Àlááfíà Ni (2021)

Single-channel film

Film excerpt

ORÍ – Director’s Statement

The Yoruba word orí directly translates in English to “head”, but holds greater significance than its anatomical value. Orí or “orí-inu” (inner-head) also alludes to the metaphysical, referring to an individual’s spiritual destiny or even the essence of one’s spirit. Yoruba is fascinating in it’s linguistic exploration of the connection between body, mind, and spirit.

Therefore questions and greetings, although now used more informally in social contexts, hold greater significance and weight beyond the obvious. One might instinctively translate the popular question,“s’àlááfíà ni?”, into English as, “how are you?”, yet “àlááfíà” refers to wellbeing, not just of the body, but of the mind, the spirit, and most importantly, the orí.

In English, French, Latin based and other European languages, if someone were to respond to, “how are you?”, with an answer such as, “not so well”, or something equally concerning, we might be inclined to empathise with the person. We might aim to hold space for, or encourage the person, in the ways we know how. Yet in Yoruba, if you were to openly say that you do not have “àlááfíà”, the implication would be far more severe, and may provoke serious concern.

This piece heralds that amidst the challenges and obstacles that Lagosians, and indeed Nigerians, continue to face, “àlááfíà” prevails. Regardless of the external, perhaps there is a way that we can always find peace internally. Perhaps there is still hope for our individual and collective destinies?


Authored by: Tobi Onabolu 

Co-director: Sonia Irabor

DOP & Editor: Joel Tariebi

“Euphoria” performed by: Sheila Chukwulozie 

Poetry performed by: Tobi Onabolu

Talking Drum: Femi Owolabi

Yoruba Proverbs: Uncle Busuyi Onabolu

Score: Kayodeine 

Producer: Uche Enyi

1st AD: Ifebusola Shotunde

Additional Post Production: Nic Wassell 

Make-Up: Onome Ezekiel (Meraki by Onome)

With thanks to 


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