20 December 2019

Why Oofuni is the most important character in Nigerian period drama Ajoche

A few episodes in, and you know Ajoche is a series cursed with shady characters.

First, there’s General Apeh, the brother of King Odaleko of Ocholuje, whose every action is to ensure his son succeeds his brother as the next king.

However, there is another slippery character, one whose scheming surpasses the wily general. Her name is Oofuni, the first of her name, master of herbs, the avenger of the people of Aboh and the manipulator of great men.

Ajoche has a cold opening: the expectant queen of Ocholuje is murdered in the first episode. In the next episode, King Odaleko marches to the neighbouring village, Aboh. He suspects they are responsible for the death of his wife and he kills everyone except for a baby who lies crying in the ashes as Aboh burns to the ground.

Oofuni, who is originally from Aboh (a secret only a few know about), claims to be in Ochojule on a quest to master her craft as a healer under Ijewode. But there are sinister motive at play: she nurses hatred for the king and the people of Ochojule because of the massacre, and although she denies this, her malicious schemes say otherwise.

Here’s why Oofuni is the most interesting character in Ajoche:

1. Oofuni is at the centre of everything

Ajoche starts with a focus on palace politics and drums of war, but as the episodes go by, you realise this story could have been named the Legend of Oofuni because the story, to an extent, is about her journey to power.

She was a mere apprentice who became the most revered healer in all the lands (Ochojule, Ufam and Aboh). She was a servant who was soon bedding royalty. She used to take orders from queens, and in later episodes, stands toe to toe with them. As she becomes more powerful and her intentions became apparent, the story starts to focus on her impending vengeance.

2. Oofuni brings femme fatale to a Nigerian period drama

The concept of a femme fatale became a thing in the 1940s when Hollywood embraced stylish crime film known as film noir. These characters are seductive, mysterious women who lead powerful men to their downfall. They are women who know what they want and use their body, wit and skill (or in the case of Oofuni, healing powers) to accomplish their selfish goals.

Oofuni also embodies the femme fatale duality: she is luscious and monstrous, vulnerable and conniving.

Oofuni wants revenge for Aboh, and she wants the people of Ocholuje to pay for wiping out her home. What better way than to mess with the leader of Ocholuje?

First, she uses her juju to get in bed with General Apeh. And her next victim is the King himself.

Meet the cast and characters of Ajoche

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