Kehinde Bankole: Stellar Journey Portraying Legendary Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Kehinde Bankole: Stellar Journey Portraying Legendary Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Kehinde Bankole Reflects on Her Poignant Portrayal of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Nigerian actress Kehinde Bankole, known for her powerful performances, recently opened up about her role portraying the legendary activist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti in a critically acclaimed biographical film. Bankole's portrayal won her the Best Lead Actress award at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA), marking a significant milestone in her acting career. But beyond the accolades, the role has had a profound impact on both her personal and professional life.

Taking on the character of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was no small feat. Funmilayo was a prominent figure in Nigeria's history, known for her relentless activism and her passionate fight for women's rights and social justice. As the matriarch of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, her influence extended beyond her immediate circles, inspiring generations of Nigerians to stand up against injustice. Bankole's performance brought to life Funmilayo's trials and triumphs, offering a deep dive into the life of a woman who was both revered and feared for her outspoken nature.

The Weight of Portraying an Icon

For Bankole, stepping into the shoes of such a formidable figure required an extensive amount of research and emotional investment. She immersed herself in historical records, interviews, and personal diaries that shed light on Funmilayo's complex personality and her unyielding commitment to justice. "It was an enlightening experience," Bankole said. "Playing Funmilayo allowed me to connect with her struggles and victories on a very personal level."

This connection went beyond just acting; it resonated deeply with Bankole, prompting her to reflect on the current state of Nigerian society and the ongoing struggles for equality and social justice. Funmilayo's story reminded Bankole of the power of resilience and the importance of writing one's own history, especially in a society that often overlooks the contributions of women.

A Beacon of Inspiration

A Beacon of Inspiration

Bankole's portrayal has not only been celebrated by critics and audiences alike but has also served as a beacon of inspiration for many women. Through her performance, Bankole hopes to perpetuate Funmilayo's legacy, reminding people of the importance of standing up for what is right. "Funmilayo's relentless pursuit of a better Nigeria inspired me to use my platform for positive change," Bankole stated.

Indeed, the role has spurred Bankole to take concrete steps towards making a difference in her own way. Following the film's release, she established The Kehinde Bankole Foundation, an NGO dedicated to empowering communities and advocating for social change. The foundation focuses on various initiatives, including educational programs, healthcare access, and support for women in low-income areas. Through these efforts, Bankole aims to continue Funmilayo's mission of creating a more equitable society.

The Legacy of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti's legacy is one of tenacity, courage, and unwavering dedication to justice. As one of Nigeria's foremost activists, her contributions have had a lasting impact on the nation's socio-political landscape. From leading protests against colonial taxation to championing women's rights, her efforts paved the way for future generations of activists.

Bankole's portrayal has reignited interest in Funmilayo's life and achievements, shedding light on the often overlooked history of women's contributions to Nigeria's development. The film serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of documenting and celebrating the stories of those who have fought tirelessly for justice and equality.

Impact on Nigerian Cinema

The success of the film and Bankole's performance have also had a broader impact on Nigerian cinema. It underscores the industry's potential to tell meaningful stories that resonate beyond entertainment, fostering a deeper understanding of the nation's history and cultural heritage. The film has been lauded for its authenticity, attention to detail, and its ability to capture the essence of Funmilayo's spirit.

Moreover, Bankole's success at the AMVCA has brought greater recognition to the talent and dedication that exists within the Nigerian film industry. It has opened up new opportunities for historical and biographical films, encouraging filmmakers to explore other remarkable figures in Nigeria's past.

Looking Forward

Looking Forward

As Bankole continues to navigate her career, she is committed to taking on roles that challenge her and push her to grow as an artist. Her portrayal of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti has set a high standard, but it has also instilled in her a sense of purpose and direction. "This role was a turning point for me," she reflected. "It taught me the power of storytelling and the responsibility we have as actors to bring important stories to life."

Moving forward, Bankole hopes to use her platform to spotlight more stories that highlight the struggles and triumphs of African women. By doing so, she aims to continue Funmilayo's legacy of empowerment and advocacy, ensuring that the voices of those who fought for justice are never forgotten.


Kehinde Bankole's portrayal of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti stands as a testament to the power of film in preserving history and inspiring change. Her dedication to the role and her subsequent efforts to drive social change through her foundation are commendable. As Nigerian cinema continues to grow, stories like Funmilayo's will remain crucial in shaping the nation's cultural narrative and inspiring future generations.

Bankole’s journey with this role is a reminder of the profound impact that storytelling can have. It emphasizes the importance of remembering and celebrating the pioneers who paved the way for today's activists. Through her work, Bankole ensures that Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti's legacy lives on, motivating others to continue the fight for a just and equitable world.