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JagunJagun: Like Claude McKay, Femi Adebayo sends a message to the youths constituency

In the early 20th century, Claude McKay similarly sent a resistant message to the black community in the United States who faced racial discrimination – precisely 1919 which was widely referred to as Red Summer.
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JagunJagun (The Warrior) is a story of a young man, Gbotija, whose desire to become a fierce warrior is born out of resentment he had against the unknown killer of his father and disruptor of his village. He joined an army academy under the tutelage of Ogundiji who unbeknown to him, led his village massacre. His quest to avenge his father’s death climaxes into the tragedy in the movie. Jagunjagun is set in ancient Yoruba Land with a deep old Oyo Yoruba dialect.

Movie as a popular culture

In literature, movies belong to the same category as text. They are both popular culture which can be used to correct societal ills. Interestingly, movie had taken over from text because, nowadays, people lack the will to read. They enjoy spending a whole day watching movie (even in series) than reading novel of hundred and above pages. Hence, the movie succeeded where the text (novel) could not.

Movies have a profound influence on our culture and society, serving as a reflection of our values and beliefs, a catalyst for change, a source of inspiration, and a form of entertainment.

Thematic analysis

Beyond any thematic analysis, Femi Adebayo’s efforts in waking the youths from slumbering should never be underestimated. He identified a peculiar problem in today’s world and shoulder the responsibility of challenging the societal expectations that the oppressed should keep on writhing in pain. The message he sent is clear – that a man’s fate lies in his palm. Whatever he thinks, he becomes. And that while writing his story, no one should hold the pen on his behalf.


Jagun Jagun is a story of resistance; a cry for the oppressed people to resist their oppressors – violently if necessary. It follows a non-chronological order with the use of flashback techniques to show the necessary past that led to the tragic flaw in the movie. This is evident in the character of Gbotija whose father’s cruel death is the beginning of the rising action in movie. He stirred his adversity to the quest of breakthrough.

McKay’s message of resistance

In the early 20th century, Claude McKay similarly sent a resistant message to the black community in the United States who faced racial discrimination – precisely 1919 which was widely referred to as Red Summer. He charged them to tightly hold their fate in their hands and fought back the oppressors even though what lies may be death.

Throughout the fourteen lines Shakespearean’s style of sonnet, titled ‘If We Must Die’, McKay woke up the youths from slumbering and agitated the needs to be for themselves. “Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe; / Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave, / And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow! What though before us lies the open grave? / Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, / Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!,” part of the poem reads. 

Femi Adebayo, on the other hand, used the character of Gbotija to wake up the youth constituency on why they shouldn’t allow themselves to be manipulated and used for personal gains. The message is clear and one needs to give Femi his floor.

By Dauda Musbau

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