Lola Shoneyin’s “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s wives” to hit London Theatre

A polygamist satire by Lola Shoneyin

For Baba Segi, his collection of wives and horde of children area symbol of prosperity and a validation of his manhood. Everything runs reasonably smooth in his home, until Baba arrives with wife number four. A trophy wife in her own right, Bolanle is a college educated woman among the semi-literate wives and she is hated from the start. Baba Segi’s glee at scoring a graduate doesn’t do anything to help the situation. Worse, Bolanle’s arrival threatens to do more than simply ruffle feathers. She is unknowingly set to expose a secret, upon which Baba Segi’s household rests, that her co-wives intend to protect, at all costs.

Lola Shoneyin’s light, ironic touch in exposing not only the rotten innards of Baba Segi’s polygamous household and also how women in contemporary Nigeria can be as restricted, controlled and damaged by men posed as  fathers, husbands, uncles or rapists.

Since the novel was first published in 2010, “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s wives” has already been under stage lights in Abeokuta featuring prominent Nollywood stars like Adesua Etomi and Joke Silva four years ago. This new re-adaptation by award-winning playwright, Rotimi Babatunde (of Bombay Republic) will be set at the Arcola Theatre, London.

Rotimi’s prior work includes a Caine prize-winning story on Nigerian Soldiers who fought in the Burma campaign during World War II. 


Mariam is (insert pretentious stuff about myself here). Share your thoughts with me @MA_Y_M

AV Club: Lola Shoneyin dishes on Ake, literature and everything else on Culture Diaries