Binary Tales

*Cover image courtesy of Chief Adeniyi Ayinla Fagbemi

The philosopher Sophie Bọ́sẹ̀dé Olúwọlé (1935 – 2018) was a remarkable thinker. I had the incredible honour of joining her on a short roadtrip through Yorùbáland (SW Nigeria) and filming her before she passed away.

She debunked a scientific blunder: Ọ̀rúnmìlà was a philosopher, Ifá is his intellectual legacy. Ethnologists had written him down as a (pagan) god of a traditional Yoruba religion. And this is still how he is seen by a vast majority of people today.


(14 mins) click to rent for €1,99


(11 mins) click to rent for €1,99

Together, I and Sophie started a project I called “Binary Tales”. It’s a nod to Ọ̀rúnmìlà’s binary Ifá system. Behind its codes lie many philosophical stories.
They are still accessible today.

Despite delays, lockdowns, and a fair share of other pleasant and unpleasant surprises – I am still working to make the feature film a reality.
This year (2023) sees the online release of two short films from under the Binary Tales umbrella. Read them as a book if you like:
Introduction-film “Sophie” and Prologue-film “Afùwàpẹ́”.

I’m currently raising funding to make the full documentary film.
So, if you (or you know someone who’d) want to invest in letting Sophie Bọ́sẹ̀dé Olúwọlé teach us more about philosophy from Africa ▻ get on board, send me a message.

I hope you’ll enjoy these two initial works.

Sophie and Juul in Nigeria, 2017

So how did she do it?

Sophie Olúwọlé uncovered the misinterpretation by giving a closer look to the original Yoruba texts. Which are stored in an oral system. She found that these are not religious, but philosophical in nature.

It’s a great (re)discovery, which painfully illustrates how, for centuries, it was believed that Africans did not have philosophy at all.

But it was not easy…

Olúwọlé urges us all to engage in meaningful dialogue with each other. No matter where you are from, what colour your skin is, or which traditions you were brought up with.


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