is cunning, analytical and can take the unbeaten path to execute ruthless and bone chilling acts to meet his chosen target. On the other hand, his younger brother Obafemi – the seemingly meek and mild-mannered son of Jagungbade’s first wife – committed to service; seeking way to use his influence and access to bring peace and reprieve to the people when and where he can. Obafemi has proven to be unlucky in love – unlike his prolific bother and beloved father – he is secretly in love with the beautiful Omiwunmi the chief priest of Olofin’s daughter – he has so far been unable to convert these feeling he is nursing into words or actions. His uncertainty reads to the viewer as unappealing and nothing short of unbecoming of the son of a King. His inability to convert his emotions has left room for her attentions to be directed toward the Lothario of Ibaokuta – Odejinmi
The differences between the princes’ approach to kingdom duties will carry the rest of the show after their father, the great Jagungbade, who upon his death used his last breath to create a quagmire declaring that Obafemi be made King over the heir apparent Sijuade – setting the stage for the maze of occurences now plaguing Ibaokuta and its people. The battle for the stone throne has begun in earnest amidst fears that the kingdom is under attack from Eboras and Odejinmi’s quiet scheming for the throne and a chance to become King.
All of the forbidden romance, unbridled ambition, and unforeseen forces will lead to so much pain, small victories, and a ton of heartbreaking moments, and give a show so dramatic most fans will hate to miss it when it airs at 8:30 pm every weekday.
By the end of the first few episodes, it is impossible to know how the season will go as there are still, a lot of mysteries to unravel. Brilliant viewers who love to take on the mind of the writers may say they know what will happen to different characters, but they have no clue how or when in the series their prophecies about the film will come to pass.
Perhaps, if they had the gift Yewande, daughter of Ayanniyi – but purportedly fathered by the Ifa priest Awojide – possesses, they would know what would happen further into the season. Since nobody can uncover the masterfully woven plot, they should prepare to enjoy the ‘game of the stone throne’ between the princes – Sijuade and Obafemi.
Still, Itura’s excellence goes beyond the brilliant acting of the cast led by Yemi Solade (King Jagungbade) and more into the show’s production. Set in Ibaokuta, a small Yoruba village, Producer James Omokwe built the set from the ground up just for this series; employing over 350 people behind the scenes, with more than 75% of the cast are relatively new faces in Nollywood.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria was estimated to reach 33% in 2022, according to Statista. However, Jobberman, in collaboration with Young Africa Works and Mastercard Foundation, released a report in August 2022 noting that unemployed Nigerians are at 23m. Itura’s production employs a fraction of that number, and the passion for their work shines through the series.
The simplest way to describe the telenovela is ‘rich in culture’, and we love it. It’s a welcome segue in a time with new values and acts as a tool for culture appreciation for the millienial and Gen-Z audience. Itura will take you back to Ancient Yoruba kingdoms and still discuss modern themes most Nigerians can understand. Some cast members include Laide Adeyiga, Korede Ajayi, Tobi Awosika, Shammah Agah, Wumi Tuase, and Austin Onuoha.
Producer, James Omokwe, perfectly summarises the reason why the show is so fantastic saying, “Itura is a unique take on what a typical Nigerian telenovela looks like. For one, it’s an epic story set in a fictional land – a village we built from scratch just for this series. Fans will find it refreshing to watch a series set in the old Yoruba kingdom, but with modern themes.”
Viewers should subscribe to DStv Compact Plus or Premium to enjoy Itura and watch episodes on the go via the DStv App at no additional cost. The App is available for download from the Apple and Google Play stores.
Visit www.dstvafrica.com to upgrade or renew your subscription and join the conversation on the official Africa Magic page on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #AMItura.