*Cover image courtesy of Chief Adeniyi Ayinla Fagbemi

Binary Tales

ongoing film project:
introduction: short documentary Sophie
prologue: filmic experiment Afùwàpẹ́
multi-media theatre lecture-perfomance: Sophie on Stage

studio thnkthnk x Stimuleringsfonds x Gemeente Rotterdam x NL Film Fonds x VEVAM fonds x ministerie OCW

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.


Together, Sophie and I 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.

Within the project I have realised short doc “Sophie” short filmic experiment “Afùwàpẹ́” and “Sophie on Stage” in collaboration with Dr. Renate Schepen.

This project is a journey that is still continuing. You can read about its process in my journal.


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.



Early development supported by:  



This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!

You cannot copy content of this page