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His real name is Kayode Olaiya, but many people call him Aderupoko, a name which literally means someone who overloads a vehicle. He has been known by this name for over thirty years as a professional actor, and he believes that the name, which he initially disliked, was ultimately a blessing in disguise. Aderupoko, who insisted on conducting the interview in Yoruba, shared how he got his stage name and journey into acting.

Your real name is Kayode Olaiya, but many people call you Aderupoko. How did you come about your stage name?
I think I should ask you how you got to know that I am Kayode Olaiya. The story behind the name Aderupoko is long, but I’ll share it if time allows. I started my career with Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) and Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (WNBC), the first in Africa, at Agodi in Ibadan as a storyteller. It was a live program, and we went on air between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. when the late sage Obafemi Awolowo introduced TV. Where the Oyo State Government House stands today used to be a bushy area. My friends and I often went there to pluck mangoes and hew trees. I was a student then. One day, while we were returning from plucking mangoes, a man approached us and asked if we could tell stories. We were about eight, but all my friends ran away except me. He called me over, and to my surprise, he asked if I could bring my friends to tell evening stories. I agreed and was responsible for relaying the message to my friends. Eventually, the late Hubert Ogunde came in for a stage performance called Olo ngbo Dudu (Black Cat).

How did those people ensure that you stayed? Did they entice you in any way?
Yes, I remember that we only drank soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Fanta during festive seasons like Christmas and Ileya. They ensured we had a bottle of Fanta or Coca-Cola each time we came so that we would keep returning. We became so happy that we hardly missed a day because we knew we would get to drink Coca-Cola and Fanta. Even my friends who initially didn’t like the idea later joined us because of Coca-Cola. Besides drinks, we were also given money. I remember we received one pound, which we shared among ourselves.

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